Master your emotions with the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique
Most of us go to work with one main goal in mind—to have a positive impact on the world.
However, despite our best efforts, there are natural tensions that arise when you throw other people into the mix.
As human beings with different perspectives, needs, and values, we inevitably rub each other the wrong way at times. And this can lead to disagreements or worse… the dreaded c-word: conflict.
Perhaps you can relate?
Maybe you’ve had a tense interaction with a colleague or received unhelpful negative feedback from your boss. These experiences can surface strong emotions within us. And it can be hard to process them at work.
Maybe you’ve tried to ignore your emotions, hoping that they’d disappear on their own, but they haven’t. If you’re like me, you might even be wondering how everyone can go about their business so easily while you’re still feeling unsettled.
You want to move forward, but those pesky emotions keep popping up at the most inopportune times, like unexpected speed bumps on the highway.
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.
As someone who identifies as highly sensitive, I can relate. I’m an HSP (highly sensitive person), and what this means is that I feel my own emotions and the emotions of others deeply. This trait is accompanied by many gifts that have helped me in my career as a coach, facilitator, and mediator.
However, when I first entered the workforce, I found it incredibly challenging to navigate the ins and outs of my own emotions in the workplace.
I felt lost for many years until I discovered mindset techniques to help me embrace my emotions instead of pushing them away. These techniques have enabled me to become more calm, strong, and clear during difficult times at work. And now, I get to accompany coaching clients on similar journeys of self-discovery.
Today I’m going to share one of my favourite mindset techniques with you, the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique.
What is the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique?
The Curious Voyager Mindset Technique is a tool you can use when you feel like something at work is throwing you off your game. The technique is designed to help you regain your sense of serenity so that you can get back to lighting up the world as your fabulous self.
Most importantly, it doesn’t mean denying or suppressing your emotions.
On the contrary, this technique invites you to remain in touch with them from two essential perspectives—up close and at a distance.
It’s kind of like writing a good article.
We need to meticulously select the words for each sentence to ensure that we convey our intended meaning. And, we also need to take a step back and assess the overall structure and flow of the piece.
Embracing this dual perspective allows us to create a genuinely compelling article.
The same principles apply to navigating challenging situations at work. We need to get up close to feel the nuances of our emotions, and we also need to gain some distance to see the bigger picture. This dynamic interplay of perspectives is what enables us to come up with the best path forward.
Anyone can benefit from the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique. I’ll take you through how it works in a moment.
But first, let’s explore why paying to your mindset is so important.
Why Is Mindset So Important?
We often blunder through challenging moments at work, hurting ourselves and others in the process.
However, when we take the time to slow down and consciously attend to our emotions, we can process them effectively. This helps us approach the situation with a more clear and confident state of mind.
When we feel a greater sense of inner peace, our actions are more aligned with our true selves. And the solutions we create are more sustainable. One of the best things about the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique is that it allows us to shift our mindset in the moment.
In other words, you won’t have to spend as many sleepless nights vacillating between blame and shame as you wonder what you could have done better in a difficult situation at work.
Been there, done that (got the t-shirt)… not interested in returning any time soon.
How the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique Works
If the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique sounds strange, I get it.
As a coach, many clients come to me seeking “concrete strategies” to help them deal with workplace issues, not “mindset techniques.”
Strategies are essential, but they’re not the first step.
You might have heard the expression, “Mindset eats strategy for breakfast.” This old saying holds a lot of truth. While strategies are needed, mindset is the bedrock upon which they are built.
Just like a sturdy foundation supports a house, your mindset shapes how you engage during difficult moments at work.
So without further ado, I put together a 3-step process below to break it all down for you so that you can easily get started with testing out the technique for yourself.
Let’s dive in!
Step 1 – Stop Trying to Be Somewhere Else (Emotionally-Speaking)
When faced with difficult situations at work, our instinct is to try and escape the discomfort we feel.
