At a recent dinner party, someone said, ‘Holding onto anger at another person is like you drinking poison and expecting them to die’. What a great metaphor, and so true.
Holding anger without a useful outlet can block your creativity, reduce your energy, and increase your stress—not a great recipe for leadership success.
If you find yourself holding onto anger, here are 3 ways to let it go and move on.
- Have a conversation that matters. Maybe the person doesn’t have any idea how you are responding to them. Susan Scott’s Fierce Conversations provides a framework.
- Question the assumptions you are making. It is highly likely that you are judging that person’s (external) behaviour. The (internal) intention driving the behaviour might not be what you think. Knowing their true intention may alter your views and reduce your anger. (Understanding and working with intentions is a major theme of my latest book Developing Direct Reports: Taking the guesswork out of leading leaders).
- Let it go. In the grand scheme of things, how important is the thing you are angry about? Perhaps it’s time to let it go and focus your energy on something that matters to you that will generate, not drain, energy. (If just deciding to let it go is too big a stretch for you, talk about your anger, perhaps in the form of a letter to that person and then burn or shred it.)
Why drink poison when there are so many great Australian wines you could try instead!
Have an Extraordinary day.