I read an article the other day for business owners that frustrated me. It said that all emotions get in the way of running a successful business. As a CBT therapist, I can tell you, that sounds insane. I was annoyed that creative entrepreneurs are being told to damped their passion -- to squelch their feelings and live like robots. Have you ever worked with someone who’s lost their passion? It sucks! One of the last things I want is for my clients to try numbing out their feelings in an attempt to be more effective in business.
Humans are emotional beings by nature. Existing with feeling is part of what makes us people and not plants. Asking anyone to turn off that innate process is not only unrealistic but also unwise. We respond to our feelings through the actions we take. Having strong healthy feelings around your hopes and dreams fosters the strength and grit you need to work hard, overcome setbacks, and keep going. Remember that lackluster colleague? Are they doing anything exciting right now? Without emotion, we usually fall short of our potential to influence and lead others.
Not all emotions are helpful though. Some actually encourage backward tendencies, like wanting to give up, procrastinating, and avoiding responsibility. Unhealthy feelings also encourage unhelpful thinking: for example, when we feel overwhelmed, which is an unhealthy negative emotion, we tend to think in self-defeating ways -- “Everyone is going to think I’m a fraud. Maybe I should put off this launch; I’m too stressed right now. Maybe I’m not cut out for this.”
Knowing that feelings drive subsequent thoughts and behaviors, it’s wise to mindfully foster healthy, productive feelings that propel us to do our best work, maximize opportunities for success, and prevail over challenge. As a therapist, I would never encourage a business owner to leave emotions out of their work. I want my clients to handle the ups and downs of entrepreneurship with resilience and grace, not like a zombie.
Here’s proof that even negative feelings, if they’re healthy, can be helpful: my annoyance about that article prompted me to write this one, which I hope will inspire you to consider the types of emotions you feel and how they impact your business. If you think your emotions are getting in the way of your full potential, therapy might help. I welcome you to contact me for a free consultation.