Four Life-Changing Questions

We all have days where we’re in a bad mood and just can’t shake the frustration, anxiety, or disappointment and yet we don’t know what’s causing it. These four questions can help you take control of your emotions, re-focus on the task ahead and take charge of your day.

1. How do I feel?

It’s so important to acknowledge one’s feelings. Even if you don’t know exactly how you’re feeling and acknowledging that you do in fact have feelings that differ from your norm is a very important first step to taking charge of your emotions. Take a minute to close your eyes and try to name your feeling. It may even help to jot it down or talk through it with a friend.

2. When did I start to feel this way?

Everyone has triggers, but not everyone knows what their triggers are. this is how you identify your triggers and stop them from derailing your day. Think back to when your emotion changed. Were you speaking with someone? Watching or reading something? Did you lose or miss out on a sale or deal? When did the shift occur?

3. Why do I feel this way?

When the event occurred why did it elicit the response from you that it did? Are you feeling like you need to protect your heart? Defend your position? If so, why?

4. How do I feel?

Now that you know when and why you feel the way you do. You can express that emotion to yourself or others as necessary. Try this framework, I feel… when…. because….

Now that you’ve properly identified your emotions you can choose whether to hold on to the feeling associated with the experience or let it go. We can’t always control how we initially feel but I believe we can control whether or not we give those feelings control over the rest of our day, year, or life.

Click here to take the Emotional Intelligence Masterclass at a discounted rate. 

LeeAnah James is not a licensed therapist. This technique is not intended to cure or remedy any mental health issues. 

Resolving Conflict with My Boss

“What is the emotionally intelligent way to handle conflict with a superior at work?”

This is one of the most common questions I get asked during training and interviews. Employees are afraid of retaliation, in the form of poor performance reviews, getting fired, or even being blacklisted in their fields. However. it is important to consider the alternative to not addressing the issue right away. The anxiety of working with what feels like an aggressive superior in an unwelcoming environment can lead to poor performance, getting fired, or even getting blacklisted in one’s field. So here are some things to consider when using emotional intelligence.

Being emotionally intelligent does not mean you lack emotion; it means you can express your emotion in a way that is appropriate for the situation. A key component of emotional intelligence is self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to accurately name one’s emotions. Before meeting with your supervisor or manager get clear on how you feel and why. Be sure to ask yourself the four questions.

What’s the standard? Personally, what do you need to do to remain in integrity with who you are? Map out what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior from you. No matter the outcome you must live with yourself so respond in a way you can be proud of. Also, keep in mind that your company likely has a policy to handle workplace conflict. Get familiar with it before you decide on your next steps.

Respond to the conflict with the end goal in mind. What does resolution look like for you? How can both parties win? Examining your motivation before discussing an issue with your manager can help you clearly articulate your desired outcome and increase the probability of that occurring.

Lastly, consider the relationships involved. How is this conflict impacting your performance (your relationship with the company)? Your relationship with your team? Your supervisor’s relationship with the company?  I have learned that sometimes it really isn’t personal. At times supervisors can respond out of their own stress, and frustration. Being empathetic can help you understand their perspective while also addressing the issue clearly and defining your boundaries.

You’ve done the work on yourself and have decided to move forward in confronting your boss. Here are my tips regarding that.

Create a paper trail. Send the invite. Let them know you would like to discuss how you can work together to improve your working relationship. The one who addresses the problem is the leader in solving the problem.

Define the problem clearly. Use examples. Use “I statements” instead of “you statements.” Ask questions. Don’t make assumptions.

Follow-Up via email. A quick thank you with a brief summary will allow you to complete the paper trail on the issue.

Confrontation can be scary and overwhelming at times. Please keep in mind there are times when our perceived issues with management may be a simple misunderstanding. If you can’t resolve the conflict, consider moving on to a different role or company, no one should have to work in a work environment that is harmful to their mental well-being.

Emotional Intelligence and Customer Success

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a valuable skill that is noted as a requirement of an excellent Customer Success Manager. It’s more than tough skin and can be the difference between a major client renewing their services or parting ways. So let’s get into it.

