How Emotional Control Translates to Adaptability and Resilience

One of the skills most overlooked when evaluating someone is emotional control.  This is something that is so important when you’re looking to hire that next job candidate or recruit that next prospect.

Let’s use sports as an example; it is easy to relate this to the corporate world.

The biggest, fastest and strongest are always the high recruits. They can get by with little to no emotional control. If you’re that good at your sport, most coaches will look past any emotional control issues and take a risk. To them, the risk is worth it, and they can develop that emotional control later.

The problem is, with sports, business, or whatever your “job” is, there are just too many things to worry about and develop to work on emotional control. I would say that coaching someone on their emotional control is pretty low on the list of things to get done. This is why I think this subject is something one must practice and learn on their own.

Don’t get me wrong, coaches want to help with emotional control and they will as much as they can, but if you want to be elite, you have to take some responsibility for yourself and this is a great area to improve on by yourself. The different ways to teach yourself how to regulate your emotions are useful whether you're in sports, the business world or anywhere else.

One thing I liked to do for wrestling was to get myself really tired running on the treadmill and then hop off and have someone start in an advantageous wrestling position on me; I would then have to get out of it.  This was useful because it forced my brain to logically troubleshoot the position while I was extremely tired. We call this match simulation; as all wrestlers know, there is a big difference between wrestling in practice and wrestling in an official match.

Another common wrestling way to help teach emotional control is to simulate a match in practice and have the official intentionally give you bad calls. This can anger and stress you and force you to make a decision of whether to mentally break because of a bad call — or overcome it.  This is hard to do, and a common theme in wrestling matches, so to prepare ahead for it is important.

You can, no doubt, think of times in your own working world where exhaustion or unfair developments affect you. This isn’t limited to wrestling, but it serves as a tremendous illustration.

The last technique I use to help my emotional control is called “pre-loading your response.”  This is something relatively new to me and can be used for anyone is whatever situation they might come across.  When I was taught this, everything started to make more sense.

The idea is to prepare your mind for the different scenarios that could happen (for me, it’s wrestling, for you it may be a huge error on financial report, etc.) and know your response.  If you know how you're going to respond to a stressful situation and put yourself there in your mind before it happens, then when the situation occurs you're going to have a better chance of figuring it out.

I use this technique for everything in my life. I know life isn't perfect and there are going to be many hard life choices and situations, so I try and pre-load my responses so I’m not as stressed when the situation occurs and I can logically think through it.

To be elite in anything you do, you must have control over your emotions. As I tell my wrestling students, no one can win a match if they go crazy out on the mat. Prepare yourself for the problems ahead and you will give yourself a fighting chance.

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Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.