Whether if you are after improving your relationships, wining in sports competitions, or advancing your career; having a strong emotional awareness can be the key to performing better. I often recommend using the feeling wheel to my clients, who are looking at developing their emotional intelligence.

I like to emphasize on the “feeling” because most of the time we are not in touch with them. We often feel “strange” or “weird” or “down” but don’t necessarily have the proper words to express what we feel. And if we know what we specifically feel, we can work on flipping it towards a more resourceful emotion or simply gaining awareness, knowing ourselves better, and having acceptance for the situation that we are in and move on later when we are ready to move on. 

Thoughts and emotions

Most of the time, we feel a certain way because of the way we think about specific things or events that happened. 

Take, for example, my young professional surfer athlete client from Australia; he would often feel nervous before a contest, he will not say it or express it, but he will show it in his stiffness while surfing. If he loses, he will be quiet. If he wins, he will be silent. Nothing expressed. I had him print the feeling wheel, and each time we called it was in the back behind him on his wall under his trophies, and when I asked him how are you feeling today, he would turn around, find the right emotion, then answer me. 

His parents had him use it at the breakfast and dinner table as well. The 12yo kid became much better at expressing his feelings and using the appropriate words instead of “I’m feeling alright” :). This is definitely going to have a significant impact on his future development. 

My other client from Germany is 26. Big A-type go-getter young man. Never slowing down, always going for it, and of course, never say I’m sad, tired, frustrated, afraid, or content. He has a fear of failure and had a hard time dealing with other people’s expectations of him. Using the feeling wheel daily taught him to listen to his feelings and his emotional needs, go with the intuition instead of always the rational mind, slow down a bit, and open up to better communication with his partner and family and friends. 

I also use the feeling wheel to help my clients improve their outcomes and make better decisions.  

In corporate organizations, and among leaders, emotional resilience is critical. Especially in male-dominant industries, none is talking about feelings until they hit the wall, drown it in alcohol or drugs, and distract themselves from the pressure of leading and delivering and being on top of their game at all times. 

Openness about emotions can improve leadership and team bonding, communication, and, therefore, productivity and resilience when facing setbacks. 

Emotional Awareness and Behaviors

There is a strong relationship between what you think, what you feel, how you behave, and the results/outcomes you get. 

If you are not happy about the results that you keep on getting, it is probably because you are doing something wrong, and you can change your outcomes by changing the way you think of something (improving your mindset) and therefore the way you feel about it as well. 

Bellow how it works:

Take, for example, your action to read this article today:

You probably thought my article would be interesting, which led you to feel a certain way (curious), which led you to take action, click and read, and as a result of that, you are reading these lines and learning more about how it works with the feelings. 

This is how it works for everything we do consciously or unconsciously, which is why we must be in touch with how we feel. 

The easiest way to change something that you are not happy about is first to identify what your feelings are like, and then ask yourself if there is a different way to think about that topic that will make you feel differently about it and therefore make the change that you have always wanted. 

As you can see in the image below, your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. Changing one will change the other parts too. 

After all, we are emotional beings, and it’s important to know what fuels our decisions, behaviors, and actions both in business and in life.
And by the way, next time, try asking, “how are you feeling today” instead of “how are you today.”