Impulse Control: A Key To Creating Deeper Connections
A few years ago, a client after taking an EQ assessment asked for help with his impulse control. He had realized that he was constantly interrupting his managers during their weekly meetings, and he wanted to change that.
During his next meeting, he wrote down everything he wanted to say. He wouldn’t say anything; he’d just write it down. At the end of that meeting, he had a list of 17 things he had wanted to say! Only one item hadn’t been addressed. After the meeting, three of his managers came up to him separately and said it was the most productive meeting they’d ever had. That is very powerful.
As my client’s experience demonstrates, impulse control allows you to create a deeper connection with people. It shows that you are listening and paying attention – and people appreciate being heard. Yes, it is very hard to delay doing or saying something, but the benefits can be far-reaching.
Before we go further, let’s look at what low and high impulse control mean.
A person with low impulse control is:
- Unable to filter reactions or delay behavioral wants and desires
- Overly talkative
- Quick to anger – and maybe even explosive
- Viewed as acting with great haste and possibly buys things they don’t want or need because they act on impulse
A person with high impulse control:
- Thinks through what they’re going to say to the point that the meeting ends and they haven’t spoken up yet
- Can be viewed as emotionally detached
- Can be hard to develop connections with
We’re looking for a balance between the two. You can delay your impulses, but you don’t delay them forever. Instead, you delay until someone else finishes talking, and then you speak up.
In my experience these are the four most effective ways to improve impulse control:
Write it down
Write down everything you want to say instead of saying it – just like my client did.
Count to ten before you react
This allows you to come back into the moment, while also delaying your impulse.
Create a “delay” rule
When you’re really upset or frustrated about something, create a rule that says you cannot act on it for 24 hours. For example, you can write the hostle email, but you can’t send it until the next day. This allows time for reflection.
Commit to expressing your thoughts
If you have too much impulse control, it can be hard to speak up. When you have an important meeting coming up, write down your thoughts and ideas. Commit to sharing one of those thoughts – or two out of the eight.
How can you start improving your impulse control today? Would anyone on your team benefit from learning more about impulse control? Contact us to learn more about our three-hour workshops.
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