Have you ever checked out the discount tables at Barnes and Noble? A while back I noticed Working With You is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work. Since picking it up I’ve not only been intrigued by it, but also have used it as a teaching tool to develop healthy culture for teams. Healthy individuals are a key ingredient. To that end this book addresses practical issues head-on.
Scratch under the surface of any organization and you’ll quickly learn what’s bubbling underneath the surface. “You uncover a hotbed of emotions: people feeling anxious about performance, angry with coworkers, and misunderstood by management. You find leaders who are burned out and assistants who are buried in resentment.” Even though we are being paid to perform a function we must find a way to work through whatever it may be that is making us feel stuck, unmotivated, or distressed. “They’re unable to free themselves from a bad situation.” Of all the ways to describe how one feels the authors chose the graphic word: HOOKED!
We are attracted to helping someone because of a sincere desire to serve them and after a time this person wants a co-dependent relationship…and we’re HOOKED!
Someone tries to ensnare us into a situation by seeking our opinion and then use the information against us or to fuel the rumor mill…and we’re HOOKED!
With the best intentions we begin the day with a positive attitude and by lunch the toxicity has engulfed everyone…and we’re HOOKED!
What’s the answer? Quitting isn’t an option. Screaming at people would only alienate you. Staying consumed by it will mean a slow death.
How do you get UNHOOKED? If you change your reaction you can change your life. What if you commit to changing your reaction to emotionally upsetting situations?
Four essential steps to UNHOOKING:
- UNHOOK Physically: Practice healthy ways of physically releasing negativity – breathing deeply, releasing anger; making the choice to return and eventually engage.
- UNHOOK Mentally: Looking at a difficult situation from a fresh perspective (internal version of talking yourself down from the ledge) – taking a moment to view circumstances objectively and find practical options.
- UNHOOK Verbally: Focusing on your overall goal rather than being stuck in the petty details – getting agreement on facts and seeking resolution while avoiding the need to be right.
- UNHOOK with a Business Tool: Depersonalize challenging situations by providing objective ways to deal with reality – stating positively what you will do going forward, develop a system, measure performance, write memo, email, etc.
Unhooking is not easy nor does it happen all at once. The very nature of barbs on a hook are to sink deep and secure its prey. Therefore, the process of unhooking will require intentional effort and planning. Yet with the right skills, support of others, and time, you will eventually begin to experience the freedom of feeling UNHOOKED!