Transcript: The Anger Trap - How we can use anger without letting it use us
Hello. Hello. I hope you are having a fabulous day to day. I'm going to tell you something. This is like the sixth time I've started this podcast today. Just started recording it and I just, you know, can't get into the rhythm of it. So I am going to do my best to get through this podcast for you because it's extremely important. This is something, a topic that I've been wanting to talk about for a little while now. I've seen it come up in so many areas of my life and other people's lives and seeing this feeling, this emotion of anger, both spark, catalyze action, and also destroy. So I wanted to really bring the distinction between how anger can and cannot work for us because I think so often we have this impression that anger is a really good thing that you know, when we use anger, we can actually use it to drive results and I have to tell you that that is not the experience I have had and I certainly have not seen it in my clients.
So I wanted to talk to you very basically about what anger is, why we have it, because it's a very basic reaction that we have in our brain. It's actually part of our sympathetic nervous system, part of that fight, flight or freeze response. And there's a way we can use anger to propel positive action, but that's where it ends. We really have to start becoming more resourceful with our emotions in order to create the results that we want. Why is emotion so important? Emotion is important because it drives all of our actions. We are actually always working from our emotions and anger is not the most resourceful of emotions as you will find out soon. Now, where are we going to go with this? What I want you to see is that you can become really aware of what is going on in your life day to day.
You're going to become really aware of when anger comes up for you if it's associated in a particular situation or with a particular person. And I also want you to see that an emotion here we're talking about anger is always sparked by a thought. So until you start recognizing where the feelings are showing up, you're not going to be able to backtrack and see the thought that is creating that anger. When we can understand and intentionally think about our feelings and what feelings we want to create, that is when we can really begin making the change. We want to see our lives. So I want to bring in a concrete coaching example, an experience that I've had as well. And I want you to see where this might be showing up because this awareness is a huge key to making shifts in your life. And I've had people email me about anger showing up in their life and wanting to know what to do with it and how can they stop it.
And I have to say, the very first thing to do is just notice it. The fact that you are aware of it is a good thing. The second thing that you really have to be clear on is what are the thoughts that are causing this feeling? Because it's always a thought that you're having about someone. Something that creates that emotion, that anger. It's never that person themselves. Okay? It's never that situation itself. It's how you are interpreting that situation, that person. So I want you to see that, to recognize that they are separate.
Before we get going, I want to tell you about a personalized coaching experience because this podcast is brought to you by my personalized coaching experience that I'm going to talk about right now. So who was this for? It is for solo and small law firm owners who know their mindset needs to shift before they can create the business and life that they've dreamt up.
It requires someone who's ready to commit. It's six months of intensive, one on one time with me. You can see all the [email protected] forward slash experience I designed this coaching experience for the ambitious and driven lawyer, excited and willing to show up for themselves 100% if that sounds like you, let's talk. Go to Dina cataldo.com forward slash experience to learn more. Okay. Let's talk about anger. Here are some questions to get thinking about before we really dive in. One to you, does anger feel positive or negative? Does it use up a lot of energy? You spend a lot of time thinking about a particular topic, particular person who really angers you. Those are some things to start looking for when you're seeing whether or not anger shows up a lot for you and there's so much to be angry about in the world, right? It's totally possible to be angry all the time.
If we choose that feeling for ourselves, you can scroll through Facebook. You can go online and you can watch the news. But I got to tell you, anger is not the most resourceful of emotions because our emotions drive our actions. It's important to recognize our emotions. And so often we put emotions on the back burner, right? We think, okay, emotions don't really matter. I've got to step them down so I can get to work so I can get things done. And that's when we fall into this trap of using anger or allowing anger to use us is really the more accurate way of saying that. And driving through our work, not recognizing that we are really a wrecking ball in our lives when we're using or allowing to use us. So if we are in this place of anger, we're more likely to snap at people.
