My tank is almost empty, I should fill up urgently

The fuel gauge, which lights up or flashes, clearly indicates when a car is running low on fuel or battery. This is when we react at the latest, because very few people want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere because of an empty petrol tank. Instead of where we wanted to go.

Rationale alone is not enough

We also need strength and energy to keep going in our everyday lives. Interestingly, we are very reactive when it comes to our energy tank. There are often warning signs long beforehand, but they are suppressed, pushed aside and paid little attention to.

The consequences of ignoring them are enormous, as they can have serious consequences for our mental and physical health. This ranges from physical symptoms such as tension, pain or health problems to the inability to react appropriately to interpersonal situations, communication problems and conflicts, as it is difficult to address needs clearly.

Why do we sometimes find it so difficult to recognise inner signs and take them seriously?

Feelings have no place in the workplace?

A manager recently said to me during the coaching session: ‘Feelings have no place in the workplace! Interesting, where did this person leave them? Why shouldn’t feelings play a role in the business world? This kind of self-sabotage by ignoring feelings and bodily sensations seems to be widespread. In the coaching work in particular, there are many people who struggle with feelings such as anger, powerlessness or rage, but find it difficult to recognise them and first need to hone this ability and focus.

And I can understand that very well. I can still remember exactly when I was very successful in one of my professional positions (as seen from the outside), but the environment was emptying my tank more and more and I was suppressing feelings and physical signs. The job itself was exciting, but the surroundings was extremely draining and energy-sapping. According to the motto: the most creative person fails in an uncreative environment. When asked by those closest to me why I never said anything after switching to a new professional challenge, I replied, surprised at myself: ‘Because I simply didn’t realise how crazy the whole thing was.’

The unrecognised power of the emotional

In view of the increasing pressures of modern life, stress management and resilience techniques are moving centre stage. It is not enough to focus only on the outside. The ability to pay attention to the inner world is a skill that is often overlooked. If you ignore the inner world and don’t feel yourself, you will realise the power of the emotions and pay a high price.

A headache tablet alone is not enough

We are spoilt by images that suggest that everything is easy, quick and effortless. But it takes willingness, investment of time and courage for change to confront this inner area. If we turn to the world of emotions and bodily feelings, accept and pay attention to them, then undreamt-of potential is uncovered.

The benefits are enormous:

  • More serenity to cope with stress and challenges,
  • perceived relief,
  • learning new skills in dealing with oneself and others, which enables progress,
  • constructive and effective co-operation, which saves nerves and time,
  • the experience of inner security and
  • less dependence of one’s own well-being on external circumstances.

And if I personally am more resilient, then the resilience in the organisation is also optimised, because if there are fewer crumbs when working together, then not only the individual saves time, money and nerves.

Anger is the best teacher

What to do if this world of the unconscious is frightening and you don’t dare to face the emotional or the unknown? How do we start or get further into the depths if the will to learn is there and the benefits of paying attention to emotions are recognised?

Then it helps to turn to the dominant emotions. Important steps towards integrating the inner world are to consciously recognise and accept feelings such as dissatisfaction, anger, fear of loss or sadness. Accepting these feelings as teachers on the path. Realising how you are actually feeling in different areas of your life and then moving forward with curiosity step by step. This is where the Painpoint Check helps to provide comprehensive orientation when I want to pause to recognise where there may be sand in the gears.

Paths to more resilience

An exciting journey can lie ahead of me once I have recognised my pain points. Because there are always problems, but there are also solutions. In order not to be alone with your thoughts and feelings, it is worth seeking personal support in the form of experts such as coaches, psychologists or therapists. But it is also worth using digital tools to help you take the first step at your own pace, whether with guided meditations or tools such as the Goal-Finder or Conflict-Facilitator.

So: Recognise pain points – get support – make progress with techniques – use the potential for mental strength

Author’s profile

Dr. Gabriele Lang is Managing Director of UP’N’CHANGE GmbH, a solution provider for digital learning- and development tools. The founder of one of Austria’s most influential consulting start-ups (EU Startup News, 2024), develops digital and hybrid solutions with her team to support people and organisations in their development and make them fit for the future. The pioneer, with a doctorate in psychology sees digital formats as a sustainable way to strengthen emotional skills and thus increase resilience, collaboration and creativity.