Emotion and feeling have been given a bum rap. Emotion and feeling powerfully impact our behavior, decision-making, health, quality of relationships and life experience. To ignore them is to attempt to ignore half of our human nature. Navigating them intelligently has a definite leadership and life advantage. I know for sure that to deny this reality is a clear sign of lack of real self-awareness. It will be a giant step forward for humanity to reconcile our fear of feeling and emotion, which is really simply rooted in perception.

"Nothing is good or bad except thinking makes it so." ~Shakespeare

Our thinking directs our choice of emotional perception - love (good) or fear (bad). How we interpret a situation creates the meaning and our response to it. Once this split-second decision (left-brain) is made, a corresponding feeling (right-brain) is triggered. This feeling will wire our memory of the experience.

Hence both hemispheres are involved in autobiographical memory; it's just that the context and meaning then gets stored in our subconscious mind and our brain's memory banks. Much of the lack of leadership effectiveness is not due to the current predicament before us. A less than stellar behavioral pattern is typically due to the unconscious knee-jerk reaction to old stored autobiographical memory. When we change our perceptual memory within our "storytelling brain" we can change how we see and experience life.

Our ego - who we think we are - is a combination of our conditioning, our conscious intellect, and the emotional component stored in our mostly right-brain feeling experience. Because of our lack of skillful self-management and fear of our feelings, most people are very unintelligent when it comes to emotion and feelings. This need not be so.

With a bit of courage and a willingness to grow - not fix yourself, by the way, as you are not broken - we can all learn these new skill sets.

There is a difference between skillful self-awareness of managing feelings, per se, and simply learning emotion intelligence techniques. When one "makes friends with feeling," learning and applying emotional intelligence competencies become easier to develop. When we repress so-called "negative" feelings we, by default, inhibit positive feelings as well. We are better off learning how to transmute our negative feelings, not repress or suppress them. Faking happiness is still not authentic, and your body knows - feels - the truth.

We limit our range of feelings and we can limit our empathy, creative capacity, and adaptability to change when we mishandle our feelings. Change, a side effect of innovation, often triggers retreat for this very reason. We are conditioned to fear change unnecessarily. This keeps us stuck. If we want to connect with passion, purpose, and live healthy, fulfilling, productive lives - as well as be more effective leaders - we will need to update our perception and reactions to our feelings.

When we do, we can touch the heart of leadership - inspiration, purpose and development of human potential. We can then truly be emotionally intelligent. What are your thoughts about emotion/feeling and optimal leadership performance?

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com.