How are you? You getting enough sleep, or sleeping all the time? You eating enough, not enough, too much? How’s your stress level? You feeling optimistic? Or the opposite?
I watched the sun rise the other morning and asked myself those questions. I found I could not answer them. And I can’t be alone in that. We’re caught in the continuum between what was and what will be, and it’s dizzying. We’re all in, all the time.
These are not my words, but they could have been. Food writer, Sam Sifton, wrote them in his New York Times Cooking blog. But it’s all the same, isn’t it, whether we are reflecting on cooking, business, parenting, care giving or coping?
We’re (still) ALL IN, all the time.
What I’ve heard from clients this week: Weary, tired, fuzzy-brained, unsettled, uncomfortable, low-energy, drained, chronically uncertain, and anxious that there is still no new normal.
Yet all these emotions mean we are fully alive.
I love this simple reminder by Susan David, Harvard Medical School psychologist and CEO of Evidence Based Psychology:
In her succinct words: Emotions are data, not directives.
What I notice is that we tend to react to our unpleasant emotions as if they were taboo – something we need to push back to a great distance. Yet it is so freeing when we realize it’s all good information – the pleasant and unpleasant. Because we don’t need to become the emotion, but rather instead use it as vital information for problem-solving and self-care.
In fact, when we don’t make generous room for the complexity of our emotions, we risk tipping toward toxic positivity, and that will only increase our exhaustion.
Same thing when we say: It’s fine, it will be fine. What we are actually stating is that there really isn’t a problem to be thoughtfully addressed – when actually there is.
Here’s a wonderful sketch-note taken from the Harvard Business Review article Connect, Then Lead. It succinctly captures why we won’t be effective leaders if we are not able to stay present with our emotional life.
I like to think of it like this: Your EQ is your delivery system. Your EQ delivers your IQ skills, knowledge and competence. If your EQ is underdeveloped, you are not delivering up to your value.
(Did you know that EQ is now acknowledged by the World Economic Forum as a top 10 skills for our decade?)
So who needs your connection and transparency today? Who needs to know that ALL IN, including ALL EMOTIONS, is the safest and most effective way to move forward together?