“All we have to fear is fear itself.” We’ve heard President F.D. Roosevelt’s quote so often, it risks being trite. But I think this was an example of his effort to provide the nation with emotional leadership in a dour time.

All we really have to fear is blind refusal to understand how things work and to use that information to our benefit. Like attracts like. Fear pulls in fear, anger calls anger, joy invites joy: that’s how things in this universe work. In this economic downturn, it is the best time to feel secure and joyful because financial leadership alone is never enough to pull us out of economic melt-downs. We need emotional leadership as well.

If what I hear during this financial crisis is true, psychology and perception play large roles in market ups and downs. People take financial risks, based in part, on how they feel. If it’s true that emotion and perception are so critical, what’s keeping our business and political leaders from providing the emotional leadership necessary to help our financial worlds rebound? Emotion is contagious, positively and negatively. Who will get the ball rolling?

Here’s how it works: positive emotion draws to us more positive circumstances. All you have to do is keep your traps open, be thoughtful about business decisions and (here’s the key) feel the feelings you have when things are the way you want them to be, but feel the positive feelings before things actually become the way you want them. By “traps” I mean the channels you use to receive sustenance from the world around you. Some people call that work or job or sales. That’s fine. We each have ways to receive from the Universe what we need to survive: milk from mother, welfare or subsidies from a parental figure, wages from a job, dividends or profit from your own business(s), profits from sales. Keep your doors open and feel the feelings you want to have because you choose to feel that way. Results will follow.

The emotional leader in a human group such as a business, corporate team or family does not have to be the designated leader on the org chart. It can be anyone, secretary, truck driver or vice president who is willing to make a choice to whistle in the dark, walk on the sunny side of the street or smile when financial reports are turning crimson red. It is possible to be very aware of dire circumstances but be in charge of your emotional reactions.

You’re going to pass time one way or the other. Why not feel good as you go through time? In the meantime, you could be the one who provides critical emotional leadership for your group. All you have to do is allow yourself to experience positive, safe and secure emotions while time passes. In the end, what we really have to fear is letting circumstances determine how we feel. There’s the real fear: being out of control of ourselves. As a leader, you can control how you feel even when you’re tempted to feel out of control. Others around you will pick that up and multiply the effect.

Paul Anderson, Senior Coach

Author's Bio: 

A licensed psychologist, Paul W. Anderson, Ph.D. has coached people in their careers, relationships and business aspirations for many years. He helps women believe in themselves and men use their emotional intelligence. He is experienced in working with family business snarls and people in personal chaos who need strategies that will turn their best into success. You may reach him at bulletproofcoach.com or netpsychologist.com.