We're more likely to not get things done and spin in our heads. And we may feel powerful, but is the ocean of power. We are not really in control. It's really controlling us. So until we get our minds wrapped around anger, we're not able to become resourceful in our lives to create, to generate what we want. In our lives. So here is the trap that I'm talking about now, anger has two sides of the coin. So one side of this coin is about catalyzing action. Okay? It's a catalyst too. Help us determine what needs to change. So one event I love to refer to is the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King jr and how he initially used anger to catalyze a movement. But that movement couldn't be successful without the more open, compassionate, loving emotion that pushed him through the actions he needed to take in order to generate the result that he wanted.
He didn't generate all of the actions that formed the civil rights movement that pushed the civil rights movement to change laws and our nation from hate or from anger. He generated all of those actions from a place of love and compassion, and that was his message all along. So while he may have used that first side of the coin, anger to propel him forward simply because he recognize the injustice. He couldn't create the actions he needed to take without becoming conscious of where he was coming from in that movement, what emotions he needed to generate in order to take the actions he needed to do to create more inclusiveness, to bring awareness to people that wasn't generated from anger. Now the other side of that coin is anger as a chronic component of our lives. Anger as something that we reach for, for that illusion of control.
So anger is part of the sympathetic nervous system. It actually prepares us to fight as part of the fight, flight, or freeze response. Our reptilian brain activates. So when that part of our brain is activated, we release stress hormones and when we use those temporarily, good can come from that, right? We can save our lives, we can make a recognition that something needs to change. If we allow anger to control us and don't manage it, there's a prolonged chronic activation of those stress hormones in our body that lead to illness. And according to psychology today can destroy neurons and areas of the brain associated with judgment and short term memory. I want to give you a concrete example of where anger can show up in your life. I had a coaching call recently and my client was really angry with an employee for not meeting their expectations, and as we worked through our session, this client came to see that working from anger only led to results that she didn't want, right?
There was an emotion that generated her actions and the actions this client was generating came from an unresourceful emotion, anger. Now, anger might have initially indicated to them that there was something wrong and it needed to be addressed. But once you recognize that that's where the usefulness, the resourcefulness of anger ends, then you've got to shift into a more resourceful emotion. So what happens when you're working from anger? What kind of actions are generated when you're doing this? You're short with people. So you find yourself snapping at people maybe with or without a reason behind it. It could be that you're short with people in your close relationships. You may not even notice this is happening, or maybe you recognize it after the fact and feel really guilty about it. Start noticing when that happens. In this particular case, the client in a not too subtle way threatened this employee's livelihood when the result wasn't being met, when the expectations weren't being met.
That was a result of working from anger. Working from anger, also made it really difficult for this client to see that the employee needed something different from her to create the result that she wanted. This employee explained very clearly what their needs were, but the client wasn't responding to them. This client also couldn't see the value that that employee brought to the business. So there was a blind spot that there was no recognition in this area and it was also really interesting that this just shows us that our brain is constantly looking for confirmation of our thoughts. So when our brain is constantly looking for confirmation of our thoughts, it makes it really difficult to get out of those habit thoughts. So the reason that this client found it so difficult to see the good that this employee brought into the business and how they helped this business was because they were so locked into this idea that they didn't know what they were doing, that they weren't doing what they needed to do to get the job done.
Once we become locked into a thought, it becomes really difficult to pull ourselves out of it. And a lot of times we need help to do so. So once this client was able to see that there was a different way of looking at things, once I kind of poked and prodded, then we started to work backwards to generate the emotion that would help propel this business forward so that this client could reach their goals using this employee as a tool to reach those goals. Now what really spurs the actions you need to take to achieve your goal are things that you can get really clear on and you figure out how to get there. The problem with anger is that it's like working in a fog. It clouds our judgment. We can't see things objectively, so we really have to start working through our anger.
