Some where in my past I heard the term “emotional bank account.” I think this probably came from a Covey training course. The thought is that when you do something nice or kind for someone else you put coins in your emotional bank account. They hold the purse strings to this account and your deposit is with them. Now when you have a negative interaction with them, say you berate them in a group meeting, if you have enough coins in your bank account they immediately forgive you and assume you just were having a bad day. But then again, if you have taken more withdrawals than you have made deposits you will find that you might go into bankruptcy and the next deposit takes longer to make. For me, I find it helpful to think of this emotional bank account reference during stressful times. I have also found that it helps to keep my account full because when I am under stress I know that the Tasmanian Devil in me can make an appearance. It doesn’t take long to drain my account if I have too many stressful days.
Recently I witnessed one of my colleagues make a huge withdrawal from his emotional bank account. This was painful to see and I was certainly glad to not be on the receiving end. After the meeting I had an opportunity to chat with my colleague. While I did not use the emotional bank account terminology, I did bring up the fact that the interaction I witnessed probably was not productive. While I knew the topics being discussed were stressful and frustrating, letting the frustration impact the interaction in such a negative manner might have damaged the relationship. I’m not sure whether or not our conversation had an impact, but I was happy to see today that the individuals involved seemed to have gotten beyond this negative incident quickly. Whether this recovery was due to having many gold coins in the emotional bank account or if it was just a sign of extreme professional behavior, I will probably never know. In any case, I’m going to keep trying to make my deposits in my many bank accounts, because I know that it could have just as easily been me behaving badly. Hmm, well I’d like to think not so badly.
So when you are under stress, an aggressive deadline, or just plain frustrated, be sure to keep your emotional bank accounts filled to the brim before you take out your frustration on those around you. While I am sure you don’t do this often, it still pays to keep the coffers full. At best this will help your reputation and at worst it will grant you some forgiveness for those times we all have when we just can’t control our emotional reactions to life.
Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in there for? Or misplaced your keys for the fourth time that week? Or perhaps been shopping and had someone greet you by name and you just couldn’t place where you should know them from? If any of these have happened, don’t worry, you’re normal! From time to time these happen to all of us no matter what our age or IQ. I’ve found that these things happen to me most often when I am either under stress or when I haven’t had my morning coffee. However, it still bothers me to have these occasional incidents, of what I fondly call “brain burps.”
So, when I saw this article http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/primates-thinking-power-augmented-by-brain-implant I was intrigued by the thought that somewhere in the future I might be a candidate for a brain implant. Just think of it, instead of bigger female body parts I could spend that money more wisely and invest in a bigger brain! Then I read the article all of the way through and determined that maybe in order to be smarter I needed to develop a very bad habit. How disappointing and a bit sad when I read what this poor primate had to go through for the sake of science.
After my initial disappointment, I then went on a quest to learn how I might be able to solve my case of brain burps without having to wait for someone to invent Brain Beano. On my journey, I found and joined Lumosity http://www.lumosity.com/why-lumosity. I am now on my way to exercising my brain daily. You might think that my job with it’s continual problem solving would be brain exercise enough, but knowing that stress has a negating effect on the brain I reasoned that my brain muscles could use a little de-stressing exercise.
I feel brighter already after just having joined a group called Lumosity. I’ll keep you posted as I start my exercise routine. Just think, when I get on the scales and gain a few pounds I can say “well you know, brain muscle weighs more…” And as I grow more gray matter we’ll see if the old adage holds true; “it’s not what you have between your ears, but how you use it.”
Feel free to join me and exercise your brain too. Darn, now if I could just remember my WordPress password I’d be all set to post.
In my last post I wrote about how significant emotional events in our lives can change us. When I saw this interview with Margaret Cho today I was reminded of it again. As you can see from this video, Ms. Cho chose her direction early in life and has found what she loves and is continuing to do it. I think that for all of us it is important to realize that when we love what we do work takes on a new dimension. For me my work is an intrinsic part of who I am. I am fortunate to be able to spend my days surrounded by a group of innovative and committed individuals. When I drive into work each day I look forward to the interactions and challenges that face me because I know that together we can succeed at anything we attempt. That doesn’t mean we always have similar opinions about how to accomplish our goals. It also doesn’t mean that we don’t argue and fight a bit to get our points across. What is does mean is that we try to respect the opinions of others and give them the floor to express those opinions in an open and supportive environment. Even with all that said, sometimes these interactions can get heated and we need to be reminded that we’re all working on the same team with the same end goal in mind.
So perhaps this post should be an open “love” letter to all of the people I get to work with every day. Let’s see, how should I start? How about this:
Why do I love thee? Let me count the reasons.
I love your passion and commitment to your product and your team.
I love the way that you jump in unasked and take ownership of researching issues and presenting options.
I love the way you care about your staff and try to build a comfortable environment for them to work in where they can express themselves.
I love that you challenge me to think outside the box.
I love that you don’t complain too loudly when I ask you to “get out your crayons” and draw me a picture so that I can understand a technical issue.
I love the way you send me irreverent emails (when you send them just to me that is, and don’t “reply all”).
I love that you come to me for guidance and advice, but have your own opinions and share them openly.
I love the way you let me gush when I say “thank you” for a job well done.
I love that you respect my opinions but do not hesitate to let me know when you think I am all wet.
I love that you get me involved even when the topic is way too technical for me to absorb .
I love that you are patient when I ask yet another “silly” question.
I could go on and on, but I will stop here and just promise I will continue to let you know how much I love working with you.
My closing words to you are to do as Ms. Cho and I have done. Find what you love and do it! You will live longer and be happier I guarantee it.