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What are you getting upset about?

leadership mindset Oct 22, 2020

What are you getting upset about? What is annoying you? What irritates you?

No matter what your answer is, it is not the thing or the person that annoys you, but the connection to a story inside you.

"Whatever upsets you, reveals you" is old wisdom. In other words, you can only get upset or angry about something if you declare it important. And this importance usually comes from some "story" that we tell ourselves unconsciously.

Since it is rarely helpful for your success if you get angry (because it directs your energy to things that don't get you anywhere), I recommend that you get to the root of the problem - and then eliminate it if possible.

This insight is especially important when you are leading people. Their reactions are rarely to the actual thing, but rather to their inner reflections on it. 

The following tips will help you to deal better with "unpleasant" reactions, from others and from yourself:
  1. Your world is not their world. What you associate with certain events, things and people are only your personal stories. Other people have different associations and different stories; hence, the sometimes "incomprehensible" reaction.
  2. Recognize patterns. If, again and again, you observe similar reaction patterns in others (or in yourself) and the person in question is important to you, get to the bottom of the underlying stories. Indirect questions will help (just ask me for more input).
  3. Remain calm. If you notice an angry or "exaggerated" reaction in others or yourself, tell yourself: "How fascinating! What story might trigger this reaction?" You don't have to have an immediate answer to this question, but you do have to be aware of the correlation.

I keep observing various misunderstandings because people focus too much on themselves instead of appreciating the world of others.

This is one of dozens of issues we address in our leadership coaching. Click here for more information.

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