Emotions are the undercurrent of everything we say and do. Understanding how our emotional lives intersect with our work lives helps us to continually strengthen our sense of self and serves as a valuable touchstone for personal and professional development. Consciously or not, the emotional choices we make during every interaction strengthen, maintain, or damage our credibility. Our emotional energy shapes our image in life and at work.
Starting with self-image
My former client, Deborah, a middle-aged woman in career transition, came to coaching seeking to polish her professional image. Feedback reflected that she had ‘low energy’, was non-committal, and seemed defensive and closed-off during job interviews. No wonder, months of unsuccessful job-hunting in this tough economy had Deborah feeling down and disempowered. Her demeanor reflected disappointment and deep insecurities. Deborah felt embarrassed and insulted to be looking for work at this stage in her life and with her credentials. As her coach, I challenged Deborah to polish her self-image first so that her professional image could genuinely shine. Then, we got down to the business of managing emotional energy.
During our intensive, six-week coaching program, Deborah realized that her lack of self-confidence and low emotional energy had created a pattern where she was devaluing herself and her past professional accomplishments when speaking with potential employers. With forced focus in our safe coaching space, Deborah tapped into her core energy to reframe her perspective and view her career transition as an opportunity for self-discovery. She redefined her career goals and improved specific interpersonal communication skills to reflect the professionally competent and personally powerful woman she truly was.
Deborah eventually landed a new job. Yet, the self-discoveries and energetic shifts she made during the coaching process were her real rewards. Deborah gained more control, clarity, and confidence in the ways she felt, spoke about, and presented herself.
Like Deborah, we all have the power to make more conscious choices in emotional energy and behavior. This often involves establishing a new, more authentic sense of self and realizing that how we choose to view and value ourselves directly affects how we show up to the world.