Getting Emotional at Work

I did an interesting thing last week. I got emotionally involved in a client’s project.

It’s not that I’ve never done that before, but it’s rare.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t care. On the other hand, I care intensely. However, I’ve found it more productive to play the stoic role, to be my clients’ rock in the middle of the storm. To be the person who takes in turbulent news and figures out the next steps without getting wrapped up in the maelstrom itself.

I think I owe the reason for this emotional shift to Dr. Miles Neale. I’ve been studying Buddhism with him since November and I’ve discovered that the whole goal isn’t to bliss out into some Zen-like state where you feel nothing. Instead, it’s to accept my emotions without judgment and let them arise.

It’s been so refreshing. Instead of beating myself up for feeling sad, upset or depressed, I allow myself to recognize what I’m feeling and just let it happen. Then, it’s my job to choose how to respond to this emotion.

This is so important because, as you may know from BrenĂ© Brown’s TED Talk on vulnerability, you can’t turn off the bad emotions without turning off the good.

I want to live a life of joy, happiness and excitement, so I’m letting all the emotions in. And apparently I’m doing this in work as well as in life.

And here’s the great part: that project I got emotional about? I worked harder on that project than anything I’ve done recently. My client did better than we could have ever imagined, to the tune of adding a zero to our results.

In other words, I’m going to continue to let my emotions fuel my fire.

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