19 May What’s Your Story: Your Emotional Bank Account
You deserve to live an extraordinary life of success, accomplishment and satisfaction!
I recently paid my 2013 taxes and in doing so I watched my bank account take a serious hit. As a result, I felt nausea in the pit of my stomach. Since then, I have been taking action and slowly rebuilding the account. I add some money to my account each week, and with each deposit I feel a little more secure. I feel so much better when I see my financial bank account grow. I am sure you can relate to this experience and that I am not unique in this regard.
There is another bank account I want to discuss with you. It is our Emotional Bank Account. This account stores our positive emotional resources so that they are available for withdrawal at any given moment; we can use this account to prevent emotional deficit. I first came across this idea through Stephen Covey’s work and his book “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People.” I think his notion of the Emotional Bank Account is even more relevant today.
Many therapists and life coaches—myself included—believe that we all carry an innate negativity bias that springs into action like the taxman. While the tax guy comes at us only one time a year, this negativity bias is tracking us 24/7. Even when we are feeling good, it lurks in the background, looking for a reason to make us feel bad. Basically, we focus more intently on negative experiences, and are always on the lookout for anything that could make us feel bad or anxious. We tend to overreact to things that do not work out well, and often underreact to things that do. Even when we succeed we instinctively isolate any potential downside and fixate on it. Consequently, our emotional bank account gets depleted. It reduces our “Emotional Vitamin C” and makes it more difficult to enjoy experiences and to live the extraordinary life you deserve.
So, how do you thwart the emotional taxman and this negativity bias? And how do you keep building your Emotional Bank Account? The same way you rebuild your financial accounts: with frequent, small, positive emotional deposits. In future posts, I will write about how you can manage your emotional withdrawals and limit emotional spending. Your EBA is too precious to let anything deplete your well-being and success. Today, I want to give you six emotional deposits you can make on a daily basis to keep yourself on track to living an extraordinary life. They come out of Covey’s work:
1. Seek to understand others before being understood. This builds goodwill and others will reciprocate by then seeking to understand you.
2. Attend to little things rather than waiting for major things to improve your life. Pay attention to your small victories. Acknowledge others with a smile and a “thank you.” Pick up a little litter from the street rather than walking past it. The little things in life are the building blocks of the bigger things.
3. Keep your commitments and do not make promises you cannot keep. If you can’t follow through on a promise, let the other person know in advance and tell her when she can expect you to take care of what you said you would do.
4. Clarify your expectations. Don’t assume or just hope that other people know what you want and expect of them. Check with the other person to see if they really know what you want, be clear about your desires, and ask them if you can count on their follow through.
5. Show personal integrity. Speak the truth and be transparent in your interactions with others. Keep your word and only take on projects that you are capable of completing.
6. Make sincere apologies! When you screw up and behave badly, have the courage to say you are sorry. Do not make excuses for your bad behavior. It is ok to get angry, but it is not ok to take out your anger on others through disrespect, disdain, contempt or talking behind someone’s back.
Make these deposits and you will build trust and goodwill from others. This makes your Emotional Bank Account very rich and you will be on your way to Living An Extraordinary Life!
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