Controlling Your Emotions And Knowing What Ignites Them

It does not matter who you are or where you are from, there are times that your emotions can catch you off guard. It can be when you start a new job, or just have a difficult co-worker or manager to deal with. This includes everything in life whether it is at work, home, church, or play. How you control your emotions can affect your performance, how other people perceive you, and keep you from being comfortable when otherwise you would be.

Emotions play a large part of every aspect of your life. Mine, yours and theirs. We do not know how other people’s emotions affect them, however we can know what ignites ours and learn to control them better. Knowing what gets your blood boiling, or what makes you want to cry a river, is important to your actions, re-actions and no actions.

Here is what to do when a storm of the unprecedented occurs, or at any time later. Grit your teeth, force a smile, swallow, and give a response that shows a positive, educated, professional, and calm reaction.  Then go home, cry, beat the bed, and talk to yourself, if that makes you feel better.

It is always best to keep your emotions intact, and in review so that you know you can control your responses, when they are most needed. There isn’t always time to think, nor is it as easy as it sounds. Of course it should be easier after it happens to you the first time. The third time, there is no excuse. You have got to show your grit, and your capacity to endure the punches, or you can get labeled. No, it does not go from job to job, however, it can affect where you are when it happens.

One of the lessons I learned early in my career, was that everybody is not going to like you, respect you, appreciate you, or your work experience. No, it is not the case with most authentic people or leaders who are actually quality leaders, and have emotional intelligence. However, this is just a warning so that you remember, should the occasion arise.

A lot of this depends upon the kind of person you are, and your confidence level, however, there are people who will put you down, for no reason. Well, let me rephrase. They will put you down because they need to feel superior, like the boss, or just need to take a course in real leadership.

Real life experience:  I had been in my career of mortgage lending for about 10 years. However, seven of those years were in a small town where people tried to treat everyone with respect, and dignity. I had taken a job in Atlanta which gave me great experience to add to my resume’.

I was actually working with a large, well-known company. The new employer was a client with an office in a city much closer to my family. I decided to take the job. What happened next was not what I expected, or thought was professional, much less the actions of someone who was in leadership.

The new job was a position of traveling to financial institutions to audit their portfolios, for sale of their products to the investors, the one I had worked for in Atlanta. Nothing about this job was that difficult. I knew the product, the legal instruments,the basics, and you could actually look at the spreadsheet and know the information you needed to review and document.

I was somewhat excited about this new job as it entailed travel to different cities across the United States. The first trip (first assignment) to Fort Lauderdale, FL, and it was a rude awakening for this southern woman.

The first day of the project, we were lined up (we traveled in groups most of the time), at the table to start our audit for the portfolio. There were some conversations going on, not all about what needed to be done, just talk. I was reviewing what was in front of me and all of sudden; this is what I heard coming from the boss:  “Linda, you need to ask questions, you do not know how to do this at all. You, you, you, do not know what you are doing.” In front of everyone, approximately, eight to ten people.

My reaction: For a few minutes, I sat there without saying a word. Looking down at the material I was reviewing, my brain was going in circles. Thinking..where did this come from. All the time I was welling up inside because I could not have been more embarrassed or humiliated. I could not control myself from getting upset (trying to hold back the tears), until I hit the ladies’ room. I let my emotions get the best of me, and learned a great lesson.

What I did was the worst thing that I could have done for myself, and my position within that company. However, I was not only floored with such actions, and appalled, I was hurt. This woman, the boss did not know me, or my actual abilities, as she had not given me the chance to prove what I knew, or what I did not know or how I could perform. I had only been on the job for about one week.

The results of my crybaby day did not end with something good after that. This boss actually had a habit of humiliating other people before me. It was well known within the group, but no one could say anything. She was insecure, had no people skills, and was intimidated, as I had come from the well-known investor.

What was disgusting was that upper management allowed this to continue from person to person. Definitely, this company was lacking in leadership from the top to the bottom.

What I should have done as a response to this negative action: I should have looked this boss in the eye, smiled at her, apologized, and assured her that I would definitely ask more questions as to the precise methods of her concerns. The issue at that time for me was that I was in control of my emotions as I should have been. I was not a strong survivor at that time. She had no clue that I was not a person who was coming in to flaunt my expertise over her and anyone else. That was not my character or professional intentions.

There is actually a lot more details to this experience, however within several months this company was purchased by a larger bank, and my career was saved by the bell.

The lesson in this, you have to be tough in the corporate business world, or any world for that matter, tough, but not arrogant. If you let yourself take the wrong approach to a critical moment, you may regret it. My situation went on for several months, this person kept trying to degrade my experience. Everyone in the small office was somewhat afraid to contradict the issue. I never figured out exactly why. I consider this unacceptable behavior for any company or any “boss.” No, she did not follow the group to the new bank.

This does not mean that you recuse yourself from generating your knowledge, unless of course, you are not allowed to. What would have changed if I had gone along with this person? I will never know. However, if showing your best self is giving into another’s weakness, it could still change the course of later actions.

Secondly, your experience for a job may be far better than another’s, but the key to begin with, is to let him or her think you are absolutely in favor of learning their way, from their perspective, and to the better good of the company. However, that does not mean degrading your experience or expertise, by succumbing to untactful and dubious actions by someone who is lacking interpersonal skills. If it does not bring about change in the current situation, then other measures must be explored.

“One important thing to always remember; there is not a person in the world that can take from you the experience, or expertise that you have worked long and hard to obtain.”

I am living proof – Linda

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