Recently I’ve struggled with keeping my emotions in check. On a good day, I handle stressful situations with ease. I’m able to compartmentalize my feelings and realize that clients and vendors have needs that are not always expressed in the most magnanimous way. I am able to empathize with their situation, listen for the real issue beneath the problem presented and come up with a solution that works for everyone. Ideally, this how we should handle every situation, but alas, we are only human. To deny ourselves our emotions on a regular basis is a feat of patience and humility. Sometimes we’re just unable to do it because of factors out of our control, personal problems that arise or we’re just having a bad day. Below are some ways I’ve dealt with handling my emotions so as not to harm my business relationships.
Don’t respond right away. Take a moment, an hour, a day even, to calm down. Sometimes, I write emails, let them sit overnight then go back and re-read them to see if it’s too over-the-top or perhaps not needed at all. I would love to tell people exactly how I’m feeling all the time but then I would have no clients and vendors would not work with me. Handling problems in a calm manner builds trust, gives you control over the situation and ensures that people will be receptive to your solution. This also works with employees, loved ones or any other conflict you are experiencing. Becoming overly emotional right away only compounds the situation.
Get a second opinion. This is why professional groups are so important, especially when you run a business solo. Talking it out with a trusted colleague can give you perspective and possibly an option that you were not considering. When I’m upset I tend to think in extremes and ignore obvious solutions because my emotions are clouding my judgement. It’s nice to bounce things off of an objective third party who can reign you in and help you work it through. It’s also beneficial and rewarding to be on the other side of this equation by providing support for someone else.
Re-evaluate your business practices. After the situation is resolved, take some time to figure out why the problem occurred. Was there a way to prevent it from happening altogether? "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." as the saying goes, so I’m always looking for ways to make my business more efficient. The solution might be an addition to your terms and conditions or perhaps an automated email reminder. Sometime a small change in the way we do business can proactively curtail future problems especially if they are reoccurring.
Find a way to deal with stress. Emotions run high in the wedding and event industry throughout the entire process of planning, execution and post production. We are the few who can handle this type of stress on a regular basis but we are not impervious to it. Find something outside of work to help alleviate the effects both physically and mentally. I know many colleagues that get massage on a regular basis, attend yoga classes or participate in other physical activities such as running or hiking. Having a hobby that is entirely unrelated to your area of expertise will help you get out of business mode and focus on yourself and your well being.
So the next time you’re confronted with your own escalating emotions, try some of these techniques before you fly off the handle. It’s not easy sometimes but the more you are in control, the better you are able to serve your clients and colleagues in a professional manner.