How to keep emotions in check for success

Focus on what you can control and let go

Alexander Polanco
5 min readDec 21, 2021

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Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

Not being able to accept those things out of our control
Providing feedback or coaching
Receiving feedback
Quitting your job or getting dismissed

At one point in my life, I found myself plagued by stress and anxiety as I fixated on things that were beyond my control. It took me several years, but through self-reflection, mindfulness, and learning from difficult experiences, I was eventually able to develop healthier coping mechanisms and find greater peace of mind. I would like to share a story with you about a person named Sarah who went through a similar journey and ultimately discovered the value of focusing on what she could control.

There was once a young woman named Sarah who found herself constantly stressing and worrying about things that were beyond her control. She would spend hours ruminating over events and outcomes that she had no power to change, and as a result, she struggled to find peace of mind. Despite her best efforts, Sarah found that she was unable to shake her anxieties, and they began to affect her relationships, work, and overall well-being.

One day, Sarah decided to seek the advice of a trusted mentor, who helped her to understand that focusing too much on things that she couldn’t control was only causing her unnecessary suffering. The mentor encouraged Sarah to identify those things that were within her sphere of influence and to channel her energy and efforts toward those areas. With practice and patience, Sarah was able to shift her mindset and learn how to let go of those things that were beyond her control. As a result, she found greater calm and fulfillment in her life and was able to thrive in both her personal and professional endeavors.

Not being able to accept those things out of our control

I will start with one of my favorite quotes from Epictetus:

“If we can focus on making clear what parts of our day are within our control and what parts are not, we will not only be happier, we will have a distinct advantage over other people who fail to realize they are fighting an unwinnable battle.”

- Epictetus

To optimize your energy and mental well-being, it is important to focus on those factors that you can actually control, rather than worrying excessively about those that are beyond your influence. By using a professional and measured approach, you can work to shape the outcomes that affect you positively, both for your own benefit and that of the organization.

With patience and practice, you can learn to distinguish between those things that you can control and those that you cannot, and in doing so, you will gain greater mastery over your emotional state. In this way, you can play an active role in bringing about positive change, and in the process, strengthen your wisdom and resilience.

Providing feedback or coaching

Disconnect your thoughts from the person in front of you, and focus on goals, strategic topics, and behaviors. Define expectations and goals in a clear and precise manner and agree with the other person on those by setting some action points and always focusing on the end goal.

If there’s certain behavior that is currently affecting the team’s aura (or ours), it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking it a “bit” personal and mentioning these personal attributes or even comparing it with other people making the session feel like an attack. This will provoke the other person to shut down, and nothing will be accomplished out of it.

Receiving feedback

Rule #1, Be grateful. First of all, be grateful to those dedicating some time to you to provide feedback, listen patiently, take notes and ask some clarification questions, the person providing the feedback may not be an effective feedback provider, but I’m sure you can take some useful information out of it.

There were probably times when some of us felt attacked by feedback from our boss, peers, or colleagues, and perhaps, they were just reflecting what they feel about us, they were probably not being objective or goal-driven, but guess what, that’s also helpful. You can take that opportunity to work things out with that person or anything related to what they’ve mentioned, there surely must be something useful.

Quitting your job or getting dismissed

Last but not least, a difficult episode, a failure, a break up in professional world language, probably getting dismissed is one of the toughest episodes, is that feeling of rejection, the one we feared when we were kids, at school and now at work. A cool quote about cause and effect that I like is:

“Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.”
J.E.B. Spredemann, An Unforgivable Secret

When facing the end of a professional relationship, whether it be due to resignation or dismissal, it is crucial to maintain a level of professionalism. Not only will this help to preserve any relationships and connections you have made within the company, but it will also serve to protect your own mental health and well-being.

It is understandable to feel upset or rejected in these situations, but it is important to remember that a job is a service contract and that sometimes, it is best to part ways amicably and leave behind positive memories. While it may be difficult, it is not impossible to keep emotions in check and handle the end of a professional relationship with grace and professionalism. Always strive to learn and grow from these experiences.

Reflecting on past professional experiences can be a valuable opportunity for learning and growth. It is natural to have strong emotional attachments to a job and to feel a sense of rejection when those attachments are not reciprocated. However, it is important to remember that a job is a service contract and that sometimes it is necessary to move on in order to prioritize mental health and well-being. Maintaining positive relationships and leaving behind good memories can help to facilitate a smooth transition and set the stage for future success. It is important to continue learning and growing from these experiences, regardless of the challenges we may face along the way.

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