PG thought this item might be useful for character-building.
“Oh, boy. This time I messed up.”
That’s what I was thinking when some years ago, I let my emotions get the best of me. I believed a colleague had stolen something of mine. Not literally; I thought he stole an idea. At least, that’s how I felt.
I knew the way I should handle it. I knew I should approach him calmly, state my concern without any type of accusation, and give him the chance to explain the situation.
But that’s not what I did.
Instead, I went in like a ticking time bomb, asking emotionally charged questions before …
I went off.
In the end, it turned out to be a huge misunderstanding. I felt horrible, because the colleague was a nice guy, and up until that moment we had a pretty good relationship. Of course, I apologized profusely, and he said it was OK and we’d consider it water under the bridge.
But to this day, every time I think of that moment, I cringe.
If you’ve ever had a moment like this one, maybe you can relate. In emotional intelligence terms, we refer to this as an emotional hijack.
In an emotional hijack, a small part of your brain known as the amygdala, which serves as a type of emotional processor, “hijacks” your brain and causes you to react without thinking. In my case, some built-up tension and various other factors caused me to see a situation unclearly, jump to conclusions, and hurl harsh accusations at a colleague.
It’d be great if we could identify the circumstances that lead up to emotional hijacks before they happen, but that’s not usually how it works. But learning to analyze an emotional hijack after it happens can be almost as valuable.
I like to call this process the “emotional postmortem.”
Just like a medical or project postmortem, the goal of an emotional postmortem is to determine the cause of “death,” or failure. When you identify the cause for a hijack, you can devise a plan to help you avoid repeat episodes in the future.
Link to the rest at Inc.