Making difficult decisions can be an emotionally charged experience. Whether you’re hiring someone, firing someone, or reshuffling your team, the complexity of the decision can cause a range of emotions to surface, such as fear, anxiety, overwhelm, or excitement. However, these emotions can be harnessed to help you make better choices by using a technique called “emotional bookending.”
Emotional bookending involves identifying the decision you need to make and naming the exact emotion you’re feeling in response to it. By acknowledging and naming your emotions, you create a little space between your emotions and your actions. This space allows you to become more self-aware and better able to understand why you’re feeling the way you are.
Once you’ve named your emotions, the next step is to visualize how you might feel on the other side of the decision. Will you feel a sense of accomplishment or relief, or will there still be some anxiety there? This exercise allows you to project the emotions you’ll feel in the wake of your decision, which can help you untangle the discomfort you’re feeling in the face of it.
For example, let’s say you’re considering firing an employee who’s been with your company for years. You might feel a sense of guilt or sadness about letting them go. By emotional bookending, you can acknowledge these feelings and then visualize how you might feel on the other side of the decision. Perhaps you’ll feel a sense of relief that you’ve made the right choice for your company, or maybe you’ll feel a sense of sadness but also a sense of opportunity to find someone who’s a better fit for the role.
Emotional bookending is a powerful tool that can help you make better decisions. By identifying and naming your emotions, you create space between your emotions and your actions, allowing you to move forward with greater clarity and confidence.