Emotional Intelligence

Heather: How to recover from a setback

In this video we'll explore how to recover from a setback, which is an important, empowering strength of resilient wellbeing.

I'd like to share a story with you.

I once was leading a sales team with a multimillion dollar sales target. While not easy, we were on track to not only meet our target but deliver the BEST sales year on record. All seemed to be going well, until I received some really critical feedback from an executive in important areas I wasn't excelling in from his perspective. I felt defeated. Believe me, all the practices I have shared during this EI series I was putting into practice. And they helped me respond wisely and not react. But what can we do with lingering, difficult emotions? This was certainly the case for me. I was feeling like I had failed. I needed to learn to recover from this very difficult setback.

In the Search Inside Yourself program, developed at Google, that I have the privilege of teaching, we help participants manage emotions that are more persistent–things like self-doubt, anxiety, or feeling unmotivated after a setback or failure.

A framework we share from Oschner and Gross, two of the earliest emotional intelligence researchers, shows a great approach to handling setbacks. The framework has three parts: ATTENTION, REFRAMING AND ACCEPTANCE.

First, Attention. Right after you've been triggered, practices revolve around directing attention. Like the pause-breathe-notice we've been practising.

Second, Reframing. To further handle triggers, you can go a step further, involving a cognitive dimension: reframing and reinterpreting the meaning of the situation. It involves seeing things more objectively and with more compassion toward yourself and others.

And if it's possible, find positives in the trigger: Notice how when we work with our triggers, we can see something good in them. For example, my sensitivity to criticism can be seen as a desire to do well.

The final stage is ACCEPTANCE – creating willingness to experience and accept the emotions. For me the practice of self-compassion has been a life saver. Dr. Kristin Neff, one of the leading researchers on self-compassion, says self compassion is not denying, avoiding or suppressing, rather meeting our challenges with mindfulness, common humanity and self kindness. If this resonates with you, I encourage you to explore Dr Neff's great work.

Most of all, recognise setbacks are temporary. All these skills you have been building in emotional intelligence – and this new framework of ATTENTION, REFRAMING AND ACCEPTANCE – will empower you to get back on track, just as they did for me.

Have an awesome day.

Heather


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