In my last blog I likened our struggle with certain emotions to being stuck in quicksand (read it here). Furthermore, I shared the counterintuitive approach of simply being with an emotion, instead of trying to run away from it. Today I’d like to provide a simple strategy that will assist you in this process.
Before I do this, I want to introduce you to what I call the head, heart, feet model; a diagram that serves as a foundation for everything that I teach. The kaleidoscope that you see below is the inspiration for the name KaleidoEye as it serves as a symbol for the many lenses through which we view the world. The head represents our thoughts, which vary according to the lens we are using. For example, life looks a lot different through a lens of gratitude than it does through a powerless lens. The heart represents our feelings or emotions. Finally, the feet represent our actions or behaviors. It is important to note that the head, heart, and feet components of this model are in this order for a reason. Our thoughts influence our feelings, and together they shape our behavior.
Let’s say that you are feeling angry about something another person has said about you. You can see in the diagram above what your thoughts, feelings, and actions might look like if you were using your powerless lens. In other words, your thoughts are such that you are giving your power away to someone or something else. In this case, your power is relinquished to the individual who spoke the words. You may have felt powerful prior to this event, but the words served as a trigger and because of your lens, they consequently stole your power.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, the most critical step in the change process is to be with the emotion and to recognize that it is temporary. This stage is known as self-awareness. The second step is to replace your current lens with a new one that will leave you feeling empowered. This stage is known as self-management. Below is an example of how the curious/creative lens, one of the six lenses I use as part of the Lenses of Leadership program, can replace the anger with a much more empowering emotion.
I invite you to practice this process by using the head, heart, feet model. As I often say to my leadership students, “When you change your lens, you change your life.”