Start recognizing where it's showing up so that way we can get that bird's eye perspective of what's going on in our lives. So how can you get out of this fog and become more objective? The very first thing that we've already talked about this is just notice where is the showing up in your life? Where are you snapping at people? Where are you making assumptions and immediately becoming upset? Where are you finding that you are angry at people and situations in your lives? Just start noticing and when you recognize it, I want you to stop for just a moment in that moment and ask yourself, where is this feeling showing up in your body? Is your heart beating faster? Are you tense? Are you breathing more rapidly? Do you have more shallow breaths? I want you to get really used to what this feeling is in your body?
That way every time you have it in your body, you will be able to take a pause, take a beat and ask yourself, Hey, what's going on? And start creating those conscious shifts so that you can move away from this anger and find an emotion that is more resourceful for you to generate the results that you want in your life. So I want to talk to you about the client example I just talked to you about. So the second thing I want you to do when you notice this anger is that you've got to figure out what you need to generate the results that you want. I'm going to walk you step by step with that example I've already given you about the client and the employee situation. This client's goal was to generate income in their business using the employee as a helper, someone who can get them to their goal when they needed to.
And the client had to really generate these actions from that. They knew that they needed to begin contacting this employee more often to be able to give them what they needed to really start generating an emotion before they went into a conversation with this employees. So having like a little centering practice because there was a lot of anger that was directed at this employee, they recognized that scheduling was something that really needed to be done. Something that I would add in there is also systems. If the employee doesn't feel like there is a system for generating the result that the client wants, then they are more likely to drift off track. So when there are systems in place, that's something that is incredibly helpful, in fact, essential to get the employee working the way that you want them to work. Now, the feeling that needed to be generated in order to become the leader that this client needed to become for this employee was calm and for them calm was a feeling that tempered that anger that really brought them back to earth, made them feel more grounded so that when they communicated with this employee there was more connection because there was a disconnect between the client and the employee.
And so this was a way for them to become more connected. The other thing that we did to work backwards and what you can do is to work from that emotion and think about the thought that would generate that emotion. In this particular case, the client came back with, I can be the leader this employee needs. That is a thought that generated calm for this client. So this is something I want you to really think about. So here are the two steps. One, notice when anger is coming up and two, I think about, okay, practically how am I going to get the result that I want? What is the result I want? How am I going to get there? What emotion do I need to generate in order to create those actions in my life? And then what are the thoughts I need to think in order to create that emotion, you've got to begin working backwards.
When you do this, you're going to find that anger is not the emotion that is driving your actions. Anger is an emotion that actually freezes you in your tracks if you are using it in a constant way. If you are constantly reacting to anger, if you are constantly envelop in anger, you are going to stop your progress in its tracks. If you are simply using anger as a catalyst, as a way of recognizing when there's something wrong in your business or your life, that's one thing. That's something you can work with. But when you stay mired in it, you are going to have really painful results. You are not going to create what you want in your life and it's not going to feel good. Even just being angry. We have this illusion that it feels really good in our bodies, right? Like, yeah, we're getting something done.
We have this righteous anger at somebody or something. And that in itself feels like action. It's like this illusion of action. Like we're really doing something, but we're not. It's really just wasted energy and less. We are actually using that anger to catalyze results. So I want you to really see this difference in your life. It's gonna make a huge impact when you see it. And I really believe that so often lawyers become trapped in reacting to their emotions rather than noticing their emotions. And when you are constantly reacting to anger, you are going to be stuck in it. I want you to get out of the mire. I want you to see things from a bird's eye view. Get out of the fog and start seeing what's going on in your life. And the very first way you can do it when it comes to anger is just notice where it's showing up and if it's showing up with your partner, why?
If it's showing up with your employee, why start asking yourself questions and from there you can begin creating a game plan to move forward. All right, I hope that gave you something to think about, something to use in your life. I made it through this podcast. It has been multiple takes and I'm sure my editor will have edited out multiple things, multiple spaces in this podcast, but I wanted to make sure I got this out to you because this is such an important thing to begin recognizing and begin shifting in your life. Take care. I'll talk to you soon. Bye.
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