‘We see leaders stumble, not because they have undesirable thoughts and feelings – that’s inevitable – but because they get hooked by them like a fish caught on a line…they are paying too much attention to their internal chatter and allowing it to sap important cognitive resources that could be put to better use.’ David and Congleton, 2013.
Emotional rigidity is when we are hooked by our thoughts, feelings and behaviours; emotional regulation is the ability to manage disruptive emotions and impulses; whereas emotional agility is where we are being flexible with our thoughts and feelings so we can respond favourably.
According to David emotionally agile people ‘demonstrate flexibility…they are able to tolerate high levels of stress and endure setbacks while remaining engaged, open and receptive.’
Tips to become more emotionally agile:
- Label your thoughts and emotions – what do you recognise? Name your emotions and learn to face them.
- Recognise the patterns – what are you stuck on? Are there similarities in the tasks and emotions you appear to struggle with? What could your next step be? Is doesn’t have to be huge – small changes can make a big difference.
- Accept your emotions, struggles and patterns – which can you admit to and accept as a part of you whilst distancing yourself from the feelings? I am feeling angry rather than I am angry.
- Remember and connect with your why – why is it important?
- Act on your values – how can you move forward? What will your next steps be that align with your values and ensure you remain true to yourself?
If you are interested in finding out more about emotional agility take a look at Susan David’s TED Talk.
This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer.
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