I have a confession to make. I am a recovering overly emotional, conflict creating, outrageously offended, baggage toting drama queen. I loved to pass the buck and blame other people for my problems. I was really good at it too. So, what changed? I woke up from a deep sleep. A sleep so deep, I did not even know I was sleeping. I did not have one Prince Charming come and wake me out of my slumber, I had many Prince Charming’s. Many friends, family, and coworkers who challenged my thinking over the years. Many who confronted my emotions, my offenses and my drama with love, tenderness, kindness and sometimes, a swift kick in the hiney. Many who set boundaries and had difficult conversations with me. Finally, about 10 years ago, scales fell off my eyes and I could see clearly. I woke up and I began to take responsibility for me.
It is ten years later and I’m still learning what it means to be responsible for me. I am not sure we ever really arrive at the end of that journey, because staying responsible is just as important as being responsible. Consider what Cy Wakeman, Drama Researcher, says, “A leaders’ role is not to inspire or motivate. It’s to eliminate emotional waste, (aka, drama).” Ouch. I am still a huge fan of inspiration and motivation; however, inspiration and motivation do not need much encouragement in a drama free environment. They are free to thrive. Emotional waste and drama are what hold them back. Eliminating drama, or emotional waste, as Ms. Wakeman calls it, is absolutely necessary to your growth and the growth of your organization. According to her, “emotional waste” is any unproductive thought or behavior.
Here are some examples of “Emotional Waste”:
- Negative Internal Dialogue
- “My boss doesn’t care about me; she only cares about the bottom line.”
- “People don’t appreciate anything I do around here.”
- “I don’t get paid enough money to do what they’re asking me to do.”
- “If only my spouse would change, then I would change.”
- “They wouldn’t know what to do around here if I left.”
- “My children are ungrateful and don’t care about me.”
- Gossip or “water cooler talk”
- Slander, spreading false information about people
- Blowing things out of proportion
- Blaming others for contributing to my problems
Here is what I know. Everything listed above is about me. It’s about what I say to myself, how I participate in gossip, how I slander others, how negative I am, how I overreact, how I blow things out of proportion and how I blame others for contributing to my problems.
It is always in my power to decide to be responsible for me. No one else is responsible for how I decide to show up to what is going on around me. I read an article a few months ago from a company called VitalSmarts that said, “You have the ability to assign any emotion you want to any situation.”
Think about that.
You…. get to choose…. your emotions…. to any situation. How often have I let my emotions run wild and then blamed others for my wild emotions? How freeing is this?!
I GET TO CHOOSE WHAT EMOTION I ASSIGN TO ANY SITUATION!
That my friends, is freedom and being 100% responsible for me. I am responsible for my emotional waste. I am responsible for the drama I create. I am responsible for me when others are trying to create drama. I am responsible for my emotional wellbeing in any situation at any time. Me, that is it. Awesome sauce.
I hope that if you are also a recovering overly emotional, conflict creating, outrageously offended, baggage toting, drama queen or king, my journey to be responsible for me helps you become responsible for you.
Questions to ponder:
- 1. Am I taking full responsibility for my emotional waste, drama, and emotions?
- 2. How am I blaming others for my lack of emotional control?
- 3. In what ways am I creating or participating in emotional waste at work?
- 4. What do I need to do to start becoming more responsible for me?
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