2. Get granular on defining the emotion you are feeling.
The clearer you can be on the exact nature of the feeling you are feeling, the more effective you’ll be in delivering a response or action plan to deal with that specific emotion.

For example, saying, “I’m feeling angry right now” is a rather broad statement. As Feldman Barrett said on Jim O’Shaughnessy’s “Infinite Loops” podcast, “For some people, irritation, frustration and rage are all synonyms of anger. For other people though, those are really distinct experiences with very distinct behavior action plans that go with them, meaning that you do different things when you’re angry versus when you’re enraged versus when you’re irritated. And the more precise you can be in giving meaning, guessing at the causes of the sense data, the more precisely your brain will tailor its action plan to the situation.”

Negative emotions, in particular, can be helpful when you really explore them. As Shull said in my podcast, “What the research also shows is when you override an uncomfortable negative emotion that has fundamental meaning to you, when your unconscious is trying to get a message to you through an uncomfortable feeling and you ignore it, or just try to turn it positive, the volume goes up inside your head. It gets louder, not softer, because there’s something in there trying to help you.”

So don’t ignore the negative emotions. Get granular in defining them and determine what’s the most effective course of action to deal with them.

3. Learn to distinguish between intuition and impulse.
We’ve all had that feeling where we can just sense the right answer, or we can anticipate what’s going to happen even though we can’t quite put our finger on why. That’s intuition.

As Shull said, “Intuition is calm. It’s an actual expectation about how things will unfold based on one’s experience and how many times they’ve seen those set of factors come together.” It’s essentially unconscious pattern recognition.

By contrast, impulse is like road rage. Somebody cuts us off in traffic and we get pissed, flip ’em the bird, and cuss at ’em. There’s often a tangled-up energy and urgency to impulse that causes us to react before thoughtful deliberation. And in emergency situations, that’s necessary. But in road rage, not so much.

Through interoception, the brain is able to sense the internal state of the body, both at a conscious and unconscious level. When you get better at sensing your body’s internal state, you can get better at discerning what’s intuition and what’s just impulsive noise.

You can actually train yourself to become more interoceptive through practices such as mindfulness and exercises like sensing your heartbeat count for 60 seconds and comparing it to your actual heartbeat count.

And as science writer David Robson wrote in a recent article in The Guardian, “If you are more adept at accurately detecting your bodily signals, you will be able to form more nuanced interpretations of your feelings about a situation, and this in turn should help you to make wiser choices about the best ways to respond.”

Digging into the realm of emotions is uncomfortable for many of us. But a key to unlocking high performance and more effective decision making is to feel your feelings, discern, define and process them, and then move forward based on the meaningful information those emotions are signaling to you.

I believe that advisors who are trained in this type of work will add an order of magnitude level of value to their client relationships. Not every client will want this, but for those who do, it can be transformational.      

Steve Sanduski, CFP, is a financial advisor business coach and the co-founder of ROL Advisor, a discovery process technology system. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author and host of the Between Now and Success podcast.

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