Are your emotions serving you?

Did you watch The Last Dance?

Are Your Emotions Serving You

Even if you didn't watch The Last Dance, you must have heard about it, right? But here's to hoping you watched it. Even if you don't like basketball or Michael Jordan. The 10-part series is an amazing look into the world of high performance athletes.

My favorite theme throughout is the notion that Michael Jordan would completely dominate an opponent on the court when he felt like he had been slighted. Directly or indirectly. Real or imagined.

Catch that?

He'd step his game up and completely destroy the competition even if the slight was imaginary. And he knew it. He didn't care. It just motivated him to push himself harder than ever.

The other day I tweeted about a tweet

The other day @chrissyteigen wrote about a waiter bringing her and her husband a super-expensive bottle of wine (without mentioning how expensive it was).

People started replying that her tweets were not relatable because the bottle was $13,000 and that's not something that happens to the rest of us.

I wrote about it (a bit tongue in cheek) because a lot of tweets are not ones I related to (like inbox zero or crossfit).

But what happened next was delightful.

A buddy of mine replied that very little makes me angry. Then another replied that I was not easily triggered.

Both of these things are true. On purpose.

Emotions are powerful, but they're not the boss of you

So which is it? Should emotions drive you to the top of your game like Michael Jordan? Or am I suggesting you should keep them in check and not let them affect you?

Both.

Emotions are powerful. But they're not the boss of you.

This morning I saw a tweet from Hiten Shah.

While most people started responding to him that business is personal, they missed the main point. He wasn't saying whether you should or should not take things personally. He was saying founders don't have the time.

And I echo those sentiments by saying he's 100% right. I'll go even further.

No one, founder or not, has the time to take things personally. There's enough important things in the world to take care of. Real or imaginary, taking an affront or insult personally is a waste of time.

And it makes you the victim.

If someone else's action can trigger you, and cause you to take actions you weren't planning to take, you've given away your power. You're now a victim – to them or to your emotions.

You are in control

I'm Latino. I feel everything strongly.

Real or imaginary, if I'm hurt or frustrated by someone or something, I feel it. But that doesn't mean I have to give it any more time than I think is appropriate.

The key word there is “think.”

Maybe it's just me. And if so, close your browser or email and feel free to ignore me.

When someone bothers me, insults me, takes an opinion directly opposite mine, whatever – my initial feeling is to get defensive, angry and ready to take my revenge. But what's really happened is that my adult has stepped off-stage and let my inner playground 6-year-old step up and take center stage.

Man I can go Jordan-level on plans for destruction.

  • Sign them up for college catalogs and applications.
  • Sign them up for credit card applications.
  • Buy 1000 backlinks for their website.
  • Donate with their home address / email to the political campaign they're opposed to.

On and on my 6 year old goes.

Because that's what's coming from my heart. So after 120 seconds of enjoying this, I have to on-board my head again. My adult.

It's a proactive choice.

I give myself a minute or two to relish in what I could do. And then my thinking takes over and levels out the emotional side of things.

Why? Because 6 year olds don't play chess well.

They can't see what happens one, two, or three moves down the line.

But I can. As an adult. With experience. And my brain applying the check to my heart.

I am in control. And honestly, I don't have time to act on an insult. Real or perceived.

Guess what? You're in control too.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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