Feelings Versus Reality

I have a chap in my office here at diamond who is great bar one thing – he defaults to the defensive which makes it really challenging to manage him. He defaults to the defensive because he’s been conditioned over the years to defend himself – bad upbringing, bad management in other businesses he’s worked in. But he’s really liked and respected here, so there’s no reason for him to behave like this, and this behaviour is very limiting for him because it makes him look less of a person than he really is and the core part of it for him is that actually he’s really emotive guy. He feels that something is a slight against him when actually that feeling is wrong. He is super-sensitive, we seem to have quite a lot of them here at Diamond and this sensitivity is sometimes misaligned.

Feelings are not one hundred percent right. I am a super sensitive person and I have a whole cacophony of internal feelings that I now know and acknowledge are simply warning signs for me to review stuff, not necessarily emotions to act on. Feelings can be conditioned by your past, by experiences that you’ve had that may not be a hundred percent applicable now and may not be accurate. These feelings are built into our survival tactics, but they’re actually really outdated for dealing with modern situations particularly at work.

I actually have a physical reaction to bad news in our business, a gut feeling and an ingestion kind of stress response. But I know now that’s just 24 years of conditioning, it’s not reflective of the magnitude of the impact on the business anymore. For example only last week one of our core suppliers wanted to impose a price increase with no notice at all, so with 20-plus franchises and thousands of clients, this was an issue to be sure. But the feeling I had, my conditioned response was as if a major incident has shut down our office, so I acknowledge that it is just my conditioned response knowing that we have the structures in place to deal with it and needless to say the price increase didn’t happen.

There always tended to be some kind of crisis when I was on holiday well, so I’d go back with this sense of mild dread after my holidays but everything is usually fine. So I know now that that feeling is not real it’s just that conditioned response.

So it’s all about self-awareness instead of actually reacting to all your feelings, start looking at them from an objective perspective and use them as an indicator for you to look closely a situation. But don’t use them as grounds to react. You may well be firing off a response that is not based on what is happening today, but of your years of conditioning, so your response can be wrong.

Your feelings are not always real, that gut instinct you have, that instantaneous reaction, that default response may be limiting you. So stop acknowledge, and review, and become more self-aware – it’s really transformative.

Take care