It’s important to understand your role. At times you may operate as a customer advocate, a liaison, a sales professional, a problem solver or even tech-support. When you are able to quickly identify who you are in the conversation with your client, you are able to respond in the most appropriate and effective way.

For example,

A client calls upset that certain features aren’t working on their account. You look and find they have the basic level package and have not logged in to use it this quarter. They need these features to roll out a new division of their company.

What is your role? How do you help?

Your role is sales associate. You congratulate your client on their growth, point out how the features they are looking for will support their roll out and enroll them in the package that will meet their needs.

Connect quickly. Strong connections lead to lasting relationships. Use EI to recognize and understand the energy level at which the client communicates and match that. This will require you to be attentive and curious. Entering the conversation with too much energy may be overwhelming to the client, too little energy may make the client feel like their urgent needs aren’t urgent, to you. Be aware and regulate quickly to build connection. It also helps to connect around like interests. Your immediate and obvious common interest is their success. Let them know you are personally invested in seeing them succeed.

Be personal but don’t take it personally. Sometimes we get to diffuse situations. When emotions are high it helps to remember that the anger coming across is not towards you but towards the problem. Immediately position yourself as a teammate rather than an adversary by acknowledging their feelings, committing to helping them solve the problem and slowly lower the tension by steadying your speech and giving clear answers.

Try this script, “I understand you’re frustrated. You expected ….. and got ….. Did I get that right? I’m aware of the issue now and I am going to do everything I can to get to this resolved. Let’s start with (go into next steps based on the role you need to be in and the problem you get to solve)”

According to Dr. Daniel Goldman emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to manage their feelings so that those feelings are expressed appropriately and effectively. Appropriately expressing one’s emotions effectively in a customer success management roles hinge on understanding the clients needs, so stay curious friends!

Surviving the Holidays: 5 Tips to Navigating Family Drama

The holidays are upon us and many people find this time of year difficult as family and tradition collide. How can you adhere to your standard when faced with challenging political views, past drama swept under the rug, and for some even coming face-to-face with childhood trauma?

Here are five quick tips to surviving the holidays.

1. You set the tone.

Remember the person with the highest vibration wins. So decide before going into your family event what tone you want to set. You can’t control how everyone else acts but you can influence how people feel when they are in your presence.

2. Everyone has their own baggage.

That anxiety you feel about going to the family event or function, it’s likely that someone else is feeling the same way. When you realize and recognize that everybody has their own issues and not everybody has your standards it allows you to operate from a place of grace. Decide that during the holidays you are going to give people room to make mistakes and forgive them quickly. Be mindful not to make their baggage your baggage.

3. Pause…… Pause….

Not everything requires an immediate answer. Exercise your right to pause. During the pause ask yourself. Do I feel the need to respond? Why do I feel the need to respond? What response aligns with my standards?

4. Operate with the end in mind.

Before you even go to any family event ask yourself what your intention is. Are you desiring to continue family traditions? Do you want to connect with that family member that you only see during the holiday season? Why is it important to you to attend this event? Once you know your intention you have a goal to focus on if or when difficult conversations arise.

5. Eat to feel satisfied not full.

The holidays are marketed as the perfect time to indulge however it’s easy to eat in order to avoid challenging conversations. Food can be a great comfort when trying to navigate family drama. This can lead to overeating which ultimately can make you feel irritable and add to frustrations. By checking in with your body you can make sure you are feeling good and making good choices for you and your body.

I hope these tips help add happiness to your holidays! Comment below which one works best for you!

Need more help? Let’s connect! Send me message and let me help you take control of your emotions and your life!

I Let My Daughter See Me Have a Meltdown and It Was The Best Thing For Her

It was a sunny, beautiful day so the kids (3 plus one in-vitro) and I checked out the La Jolla tidepools. We then followed it up with a trip to Birch Aquarium. We had the best time! At one point I was enjoying just being in the moment so much I forgot to snap pictures to show my husband. We stopped by some fancy pizza place on the way home since the kids love going out to eat and then we headed back to the house.

At this point, the mood of the day changed. My oldest wanted to go to the beach. I was exhausted. My youngest (2) did not want to get out the car so she bounced between the front and back seats laughing hysterically as I tried to grab her. Did I mention I am pregnant and my growing womb makes it difficult for me to be as agile as I would like? I finally grab my bouncing 2-year-old, the diaper bag, a grocery bag of snacks and tell the older two to follow me as we march towards the front door.

