Friday, February 26, 2016

Emotional Compass for Success

Here is a post that I originally published on LinkedIn a few weeks ago.  It should be helpful for people both professionally and personally, in terms of how they improve and progress toward achieving their goals.  Enjoy.

11 days into 2016 and the initial excitement and trepidation that comes for many with entering a new year has now passed.  Countless resolutions have already been left behind by people who are instead choosing to continue a familiar journey along a well worn path over a new one.  However, there are still many more that are continuing their commitment to positive change.  

Below is a diagram from the Facebook page of Mindful Schools in California.  They are an organization that provides online and in-person courses for adults to learn mindfulness and use it with youth.  They presented this colourful chart as a tool for adults to improve communication about emotions with young children.  It broadens and connects vocabulary with the nuances of emotions and their diversity.  

The reason I am including this here, is that I also see it as a tool for adults to become more aware of their own emotional states.  This awareness is important because it lets us identify the visceral feelings that often dictate our life’s direction, and the eventual outcomes of our goals. 

The magic of invention, creative thinking, and success happens at the edges of things.  When one area of your life or your skills crosses another, or when a tangential interest or goal makes you stretch in a new direction and leads to reinvention or full-circle rediscovery of something familiar.  On these edges is where inspiration makes itself known, and where success begins.  But to have the ability to see it, and take positive action requires awareness.  This awareness, unfortunately is often overrun by doubt, worry, and any number of other negative feelings.  

For success, we need to move toward greater awakening to experiences without judgement or “reactionary” emotional direction; an overall enlightening and empowering mental/emotional state.  To do this we need to be able to identify those emotions that are holding us back, as well as those that are positive in our lives.  This is where the wheel comes in.  

We can use the wheel to help provide clarity.  By being able to find a descriptive word of our emotional state on it, and seeing what its basic root emotion is (at the centre), we can better determine “where” we are, and where our emotional compass is pointing.  This can in turn allow those of us that have not abandoned our dreams and goals to assess ourselves and make necessary changes. 

I suggest that this is a simple, practical and effective tool for improving awareness of (often subconscious) personal emotional states.  We can use it periodically to “check in” with ourselves in times of reflection, and to make sure that our emotional compass is pointing to the destination we seek.  This way, by the time 2017 rolls around we will be well practiced, be more mindful, and prepared for our next set of stretch goals on our journeys to make grand dreams come true.

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