Any way you want it - but only if I find it acceptable. The first rule of emotional agility trainin
Updated: Jul 25, 2022
I'm extremely adaptable.
You want someone to do X - I can do it.
You want someone to speak to Y - I can do it.
You want someone to run Z - I can do it too.
Having clocked up degrees in Psychology, Teaching and Law - I've also spent time in each profession (learning to be the "best coach", the "best Teacher", the "best solicitor") through both training and experience. I've also kept my hand in theatre and performance - where again I've had to learn to direct so I retain the motivation and dedication of a cast, to act so I'm invited back to act again, to practice when the role requires something of me that I cannot do (yet).
I've had a fair run in each, and now I dabble in what I enjoy, while my day job is, alongside my "Emotional Agility Partner" Heather Carr, training other people in the very same emotional agility:
If someone wants something - give it to them...but only if you find it acceptable to do so.
Our sessions cover the basics of most soft skills programmes:
- conflict resolution
- team dynamics
- customer service
- leadership etc etc
within them we look at what you currently do, what you would like to do and why, and then we elicit and practice and reflect on those behaviours until they become natural.
We emphasise that your success is underpinned by the following messages:
THE LAW OF REQUISITE VARIETY (NLP not Cybernetics)
The system with the most options will yeild the most influence
Emotional agility in basis is about opening your eyes to the many options of behaviour that you have before you - as well as the possible consequences of choosing (or not choosing) that route. It is about becoming more aware of individual reactions so that you are able to select those options effectively and efficiently. But the bottom line is - it is also about knowing your boundaries so that you know when to stop.
No job, no person, no amount of money (at least not in the long run) will be worth your soul (or your happiness/self respect/self worth/value - choose whichever is most meaningful).
While we will teach the importance of reamaining calm when resolving conflict, we will look at what you currently do - and what you are prepared to do. We never tell you that "you must change" (unless what you are doing is illegal of course) but rather we open the options to you, and you can decide if you want to take any of them.
If you do - and it goes against what feels natural, then we will work with you - longer - to help you assimilate it through taking action and reflecting...a lot. If you don't we explore the likely outcomes, but also consider other approaches.
The problem with teaching soft skills is that even if you were to write down every technique or every response you knew, someone would still surprise you. It's therefore not about learning rules, or even "best practice" because "best" has got to be for you, for the situation, and for those you are interacting with. So it's about showing you what's commonly out there and letting you decide if you want to use it as an option, if you need help learning it as an option, or if you are happy knowing it exists and moving on to something more suitable for you.
Of course you also need the ability to learn - in that not every behaviour choice will be natural or easy, but the actual skill is being open to the possibility at all. If you won't do it, whoever it is may look for someone who will.
However, this is where most important part of emotional agility lies. If you do not want to do it - THAT's OK too. If it's something you may come round to - that's fine as well - but if whatever is being asked of you compromises something fundamental to your being - then you have every right to refuse it (whatever the consequences).
So we also focus on teaching you self-awareness and self-care.
We help you identify what it is you are willing to adapt as required - while respecting what it is that you do not wish to change. We do this through our group mindfulness sessions and it can also be supported through one-to-one coaching. We also find that this helps when the energy needed in your chosen adaptations becomes draining.
TRY THIS (Safe space visualisation (in italics) from getselfhelp.co.uk)
Imagine a place where you can feel calm, peaceful and safe. It may be a place you've been to before, somewhere you've dreamed about going to, somewhere you've seen a picture of, or just a peaceful place you can create in your mind’s eye.
Look around you in that place, notice the colours and shapes. What else do you notice?
Now notice the sounds that are around you, or perhaps the silence. Sounds far away and those nearer to you. Those that are more noticeable, and those that are more subtle.
Think about any smells you notice there.
Then focus on any skin sensations - the earth beneath you or whatever is supporting you in that place, the temperature, any movement of air, anything else you can touch.
Notice the pleasant physical sensations in your body whilst you enjoy this safe place.
As you think about that safe place, think about the people in your life - all the people who are important to you - for whatever the reason. Picture each clearly. Think about what they bring you and how they interact with you.
Now decide who you will invite in.
Your "safe space" - like your own self value is something which is precious to you, and even though people may ask you to share it - it is in your power to open the door or keep it locked.
No matter how many training sessions you go on, no matter what people say - the thing you need to be the clearest on is what you are - or are not - willing to do...no matter what the consequences.
Remember that what may be of huge consequence to others, may actually be of little consequence to you (the second rule of emotional agility training!) - and as long as you know that, and accept that, it is always your choice .
Teaching this at University level when, in my experience, I know a behaviour to work and a student does not want to engage with it, it always leaves me asking Heather - Do you think this is something they will never do - and "suffer" the consequences, or is this something they will just not do now? But I then tell myself - I am not them. What is of huge consequence to me, may not be to the student in question.
I am not you - but this means YOU have to be - so start reflecting on what that entails!
The first rule of emotional agility training:
The system with the most options will yeild the most influence. But ALWAYS know which options you are not willing to entertain.
The second rule of emotional agility training:
What may be of huge consequence to others, may actually be of little consequence to you.
BUT ONLY YOU can decide.
Dr Audrey Tang is a chartered psychologist and author. Listen to her podcast Retrain Your Brain here; and catch her practical masterclasses Psych Back to Basics on DisruptiveTV & Energy Top Up for resilience For quick tips and tools: click for SKILL PILL and Q&A videos and here for Media appearances. Twitter/IG @draudreyt