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April 11, 2016

HOW TO DEAL WITH HIGHLY EMOTIONAL PEOPLE

How do you deal with highly emotional people who make all their decisions based on knee jerk reactions?

My answer: “it’s not easy”. For one thing, these people usually refuse to see it from any other viewpoint than theirs. They have to be right and they often make it a bigger problem than it is or even imagine that it’s a problem when none exists. The problem is they are a hostage to their emotions, so all their decision making gets filtered through this process. Imagine a sieve and the only things that can get through this sieve are negative thoughts, emotions and perceptions. What doesn’t get through are the positive outcomes or looking at a situation through a different viewpoint or a different lens. The chances of actually thinking about the situation from a different angle are limited, therefore so are the solutions.

So the key question is, what can you do with this type of person?

It does require patience from you and you have to be willing to look at what they have said and show them how else they could look at this situation. The chances of this working are, honestly speaking, very low. I don’t want to give you a rosy picture that you can turn this person around, because they often don’t want to listen to reason. In their mind they fabricate the worst situation and it becomes their reality. In addition, if they are in the company of others who share that same personality type, they can join forces and make it a ‘me-against-you’ type of scenario.

At the end of the day if this person cannot see it from your viewpoint the chances of them coming around and actually having an intelligent conversation with you are remote.

So, what can you do?

My suggestion is to walk away. They are not worth the effort. If you have done the right thing, in good faith, and have not harmed them in any way, walk away. If they don’t have the emotional maturity (or, as I call it, the emotional IQ) to deal with this rationally, there is not much you can do. Walk away. Have compassion in your heart for these people, maybe some sympathy and love if you can muster it. Often these people can be spiteful and talk behind your back, ignoring all the good things you have done for them. Don’t get angry with them; there is too much hate and anger in the world as it is. Just walk away.

The sad thing is many of these people are in positions of power and they abuse this position. From my experience, it is often because they don’t have the skills needed for that position. The social skills they have are sadly lacking in substance. You see, it takes a lot more to be a leader than reading numbers; it takes the ability to think and not over react. A knee jerk response is often an overreaction. Sometimes the overreaction hides something else going on in their lives, it accumulates and then they erupt. Often you will see these people calm on the outside but inside they are churning with anger because they don’t have the ability to address the underlying problem in the first place. They often display a passive aggressive personality.

At the end of the day it’s your choice to walk away; if they don’t want to return your calls or emails, be satisfied you have done all you can and move on. Read one of my previous articles on “When to Move on”.
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April 07, 2016

“DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO DO?”

Not an easy answer to come up with for many people.

How do you find out what you really want to do? What is the one thing you want to do that you enjoy the most, have fun doing and would perhaps do it even if you didn’t get paid for it?

Many people go through life without really figuring this out and they kind of accept that this is the way for most people. Therefore they usually live unfulfilled.

There are two main components to figuring out what you want to do:



  1. Does it make you happy when you do it?

  2. Are you consumed by it?


The key question is whose responsibility is it to figure this out?

Often the “THING” you love, finds you. I have seen this with many people. Does luck have anything to do with this? YES, absolutely. People who know exactly what they want, and find it, are truly blessed. You will often find such people at the forefront in their profession because they have been doing it for 15 to 20 years and now are masters. Think of the sports stars who have been practicing their sport since they were 4-7 years old or a musician who is a child prodigy.

As children we need guidance; children don’t actually know what they are good at. I know with my 14 year old son we tried several sports before he found his calling, all by accident. At the age of 7 he went to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and from there it became an obsession with him. There are significant benefits for children who find a sport that they love at an early stage. From discipline, to learning to take instruction, to developing a competitive spirit and problem solving. Whose responsibility is it to guide the child? The parents’!

So if your parents did not have the knowledge to help you or at that situation in life it was difficult, what can you do now?

I find the ideal way to think about this is to reflect and go back into your childhood and think about all the things you did that you liked and didn’t like and then ask the question "WHY?". Write the two sets of answers down and then reflect on them, visualise these memories. This is an exercise that you want to spend time on. After all, you are trying to find out what you really want to do, so give this the appropriate time to reflect and gather your thoughts. Some of you may get a quick answer while others may require more work on this. There is no easy answer to this question. The only suggestion I have for you is that you have to work on this and if you do this exercise honestly, it has the potential to change your life.

From my perspective, I had a burning desire to help sales people because of the pain I went through to get really good at what I do. I got tired of well-meaning sales managers sending me to sales courses that after a while were just spitting out the same message. They weren’t giving me the answers I needed to grow and improve and I was hungry for the knowledge, so I took it upon myself; it was a compulsion to find out what made me tick and what made others tick and how I could get people to say yes to me more often. I wanted answers.

Back to you - when you think about what you want to do and can be happy doing, you also want to examine the reality of your situation (I don’t know what stage in life you are at). Sometimes what we want to do is not possible to do immediately but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on it. It just means you have to make it happen gradually; Rome wasn’t built in a day. The reality of life is it is not always possible to change one’s situation quickly. You have to plan, keep on asking the key question – “will it make me happy if I did that?”

Think about how you build a house - one brick at a time. That is how you build the life you consider your ‘ideal’ life. From personal experience I know it is worthwhile to spend time on this, the benefits far outweigh the accepting, the status quo.