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Unveiling the Mystery of Your Emotions: How High-Achievers Harness It for Success

After reading this post, you'll never see emotions the same way again.

How many times have you told yourself it's a real nightmare, not to say hell, or even downright the end of the line? How often do you find yourself at your wit's end, carrying the weight of the world on your drooping shoulders?

If you sometimes feel like it's impossible or even hopeless, this post is for you! In these situations, you may experience immense frustration, dejection, or, even worse, total helplessness. What does your reality look like during those moments? Not great, right?

You also guess this is probably not the mindset of the most successful people. What if I told you we can change this quickly? Here's how.

Not-so-trivial situations

While the situations mentioned may seem trivial, don't be fooled! According to NLP, the quality of your life is at stake here. More specifically, the quality of your life comes down to the quality of your emotions. In other words, your reality (and your sense of well-being) is shaped by these situations. If you're at the mercy of your emotions, your happiness becomes a bit of a lottery. Personally, there are some things I'd rather not leave to chance... So let's review some potential solutions.

Woman at work behind a computer, deep in thought, eyes closed
Overwhelmed or deeply concentrated? Credit: Wix

Shutting off your emotions might seem like a tempting strategy to avoid being overwhelmed by them. While it might effectively cut you off from unpleasant emotions, it also cuts you off from joy and more pleasant feelings. Alexithymia (the absence of emotional awareness) doesn't exactly lead to happiness or to strong leadership!

Traditional, somewhat fatalistic approaches

In these tough situations, our first need is often to feel recognized in our emotions, as if they were a part of ourselves. It's nice to feel listened to and to be able to express our experiences and feelings. I see this every time I conduct an audit and offer someone one or two hours of uninterrupted active listening: it's almost therapeutic! Does this change the game? Of course not! It might soothe and create connections, but it certainly doesn't solve the problem. In fact, it could make it worse! What you focus on, you get more of!

Another approach is to adopt the Observer's stance, cultivated in the field of mindfulness (see the 5 secrets of success and happiness at work). Remembering that everything is perception is definitely a muscle worth developing. That said, while it allows you to distance yourself from your experiences and emotions, it can be a bit passive: "my perception is what it is, and the lenses through which I see it are here to stay. Long live acceptance, Amen!" While the Observer's stance is definitely the first step, it's important to go further.

Neuroscience puts you back in control

Without denying your experiences, is the triggering of certain emotions really inevitable? What is the filter that makes you see things this way? Where does it come from? The real discovery is that we play a much more active role than we think in our emotional experiences.

Neuroscience now tells us that an emotion is a combination of what you feel within yourself and how you decide to label it. Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Kristen Lindquist, refers to "conceptual labels" in her research. "Research in the psychology of emotions shows that conceptual labels, in the form of emotional categories, are crucial for transforming sensory information into specific emotional experiences. Conceptual labels allow individuals to make sense of their bodily sensations, thus guiding them toward actions that are appropriate for their environment."

In other words, you can observe and feel nervousness and tell yourself it's "terrible stress" or it's the "excitement of a rock star about to take the stage." In both cases, you'll be right, but your reality will be very different. The key point is that the label you put on an emotion is an integral part of the emotional experience. Incredible, isn't it?

In practice

Indeed, when you think "it's the end of the world," you intuitively know it's not true... And you're right. Who decided it was the end of the world? You did! So, if you can decide that and fully experience it, imagine what else you can create just by changing the vocabulary! I've revised my tendency to say "I can't take it anymore" at the end of some days because 1) it's not true at all, and 2) it doesn't help me one bit!

The key point is that the label you put on an emotion is an integral part of the emotional experience.

Now, observe how you feel and then apply the right label, the one that will help you! What if you replaced panic with healthy stage fright? What if you turned fear into a challenge? Vulnerability into courage? That is what successful and high-achieving individuals do better than others!

In a nutshell,

Your reality comes down to how you feel, and you have more power than you imagined to influence it. Is it too much responsibility? Maybe, but it means you can gently shape your reality because it's in your hands. Being mindful and correctly labeling your experiences will greatly impact them. Give it a try!

Paying attention to labels can change your daily life, lighten it up, create some distance, let you access all your resources, and bring you closer to what we're all ultimately looking for, feeling comfortable in your own shoes!

If you notice that you consistently use the same filter, making it difficult to change the label, there're probably good reasons for that, too. Life isn't always smooth sailing, and some filters seem unshakeable as if they're part of us. The truth is, they're often unconscious and rooted in our past.

The other good news I'm slipping in? Filters can change, too! It takes a little more work, but it can be done relatively quickly and effortlessly and seriously increase your performance and well-being. We can talk about it whenever you like; just let me know!

Have a phenomenal week ;-) !


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