A Four-Letter Word

A Four-Letter Word

There are many four-letter words, some more socially acceptable than others. But the one I write about today is one we all know and one that shows up in a prominent way in February. To be exact, “love” is the focus on Valentine’s Day. Hallmark, along with the chocolate and floral industries, all look forward to February-the month of love. No doubt that many who waited until the last minute will be scrambling to get the right card or box of chocolates for their loved one.

An old management adage says, “Measure what matters.” But this presents a problem when it comes to love or other less measurable parts of our human psyche. Specifically, measuring emotions or feelings is about like trying to nail Jello to the wall. No one definition or scale could possibly fit something as diverse and personal as a feeling. Measuring feelings may be all but impossible, but we all know our feelings are real and are important.

Often in a mediation, I’ll hear one of the objective participants tell a party, “You need to ignore your feelings.” Or “The other side doesn’t care how you feel.” Or the one that amazes me most, “This is about numbers, not feelings.”

Management and Business Consultant Alan Weiss, Ph.D. would beg to differ. He offers, “Logic makes people think, emotion makes people act.” I’ve yet to be involved in a mediation where the “math” of the situation convinced anyone of why they should act. The numbers are always a part of that discussion, but at Prism Group, we start with where people are. We help all participants name, acknowledge and share their feelings. Then, by honoring one’s feelings, we explore options to create a better tomorrow and ultimately have different feelings than when one is engaged in conflict.

This February, we encourage you to give your feelings a try. We all have them, and they are virtually impossible to measure. But, oh, what a difference they make in our lives! Here’s to the month of love, a wonderfully diverse four-letter word!