Projecting Positive Emotions

With all the personal conflict out there nowadays, how do we ensure that we project a personal brand that is level-headed, drama-free? You want to be the person people can come to for help solving problems or starting new projects, not the one whose calls they are avoiding.

We hear a lot about mindfulness, the attribute of consciousness long believed to promote well-being, and emotional intelligence (EQ). Daniel Goleman first tackled this subject, and more recently Travis Bradberry and Jeanne Greaves wrote Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Rather than getting into the science behind these theories, I want to explore the practical application.

Being able to process emotions properly makes you a better employee, job applicant, leader. It’s not that you don’t have emotions, but you have found a way to process them in a healthy manner. A psychotherapist once told me when people go through therapy, they don’t stop feeling the emotions that led them there; they just start being able to deal with them constructively. These techniques can be taught to preschoolers according to Deborah Farmer Kris. Being on the front lines of employee problems every day, I certainly wish that the adults I’m dealing with had learned these skills long ago.

And how about people who are job-hunting? How many times have candidates expressed anger and frustration about their former employer that leads to a negative evaluation of their ability to handle the job being offered? This can destroy your chances of getting a new job. No one wants to hire someone who is angry at their former employer.

Sure you can feel those emotions, but in an interview, you need to know how to process them creatively. For example, say your former boss was a browbeater. Instead of painting him with all his merciless barbed comments, you can explain how even in a stressed environment full of constant pressure, you were able to achieve results. Turn the picture around to show how the adversity you faced brought out your strongest performance. It’s certainly better than either horrifying them that you spoke badly about a previous employer, or making them feel sympathy for poor a victimized creature-neither of those portrays you as a healthy self-actualized adult, master of your emotions.

Ultimately this capability to restrain those impulses ties back to a mental discipline. I am feeling something, but I do not have to act on those feelings. It’s the mantra of living in a civilized society. Ninety percent of top performers have high EQ or emotional intelligence. This competency is probably one of the most sought after in the job market.

In a recent networking session, the speaker told the group to project a positive image: “have a smile on your face and an openness to new experiences”. She explained the importance of displaying an upbeat attitude at all times since you never know who you might encounter or even where. So when you are out there networking or going to interviews, make sure that you are projecting your best self, processing feelings in a way that contributes to the harmonious aura of your personal brand.