As technology takes on an increasingly important role in our personal and professional lives, there seems to be an abundance of thinking and a lack of feeling. Thoughts and opinions hold far more weight than emotions and feelings. Creativity gets far more attention than sensitivity. Yet while the thinkers seem to lead and stay ahead of the pack when things go right, it is the feelers who pick up the pieces and put people and things back together when things go wrong. Ideally, it is best to feel capable and comfortable as both a thinker and a feeler and know when to use the right amount of each with every person or situation that you encounter.
Have you ever noticed that when you are pitching an idea, product or service to clients/customers or colleagues, you will undoubtedly ask them: “What do you think?” If you are a leader who is coaching or delivering positive or constructive performance feedback to an individual, you will then say: “What do you think?” If something unexpected occurs that is either positive or negative, you will ask the person or persons responsible: “What do you think?” More often than not, the individuals in this situation are doing a lot more feeling than thinking. In fact, their feeling may be preventing them from listening, understanding or responding to what you are saying or, more importantly, thinking, processing then making a decision as to how to proceed or whether to support your idea or purchase your product or service.
You may believe that it is both intrusive and inappropriate to ask someone: “How do you feel?” They may see it as you being interested and insightful. If you are going to be successful in your life, career or business, you must be open, honest and attentive to your own feelings and mindful and respectful of the feelings of others. Discounting and disregarding the feelings of others will inevitably lead to disaster. Accepting and acknowledging the feelings of others will open the doors to many opportunities.
If you are someone who has an abundance of thinking and a lack of feeling, it is never too late to increase your abundance of feeling by listening more, developing empathy, demonstrating sensitivity, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and asking them directly how they are feeling about what you have said or done. While you may not always like or agree with their feelings, there will always be a kernel of wisdom that you can take away and use from their feedback. When someone asks you for your feelings, be bold and brave and let them know how you feel in a way that will work for them. Imagine how you would feel if you were told what you are about to tell them. Put more feeling than thought into it and watch what happens.
If you make the commitment to increase the abundance of feeling that you show in your life, career or business, it will greatly improve your relationships with family, friends, colleagues and clients/customers. At first, others may wonder if you are being sincere or self-serving. If you consistently show an abundance of feeling, you will be seen as someone who is caring and committed. While some may see this as a weakness, you know that it is a strength.
Try for one day to ask: “How are you feeling?” rather than “What do you think?” to every person that you encounter and you will find by the end of the day that you have had a very inspiring, interesting, informative and insightful day.