As soon as we get in the house my oldest (7) shoots me a glare and mumbles under her breath, “This is the worst day ever.”

What! I lose it. I drop everything. The bags, my youngest, and my resolve. “What do you mean worst day ever?! You saw a crab in the tidepools! You had fun at the aquarium and we went out to eat! The worst day ever? Really!” By this point, I am in tears. Yes, real tears run down my face as I stand in shock and aw. My oldest’s face contorts from one of sheer angst to shock to sadness then she breaks down and cries. She was remorseful and I was grateful for that remorse.

I believe that my daughter needed to see that her mother was a person with feelings and she needed to know that the way she expresses her feelings affect other people. I could have calmly expressed that she was being ungrateful and I didn’t appreciate it but I do not think she would have heard me otherwise, at that moment. She needed me to shake things up.

So how did I reconcile with my outburst?

  1. I gave myself grace. I am an imperfect person doing my best to be the best I can be.
  2. I thought about how I was feeling. I went through the 4 questions in my head.
  3. I checked my motivation and my intent. (My motivation was to show my daughter I have feelings. My intent is to raise a kind, gracious, generous child.)
  4. I made a decision. I believe in apologizing to my children when I do something that goes against the standard. In this case, I decided there was nothing to apologize for and I continued about our day. She later apologized to me and we went on to continue life as usual.

I wanted to share this with you because many think to be emotionally intelligent means being void of emotional expression, it does not. When you are emotionally intelligent you take responsibility for your emotional expression before, during, and after your feeling has passed. I want to teach my kids that not only can they feel, but their feelings affect others, which is why I let my daughter see me have a meltdown.


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Marriage Work

Marriage is work.

My husband is an only child, an introvert and can be very tight-lipped about his feelings. In fact, when he communicates it’s as if he uses as few words as possible.

I am the oldest of five and I am very sure and expressive of my feelings and I’m a speaker and trainer so I talk a lot.

When we got married year one was a whole lot of trying to mold each other into our ideal communicator. He wanted me to talk less I wanted him to talk more. We both wanted to be understood. We also both really desired to be known by each other.

The invisible expectations let to frustration, which led to breakdowns in communication. It was difficult, stressful, and even scary to communicate with each other. We didn’t want to fight. We had a lot of fun together, we enjoyed a lot of the same things, and before we got married we got along so well.

He was literally my best friend. So why couldn’t we talk to each other?

Enter emotional intelligence. As I begin studying emotional intelligence in my graduate program I started applying the concepts to my daily life. It started as an experiment, could this abstract idea really manifest into actual systems?

I started with self-awareness I had to identify how I was really feeling before I could even begin to communicate my feelings or understand how my husband could be feeling.

Next came self-regulation. What did I want in my marriage? What was the end goal? At this point, I just wanted to have a conversation with my husband without it turning into an argument.

Then came motivation. Why did we get married in the first place? What was our intent?

Next, we got to the empathy phase. This is where for me our communication really changed. I had to look at what my husband was actually meaning, versus what he was saying. For example, my husband and I could be talking and I could tell him about a new product I heard about. I could be excited about the product and he coolly responds, “Why would anyone want to buy that?”

Now an outsider could hear our conversation and think wow he’s kind of rude and inconsiderate. Me being in the conversation and knowing my husband’s heart and background I understand that he is actually asking what the benefits of purchasing this product are.

Learning how to use the emotional intelligence tools of empathy in our relationship help me careless of how other people viewed our conversations and really look at my husband’s heart and intent. This improved our communication tremendously.

He no longer felt as if he was constantly being corrected and micromanaged when he was speaking to me. I no longer felt as if I had to correct him or take offense to the things he was saying when I knew the intent behind his words.

This leads us to the last component of emotional intelligence which is relationships and we learned tools and strategies to be really intentional about our relationship and it has transformed our marriage.

Click here to schedule a call with me if you are married or about to be and struggling with trying to communicate effectively in your relationships. I would love to pass these tools along.