Ep152: Emotional Hygiene

38 minutes

This week, Jodi and Eliot talk about how emotions in business relate to dental hygiene and peanut M&M's. Trust us – it makes sense.

Why is that important for business? Often people are apologetic about the emotional component of their response in business. Somewhere along the way, somebody made up this rule that business never has anything to do with ever feeling a personal emotions. And because of that made up, unspoken rule, no one has ever made it okay to do the emotional version of brushing your teeth in business, and then the plaque  builds up and it’s problematic. Then the emotional build up gets in the way of what really needs to be dealt with.

Whoever said “it’s not personal, it’s just business” is an idiot.

The word “hygiene” is important here, because it alludes to a regular practice of cleaning and getting rid of what doesn’t need to be there anymore. We don’t apologize for needing to clean your teeth, and we need to get as comfortable with emotional hygiene. Not clearing the plaque results in the explosive conversations that start with “you always do ____”.

A resentment that you didn’t practice good hygiene on has come up, and now it is plaque. Resentment is always something that you have let build up; it comes up because you didn’t address something. Resentment is always yours.

We practice good resentment hygiene in the smallest, most inconsequential ways. Most grievances can be dealt with by dealing with the next act. You don’t need years of ammunition to justify your grievance; you just need to deal with the little things as they come up. And when you start with raising objections to little things, your tone and language and demeanour has to be befitting a little thing. If you have decided that the content of the conversation is on the little incident, you can’t punctuate it with 2 years of rage over similar little things.

Sometimes, a third party is necessary to help you get at the real issue, and that’s okay.

And it is important, in good emotional hygiene, to be clear on what is yours, and when you are ascribing intent to someone else. The language is so important. Because how you approach an issue will determine, often, how the conversation will go. Emotional hygiene is knowing when you need the pause, when you need to talk it through with someone else because you can’t find the clarity in it, right-sizing your attack, and lastly, being clear on what outcome you want.

Emotional hygiene is the ability to separate the perceived slight from the actual need. Do you need to fix the slight, or is there a different way to get your need met? But the first step is acknowledging that it is okay to have emotions in business.

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