Let's get all emotional

by Steve Faulkner on 20 February 2018 | filed in Leadership Random Stuff Self Development

This might not come as a surprise to many of you, but someone once said that I was in touch with my feminine side. Another friend went even further and declared me the gayest heterosexual they had ever met! And all because I speak and write about emotions.

I talk about feelings a lot. I talk about them to my friends, my partner, my kids, my delegates and sometimes even my ex-wife. Now, be honest, after reading that last sentence did you imagine someone in a positive or negative light? Perhaps you imagined some whining, constantly complaining and tiresome individual, rather than someone who is merely fascinated by the things that drive pretty much everything we do. And that’s the point.

Though some of us will move into action faster than others, and some will stay with an emotion for longer, or indefinitely, before taking any action, (if they do at all), our emotions are the things that make us…well…us. In fact, we are all fascinated by emotions and we all talk about them. Some of us just don’t like using the E word. If we speak about something we like, something that makes us laugh or something that pisses us off, we are talking about emotions. Actually, we speak of little else or, at least, there’s little else that starts a conversation. We are moved to talk, and sometimes to act, by emotion.

So if this is the case, why do many of us still associate the discussion of emotion with a specific gender or sexual orientation? Now don’t get me wrong, I am not offended and don’t want this to become an issue around prejudice, which I could, of course, write or speak about at great length (it makes me feel very angry), but it can become a challenge when speaking to a room full of people, as I often do, about such things. Sometimes you’ll see an actual role of the eyes and ‘tut’. And sometimes that will be before being asked questions about motivation, and how to motivate teams and individuals. Motivation is something (usually an emotion) that leads to a specific action. The bit that happens just before the action is an emotion. It’s the spark at the end of the dynamite. So how can we go there without openly talking about emotions?

The usual answer is that speaking about emotions isn’t ‘English’ and that we ‘don’t do emotions’. Though usually said with a certain level of irony, the reality is clear. Many people I have worked with find it hard to talk about feelings. The fact is that we need to shake this. We need to openly speak about how we feel before being able to influence how others feel. As a magician and speaker, I need to be able to help an audience feel something. As a trainer, coach and business owner I need to speak of, and be aware of others’ emotions to give us something to work with, and as parents and friends, we need to be able to empathise emotionally to be able to care.

A reply I often get around the subject is, ‘but there is a time and a place’. Indeed there is, so I suggest that if you don’t have the time or the place in your private or professional life, you find them. It will work wonders.

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day

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I am a trainer, speaker, coach, and magician. If you would like to know more, get in touch and we can have a chat.

(Image by Alan O’Rourke. audiencestack.com)