We might attempt to rationalize our emotions, thinking that if we can talk ourselves out of feeling the way that we feel, everything will be just fine. Unfortunately, this approach short-circuits our ability to truly process and release emotions. Instead of dissipating, it makes our emotions linger and fester beneath the surface.
So, how can we process our emotions so that we don’t feel like we’re drowning in them?
Jill Bolte Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight sheds some light on this for us. She shared the powerful 90-second rule—when we react to something in our environment, a 90-second chemical process unfolds in our bodies. Any emotional response that lasts beyond these 90 seconds is a result of our conscious choice to stay in that emotional loop.
When we wait 90 seconds before responding to a challenging situation at work, we allow the surge of stress hormones to flow through us and, most importantly, subside.
Understanding this was a complete game-changer for me.
I eventually realized that “fighting” against our emotions is one of the main things that makes us stay stuck in an emotional loop longer than needed.
So, the first crucial step in this process is to sit with your uncomfortable emotions for 90 seconds… without resistance.
This step sounds simple, but it can be challenging, and it requires practice.
So how does it work?
If anger has surfaced for you, for example, give yourself the time and space to fully experience it without judgment or reaction.
Just let it be. It’s all part of the process.
The way that I practice this step is to focus on the physical sensations in my body. With anger, I often feel it all over. It moves, is hot, and usually emanates from my gut. Your brain will want to pull you in a million different directions, so giving it something specific to focus on can help you stay on track.
Step 1 is about allowing yourself to feel your emotions “up close.” This helps you slowly move towards being able to view the whole situation and yourself from a distance.
The only way out is through.
Step 2 – Let Your Emotions Move Through You
Now that you’ve given yourself permission to fully feel your emotions, it’s time to take the next step—getting them out of your system.
This is a crucial part of the process.
As the famous poet Rumi has said much more eloquently, emotions are like guests in your house. They come and go. But if you don’t let them out, they might overstay their welcome.
There are many different ways to release emotions. And one effective technique that I often use is drawing. If you try this out, remember it’s not about creating a masterpiece. It’s about visualizing your thoughts and emotions.
Drawing allows you to take what’s going on inside of you and translate it onto paper. You can draw your emotions, the situation that you’re struggling with, what you desire, and even what you think the other person involved might be feeling and wanting.
It’s best to approach this activity intuitively. Don’t overthink it.
This visual exercise can help you bridge the gap between being close to the situation and viewing it at a distance.
But remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here—drawing is just one option.
Some people prefer walking, practicing yoga, going to the gym, or having a heart-to-heart conversation with a trusted friend. The key is to find a way that works for you, keeping in mind that the ultimate goal in Step 2 is to get these emotions out of your system.
And just for the record, walking is truly some of the best “therapy” I’ve ever received.
Step 3 – Test Out the Curious Voyager Mindset
Now that you’ve given yourself the freedom to experience and release your emotions, it’s time to put on the hat of a curious voyager and survey the territory (i.e., the situation) from a distance.
This mindset isn’t a permanent identity. Think of it more like a jacket that you’re trying on for size.
The curious voyager mindset is all about becoming an explorer of your own life at work, especially in challenging situations. It’s a lens through which you can observe, experiment, and learn.
It involves not taking everything at face value and being open to discovering something new.
Let’s take a look at an example that compares the curious voyager mindset to an overly positive and overly negative mindset to flesh out this step. The latter perspectives are ones that we may unconsciously adopt if we haven’t allowed ourselves to process our emotions (i.e., by going through Steps 1 and 2).
So, say your coworker says something upsetting to you during a meeting.
An overly positive mindset might lead you to sweep it under the rug, pretending it’s not an issue. On the other hand, an overly negative mindset could cause you to spiral into blame or shame—blaming them for undermining you or shaming yourself for not speaking up in the moment.
Let’s pretend that you’ve done the work with your emotions in Steps 1 and 2. As such, you’re in an excellent position to try on the curious voyager mindset.
