It’s Emotional – Flip the Feeling


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This is the fourth installment of the series “It’s Emotional – Creating an Unprecedented Team and Customer Experience.”

I have an unusual perspective when it comes to the emotional impact of this pandemic. My view is shaped by working as a licensed clinical psychologist early in my career and helping people deal with anxiety, depression, loneliness, and isolation. It’s also affected by the last 20-plus years of my career, where I’ve helped mostly Fortune 500 leaders create positive emotional bonds with their customers.

I share that context because I am about to say something outrageous and I hope you will stay with me.

Ok, here goes…  

I am convinced that the loneliness, anxiety, sadness, and loss of control emerging from the pandemic can be POSITIVE, but only if (and it’s a big IF) we learn lessons by flipping our feelings.

Each negative experience when flipped can teach us what is truly important.

  • Loneliness teaches us the importance of other people.
  • Anxiety teaches us what we fear losing.
  • Depression teaches us the importance of hope.

In a recent article for Psychology Today magazine, Dr. Jamie Aten notes that researchers reviewed studies on the:

“toll quarantine takes on people’s mental health. The authors note that psychological responses to quarantine are predominantly negative. Results from the analyzed studies show that the loss of liberty, fear of infection, and length of separation created an environment that often brought about post-traumatic stress, detachment, insomnia, and anger. These results were found among patients and medical workers, even months and years after prior quarantines.”

I’m not saying that COVID-19 isn’t having a tremendous toll not only on the loss of life but in emotional suffering. I am saying, however, that on the backside of each emotion is a lesson.

From a business perspective, here are a couple of lessons I am sharing with my clients:

  1. Your investments in effort-reducing and contactless technologies paid off during the pandemic, but emotions of isolation show us that technology alone can’t fully serve the emotional needs of your team members or customers.
  2. Losing control during the pandemic showed us the importance of giving customers as much control as we can operationally provide to them,
  3. The confusion many of us encountered with rapidly changing health guidelines helped us all appreciate the importance of transparently sharing the most accurate information possible with team members and customers.
  4. The sadness and despair many of us felt during quarantine offer insights as to why we should be purveyors of realistic hope.

As it relates to hope, I am cautiously optimistic about better treatments and a vaccine. I want to believe that this scourge will be wiped away for good. In the meantime, I suspect there will be many negative emotional experiences ahead and I personally will look to flip each to see the positive lessons that can be learned.

I’d love to talk to you about what you are learning from the negative emotional experiences you, your team, and your customers are experiencing and how you are leveraging those learnings to shape the way you will do business going forward. I can be reached here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Michelli, Ph.D.
Joseph Michelli, Ph.D., an organizational consultant and the chief experience officer of The Michelli Experience, authored The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and the best-selling The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary.


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