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We’ve all heard this expression in our careers; whether it’s something as direct as someone literally saying it or it being an unsaid/unwritten rule of the culture.  Often it went beyond our careers and it was told to us by our parents, our coaches, our teachers and society from when we were children.  We’re told not to cry, we’re told that we can’t be sad/angry, we’re told not to feel how we do.  We’re diminished, we’re made to feel less than, we’re rejected because we feel.


That creates a belief that it’s true.


These beliefs make up an operating system or a mindset that we didn’t choose, nor is even real.  We all feel and, as much as we can learn to dissociate, emotions are part of what it means to be human.  Emotions are also what drive the choices we make, the actions we take and the outcomes we achieve.  Emotions are the window into our operating system, we can learn to change our beliefs, change our actions and, therefore, change our future outcomes.


How does that work?


Let’s say our boss walks into our office and tells us that corporate has increased projections so, in order to hit our bonus, we’ll have to hit KPIs that are 50% higher.


We immediately feel stress, anxiety and we tense up.  ‘Wow, that’s a huge increase.’ is what we think and then we start to think negatively about how ‘we’ll never hit that’ or ‘we were counting on that money to pay for our kid’s college’.  Now, we feel out of control and we gravitate away from even trying because, subconsciously, we’ve already predicted failure and now we’re trying to protect ourselves from failing.  We’ve decided we can’t do it and, therefore, we won’t.  The incredible part is, most of us don’t even realize that.  We’ve been told to stuff it down so, we pretend we don’t feel anxiety and we go about our work the same we always have, or worse, with even less effort because, in our minds, we’ve already failed.


What if we changed our beliefs?  What if we questioned what we believed?


Our boss delivers the news, we feel that stress and now, accepting our emotion, we lean in curiously.  Why do we feel stressed about this situation?  What is the belief that lies beneath?  We uncover that we believe that we will never hit this target.  Now, we can choose what to believe.  Is that really true?  Is it true that we’re doomed?  Or, could we make a few more sales calls each week, could we innovate our marketing process, could we brainstorm with our team on how to accomplish this new target?  How can we make it happen?  We’re in control versus out-of-control.  We’ve decided that we’re going to figure out how to do it.  We’ve decided that we’ll do it and we’ve taken control of our destiny.  Obviously, we can’t guarantee that we’ll hit our new target but we are going to try with all of the resources we have.  That’s a big step.


That’s the importance of emotion.


Without emotion, we would’ve given up.  With emotional intelligence, we identified a belief and we chose what we’d like to believe so we can show up as best as we can.

The data backs it up too – “Emotional intelligence [accounts] for nearly 90% of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.” [Daniel Golman]


You’ve been taught wrong all along, if you want to be a high-performer, start with your emotions.


This week on the Leadership Launchpad Project podcast, tech leader and co-founder of Microsoft’s LEAP apprenticeship program, William A. Adams joins the show.  We talk about becoming purpose-driven leaders, how the LEAP program has made an impact in finding great, diverse talent and the need for Leadership 2.0 to be successful in the future of work.  You can find the interview on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Google Podcasts and more.


We, at Elite High Performance, specialise in building high-impact leaders who turn their teams into happy high performers that achieve their goals.  Rather than traditional leadership coaching, Elite High Performance blends neuroscience, mindset coaching, high-performance leadership strategies with cutting-edge technology & data to provide a clear path to building a high-performing team – or to turn around an under-performing team. It’s the same way professional sports teams combine high-performance coaching, technology and analytics to build a winning sports team.  Check out for more.

–  Coach Rob

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