I was mid-sentence with what I’m sure was an insight of sheer brilliance, when a ding rang out from the computer Zooming on the other side of my computer. 

Milliseconds later, red hot die spread across Louisa’s face.

“Sorry,” she said. “Gloria’s kicking the work-flow back to me again when it’s her job. It’s so passive-aggressive.”

Gloria, the bain of our existence. 

The topic we’d been discussing, which was of utmost importance to Louisa, was in a heap of dust in the rear view. Now frustration tears filled her eyes which roamed over and over the offending epistle as if she’d been side swiped in broad daylight while sitting in the car.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this kind of emotional hijack before, but it’s dicey. 

First, you lose all focus. Sometimes for an entire day.

Second, your unconscious mind has the amazing idea to fire off a nasty email in response.

Once said email flies into the ether, a cascade of righteous chemicals will flood your body and that feels good…until you begin to review the email in your head.

You try to tell yourself your justified, but an underlying part of you will worry about the inevitable response.

So now you have to text a friend in the office to get validated for your behavior. This will lead to a gossiping session which serves to further wire destructive thoughts and emotions into your brain and body.

By night time if you’re not still fueled by rage, shame (the other side of the righteous rage coin), may have kicked in.

At work the next day you may wonder who’s talking about you and if you’re in trouble, because Gloria is kind of tight with the boss now that you think about it. 

And because you feel so insecure, you might eat lunch alone in your office worrying and beating yourself up, and when its time for your big presentation in a client meeting, all confidence in your ability to close the deal has escaped you.

This whole “Have You Ever Given a Mouse a Cookie” scenario is unfolding because you’ve tripped your sympathetic nervous system into fight or flight. Now, you have inaccurate thoughts fueling your actions. 

And what if everyone in your home and office on any given day are all popping off with automatic emotional responses which send them (depending on who they are), into conflict or shut-down mode? (Spoiler alert… that’s what just about everyone is doing). Now you have a family or organization which is malfunctioning along with your own brain and body.

Fortunately for Louisa, we happened to be on our coaching call. Rather than spending who knows how long distracted, unproductive, stewing and then digging herself out of a hole, Louisa was able to employ the tools we worked on. She went about her day empowered, in control of herself and her life. Her focus returned to what’s most important to her, which I can assure you, is not Gloria.

Abby Havermann

I’m Abby Havermann, an Author, Speaker, and Coach focused on inspiring women to claim the value-driven, meaningful and impactful personal and professional lives they’re meant to live. I enjoy a good book, a dry glass of wine, a difficult hike, an occasional Netflix binge, and learning from my Humble Pie moments in life to grow myself and others so we can work together toward the greater good.

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