This mindset encourages you to step back and view the situation with a bit of emotional distance. It invites you to explore thought-provoking questions that will help you generate new insights.
Here are some questions you might ask yourself:
- What can I learn from my own reaction?
- What might have been going on for the other person?
- What external factors played a role in the situation?
As a curious voyager, you’re not rushing to conclusions or judgments. Instead, you’re embarking on a journey of understanding and self-discovery. This mindset empowers you to gain insight from a broader perspective and ultimately find a path forward that may not be apparent to you initially.
Just as you sit with your emotions for 90 seconds in Step 1, you can sit with the curious voyager mindset for short periods as you reflect on your next move.
Clarity will ultimately emerge.
Do you have the patience to wait Till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving Till the right action arises by itself? ― Lao Tzu
This usually happens when you keep landing on the same path forward. And when you feel an internal resonance with this path in your body.
In our scenario, you might decide to chat with your colleague and set a boundary with them, or perhaps you’ll choose to let it go and address the behaviour if it happens again. There’s no right or wrong way forward here.
What’s most important is that your next step feels like the best one for you.
Tips for Success
Still feeling a little “iffy” about the Curious Voyager Mindset Technique?
Not to worry, I’ve got a few more tips to get you started.
Tip 1: Allow Yourself to Fail at Step 1
Emotions tend to run in groups.
You may feel a mixture of sadness, despair, and frustration about a situation at work. Beyond this, we sometimes have emotions about our emotions. For example, you may feel disappointed in yourself for still being angry about a situation at work.
This can make Step 1 tricky because it’s challenging to focus on how you feel when you have so many emotions going on at the same time.
To really nail Step 1, take the time to tease apart your initial emotions and focus on those ones first.
Allow yourself to do this imperfectly until you get the hang of it.
Tip 2: Actually Implement Step 2
I know, I know. I wish that this was a 1-step process too. Wouldn’t that be so much easier?
When you skip Step 2, you don’t truly create the bridge needed to get to the curious voyager within you (i.e., Step 3).
Step 2 is what allows you to go from feeling your emotions up close to observing them (and the situation) from a distance. We need both of these vantage points, as this allows us to craft the best path forward for ourselves.
Plus, who wouldn’t benefit from a little walk?
Tip 3: Take Your Time With Step 3
We’re all about quick solutions these days.
But with this tendency, we’ve lost some of the benefits of deep reflection, like increased clarity, authentic empowerment, and meaningful personal growth.
If you want to discover the path forward that will allow you to sleep well at night and even feel proud of how you handled the situation, then take your time with this crucial step.
The great thing about Step 3 is that you can tailor it to your specific situation. I’ve given you a few questions that you can use above, but they might not be the questions that you need most. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself thought-provoking questions that are different. What’s vital here is that you allow yourself to gain some perspective, learn something new, and get to the core of the issues.
When in doubt, reach out to a trusted friend, mentor, or coach for help with this step.
Start Practicing Today
I hope you found this article on managing your own strong emotions at work helpful.
If you take just one thing away from it, remember that your emotions are a natural part of your experience in the workplace. Embrace them and work with them.
The Curious Voyager Mindset Technique is one way of approaching workplace challenges. It allows you to feel your emotions up close while also maintaining a sense of distance and perspective. By exploring both of these vantage points, you can foster a deeper understanding of yourself and the situation at hand.
Ultimately, this will help you respond in a way that’s aligned with your true self.
I wish you safe travels as you journey through the ups and downs of life at work. May you find ways to navigate the rocky terrain you encounter while honouring who you are so that we can all benefit from the light you bring to this world!
If you’d like to learn more about the curious voyager mindset, grab my FREE download: The Sensitive Woman’s Guide to Career Brilliance—Your 5-step roadmap to shine.
The images in this article were created by the author with ❤️ using SketchWow.