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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Part III - Emotional Management

Part III - Emotional Management

“I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray 

Case competitions can be very emotionally intense and stressful. Even after all the public speaking experience I've accumulated over the years, the moment before each presentation is still filled with anxiety. Not only that, but team discussions can become very emotionally charged as you challenge each other ideas and the pressure of time. I typically feel stressed at the beginning of the competition and it only continues to increase over the next few days. Learning how to handle your own emotions is a crucial part of ensuring that you perform at the level you need to win. 

Everyone has their own ways of dealing with emotions and I'll be sharing mine with you.

Repressing your emotions doesn't work

Research studies have shown that it not only doesn't work, but may even make the situation worse. They found that those who try to push away and suppressed their thoughts actually end up having more thoughts about it. What does that mean for you ? Well, that means that if you try to push away thoughts and feelings all it might do is make more trouble for yourself. In fact, it is possible that this is setting up a vicious cycle: You have a painful or stressful emotion. You try to push it away. This leads to more of the same emotion, which you try to push away, and so on. I've personally experienced this and it can make it really difficult to concentrate. How do you get past it you might ask ?

Embrace what you feel

Embracing and accepting your emotions for what they are without judging or trying to change them is what works for me. When I feel anxiety or stress I focus on embracing them through acceptance and letting go of attempts to control how it feels which helps alleviate it.  Acceptance simply means being aware of your emotions and accepting them for what they are right now. This is not an easy processes, because anxiety, stress and anger do not feel very good and our instincts tell us to avoid them. However, from my experience embracing them and letting the emotions run their natural course reduces it to a manageable level. When your in a case competition managing the emotions you feel is an important process.

Enforcing active listening when the group discussion gets intense

Arguments are a normal part of working together as a part of a team in a case competition. It can be a very helpful process but only if they remain constructive. What we did at times to help ensure that discussions stayed constructive was enforce active listening when it seemed that we were finding it difficult to come to an agreement. More often then not, our disagreements would arise from misunderstandings and not listening to each other. The process of active listening and getting others to re-summarize the points you make can help solve misunderstandings and reach agreements.


  1. If there is only one lesson that I can take from the countless things that Stevie Vu has taught me, it would have to be "Active Listening". It is absolutely the most important concept when working in a team; particularly in a team of hard-headed leaders, which is what working with Stevie Vu and Natasha Campbell is like. Who says that a team of leaders can't succeed if there are no followers?! The opposite is actually true, by partaking in "Active Listening" each leader is able to take on a role as not only a leader, but as a follower as well. After all I think that this is what truly makes a team of leaders extremely effective.

    Great post, Stevie

    1. Thanks and I feel the exact same way ! Working with you Larisa and Natasha has been a great experience and has taught me a lot. Every experience has been a wonderful memory that will last a life time.

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Stevie - I'm passing this along to my classes ...

    ... and congrats to you, Larisa & Natasha for all your wins!

    1. Let me know if they have any questions and I would more then happy to answer them !