How to Be More Effective and Happier: Understanding the Clues in Our Emotional Responses Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of this blog, I shared information on our habits and how paying attention to our emotional responses impacts our efficiency and joy. I discussed how our emotions do not have to, and should not define us. I expressed how becoming more aware of my emotional responses led me in making better decisions, which over time led to a much higher quality of life. When I say a higher quality of life, I mean this in every way. From my relationships, to my health, my career and more.

What happens when we feel multiple emotions at once? Which one do we listen to? Can these different emotions be saying the same thing, but from different perspectives?


I had started my Foundation in 2000 and in order to make a living I had to find a day job for the first time in my life. I picked up a job at Costco in sales for window coverings. I knew about interior design informally from watching my dad do this for a living all his life. I would cram as many appointments into 2 days, which left the other days for building my foundation and artistic career. Costco didn’t care how many days I worked. As long as I brought in sales, they were happy.  As I would go out on sales calls to people’s homes, my emotional responses ranged from:

  • Excited
  • Scared
  • Liberated
  • Frustrated

I was working for myself in a way and I was building what I believed would be an artistic career that allowed me great freedom. While it has worked out extremely well, I didn’t have any guarantee that it would when I was working at Costco.

So which emotional response did I pay attention to? All of them, yet more importantly, I asked myself:

  • Why do I feel excited?
  • Why do I feel scared?
  • Why do I feel liberated?
  • Why do I feel frustrated?

I realized my answers to feeling scared and frustrated had to do with things I perceived I had lost, and with things which fit into the category I call “The Unknown.” Things like not seeing colleagues I had worked with for years, knowing that many of my former colleagues thought I was making a move that was far too risky and which they didn’t understand. Essentially, I realized my feelings of being scared and frustrated were related to how others thought of me. Those feelings had nothing to do with me. My connection to what I now call “The Unknown” was more of a challenge. I realized I could not accurately plot out a course to take into account every variable. Instead, I chose to focus on the big picture and allowed myself to be open to the different situation which presented themselves. Instead of seeing the “Costco job” as a negative, I asked myself questions such as:

  • What new skills can I learn in this experience?
  • What new contacts can I create during this experience?

On the flip side, I realized that the reason I felt excited and liberated, was essentially because I was painting my own picture again. I was the captain of my own ship and I was navigating where I felt it most lucrative for me and my community.  I also realized that:

  • I wasn’t bored.
  • I didn’t feel boxed in.
  • I felt proud of myself.

With all of that in mind, I understood I needed to focus on the emotional responses which were positive in nature. Simple, right? Easy? Not always. Worth it? Absolutely.

Pretend you get up every day and you ask yourself, what am I going to do today to build my future? The reality is I do that every week and I schedule each week accordingly. With the success I’m experiencing now, I choose to book myself for keynotes, workshops, and performances as far as a year and a half into the future. The really wonderful advantage is I am able to spend an enormous amount of time with my family and friends.


I began to see things from the perspective of having already experienced the sense of gratefulness. I also began to seek for people, projects, and priorities which fed my sense of happiness, and a community sense of pride. I found myself  elevating my sense of purpose, while simultaneously taking a significant percentage of the focus off myself, and community building became an expected byproduct of my efforts. In simple terms, I began to have a lot more fun.


Pay attention to how you respond emotionally to people, projects and priorities in your life. Know that you can set your own benchmarks, your own standard. When you stop comparing yourself to others, you will see others in a different light, a more objective light.

As I bid you farewell for now, keep in mind that:

When we:

  • Change our perspective related to our emotional responses...
  • Begin to see the connection between our emotional responses and our productivity...
  • Create our own emotional benchmarks...

We will notice:

  • Bad habits are by default replaced by much better habits
  • Our sense of self becomes simpler and more profound
  • Our energy level and willingness to continually raise that level begin to elevate

Enjoy your ride



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