Oh well. That’s it then! That’s why I’m not happy. I’ve never kept a diary. Well until recently anyway. I have been in the throes of writing a book. Since January 2017.
Looking back over last week and the clients I’ve spent time with on a 1-2-1 basis, one sticks out more than the others. I noticed the “Bridget Jones effect” of my writing. Penning my thoughts and feelings has helped me come to terms with some of the intense thoughts and feelings I had last week.
The science says that just writing down your thoughts and feelings isn’t in itself cathartic. You need to go a step further. You need to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. For me this is organizing them into this blog post. But they will also find their way into my coach-supervision sessions, and my book.
Why do I need to write?
Well for one, I’m writing a book. But more importantly writing ensures I am able to respond to clients truthfully. My interactions end up not being inappropriately emotion-driven. Or as some would say, I end up not being a drama queen.
Of course there is a place for drama queens. Don’t I know that! Just not when helping CEOs and senior executives find, speak and live their truth.
What’s writing got to do with helping CEOs find, speak and live their truth?
The thing is last week I was found out. Yip, my client read me like an open book…
“Mark people buy from you when you bring appropriate emotion to bear.”
“Sorry I don’t quite understand. Are you saying be emotional?”
“There is a scale Mark and you have to determine how far along that scale of emotion you choose to be, depending on many different factors which we will explore.”
“You’re being emotional,” Mark interjected.
There was a seemingly long pause…
“You’ve had some dark past,” came Marks clear crisp uninterrupted voice. Then silence.
I could hear tumble-weed. I could hear the cars outside. People talking in the distance. I hadn’t heard this background noise until now. I thought I had frozen. It was only milliseconds.
Then came the tyrant of my inner-critic. How has he seen this? What have I said? What have I been doing? What is my body language telling him? Do I look unhappy?
I paused. Took a deep breath and said, “Yes, I have been writing a book and the period I’m writing about is a dark time.”
Mark could see this in me. As a professional truth-speaker mentor I knew this was OK. OK to allow this conversation. It lead us naturally to work through techniques addressing “emotional truth”. Releasing emotion is helpful as it gives you space. Space to fill the space with appropriate emotion so others buy into you.
Back to the science bit…
In a recent study psychologists discovered brain scans on volunteers showed that putting feelings down on paper reduces activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala, which is responsible for controlling the intensity of our emotions.
When people wrote about their feelings, medical scans showed that their brain activity matched that seen in volunteers who were consciously trying to control their emotions. This gave the volunteers time to notice their more useful true emotions.
When we are able to notice, we can then make right choices.
Helping Mark be a Truthful Leader…
I told Mark I generally wear my heart on my sleeve. Although due to writing I am able to use “appropriate emotion more appropriately” to connect with people. He agreed.
In my line of work I have to be conscious of my emotion. Much like leaders need to when in business.
It fascinates me, in my experience of working with 1000s of CEOs “there is a desire to want to rid themselves of emotion.” To rid the moment, when they are speaking to an audience, of emotion. They see emotion as negative, something they are unable to control.
Writing helps you notice the situation, and next time you are able to choose an appropriate level of emotion. You’re able to be a Truthful Leader. Conscious-driven appropriate emotion can happen by keeping a diary.
Mark went on to say, “I get the emotion piece. I witnessed it when we first meet. You were different to everyone else I’d met. Your emotion-filled interaction with me, told me “this guy is right for this job.”
Keeping a diary releases emotions. Writing creates space and so makes you happier.