Who is driving...you or your brain?

Life is full of changing states of mind (and body).  From one moment to the next, we shift our thinking and our focus to do our best to adjust to the situation at hand.  Emotions are a key player in this ever evolving dynamic.

Have you ever been in a situation where you allowed your emotions to control you instead of you controlling them?  We all have at one time or other.  Sometimes we recognize it and sometimes we don't.  That’s called being human.

In my role, I am often asked to speak with educators on the integration of STEAM within the classroom.  Getting creative and building exciting and engaging learning programs is one of my favorite things to do.  Whether the program is for students or adults is irrelevant. For me, it is about creating a positive learning experience for those participating in whatever I am shaping. So presenting to an audience on how you might think through creating change in a learning approach is well within my comfort zone.  Doing it in a way that engages the audience in what I am sharing is another thing.  Not only is it difficult, it can sometimes result in my emotions taking over, and I find myself getting frustrated with the audience (of all things!) as I am speaking.  It’s interesting how quickly and easily our brains can "grab the wheel" and derail us.

In order to measure an audience’s interest or understanding, we need to pay attention and be watchful for signs of disinterest or confusion.  I can see in their faces a look of disinterest or, sometimes, disbelief or even irritation that they have to be in the room at all. In many cases, what I am presenting is new and disruptive to the norm for the educator (leader, manager…).  It’s simply “one more thing” to add to their ever-growing list.

We can’t change the fact that people will be emotional.  We can focus on managing our own emotions.  Catching myself using a tone that is directive or before crossing the line of showing my annoyance are abilities we can work on and improve.  No matter what the audience is feeling or how they are acting (or reacting), I have to manage my emotions.  If I don't, it will not matter that I can offer them some value.  They will just remember my poorly delivered presentation, my emotional state, and how little value my presentation brought to them.

So what are the signs you are losing control of your emotions or allowing them to drive you?  To answer that question, stay tuned for some neuroscience-backed ideas from our Master Facilitator and Program Director, Paul McGinniss.

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