The Six Steps To Master Your Emotions For Creative Entrepreneurs.
Who am I to be brilliant, talented, creative, or worthy of running my own business? These horrible beliefs haunt many of us. Mine stem from a whole whack of experiences, but none more formative than school. I got used to a whole lot of rejection (in the form of bad grades). I've come to learn that it's great to have schooling but it's better to have an education (experience). This perception shift changed my life and business. Your business only grows as much as you do. Being a successful creative entrepreneur comes from mastering your emotions.
As a creative entrepreneur, living in your comfort zone becomes a thing of the past. You're playing and working in a world without a rule book. It's damn right terrifying at times to put it all on the line. There's no one to blame but yourself when things go wrong. You can't pass the buck and blame it on the lackluster performance of a co-worker. How you deal with every experience of rejection or failure shapes and forms your plan of action for the next time it happens (and it will happen again).
I found myself treating business development like school. A series of pass/fail situations aimed to reinforce what I already believed about myself. I'd hold back, afraid to put myself out there. I felt like I had to reach a point where I could do no wrong. Wanting to be so damn good that no one could question my ability. It was the perfect excuse to stay inside my safety bubble. I had no idea there was a deep-seated emotion bubbling below the surface. The feeling of rejection waiting to pounce on a moment of self-doubt. The dreaded nightmare of every kid, picked last or not at all. What does that say about me?
"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right," proclaimed Henry Ford. Your perception of each experience shapes and forms your plan of action for the future. But what if you're not seeing things for what they are? What if you're seeing them for what you think they are?
One of the first personal development books I read was The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. He's like the Notorious B.I.G. of personal development. His style and flow is often imitated but never duplicated. Everyone you read borrows from his work.
Covey tells the story of, "riding a subway on Sunday morning in New York." When he experienced a perspective shift that shook him to the core. "People were sitting quietly, reading papers, or resting with eyes closed. It was a peaceful scene. Then a man and his children entered the subway car. The man sat next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to his children, who were yelling, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers.
I couldn’t believe he could be so insensitive. Eventually, with what I felt was unusual patience, I turned and said, 'Sir, your children are disturbing people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?'
The man lifted his gaze as if he saw the situation for the first time. 'Oh, you’re right,' he said softly, 'I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.'
Suddenly, I saw things differently. And because I saw differently, I felt differently. I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behaviour. My heart filled with compassion. 'Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry. Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?' Everything changed in an instant."
It's not often we receive immediate feedback on how we perceive the world. If we did, we'd start to realize how often we're completely wrong about most situations. Thankfully there's a model to use that's incredibly effective. I was first introduced to the self-reflection tool by Tony Robbins.
Here are the six steps to master your emotions as a creative entrepreneur
Identify the emotion and appreciate the message:
It's saying that you have to change something.
What is the emotion trying to tell me, what message is it offering?
Do I need to change my perception (the meaning) or my procedures (my communication or my behaviour)?
Get curious and ask questions:
How do I really want to feel? As soon as you identify what you want to feel, you're moving in the direction you want to go.
What would I have to believe in order to feel that way now?
What am I willing to do to make it the way I want it?
What can I learn from this?
Recall a specific time when you felt this emotion before and somehow got over it. Remembering a time when you were able to deal with the emotion will reassure you that you can deal with it now.
Imagine coming up with different ways of handling this emotion. If one doesn't work, try another. Rehearse until you feel confident.
Get excited and take action!
Do something right away that shows you can handle this emotion.
Express your emotion in a way that reinforces what you've rehearsed in your mind and changes the way you feel.
Gathering this information can be painful but also immensely revealing and ultimately very rewarding. To know one's own mind is nothing short of life-changing. The more data you have at your disposal, the better equipped you are to identify the self-imposed limitations you put on your capability. Entrepreneur, lecturer, activist and author of four #1 New York Times Best Selling Books, Marianne Williamson, said something that stuck like glue. "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."
When I started to follow these six steps to master my emotions, it felt exhilarating. I realized I'm so much more than I give myself credit for. As Williamson went on to say, "Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of what glows within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Facing the truth requires that we have an ongoing openness to the possibility that we may not be seeing ourselves, or others, accurately. If I had let that story continue to breathe, I'd forever be stuck somewhere I didn't belong. As the psychologist, Martin Seligman puts it: "When our explanatory beliefs take the form of personal, permanent and pervasive factors (It's my fault... it's always going to be like this... it's going to affect everything I do"), we give up and become paralyzed.
When our explanations take the opposite form, we become energized. I see rejection as a superpower. It means I'm playing on the edges. I'm not playing it safe. Every time I experience rejection is a chance to blaze my own trail because I can explore what's behind the emotion. Mastering your emotions is like throwing a match to rocket fuel for creative entrepreneurs. The ability to persevere in the face of setbacks is critical to leading a happy, healthy, purpose-driven life and business.