Hello, I'm Carol Ross.
I spent nearly two decades in large companies, working as an engineer, first in nuclear power and then in telecommunications. As a young engineer, I was eager to show that I was competent--that I could think through hard problems, execute on plans, and meet deadlines. I thought that if I was just smart enough and worked hard enough, I would be successful (whatever that means).
What I didn’t anticipate was the importance of “soft skills” at work.
The intellect could only take me so far. Instead of solely relying on my head, I needed to also use my heart.
My journey to becoming Emotionally Fit has been humbling. Stuffing down emotions was my way of trying to stay safe for decades. It was an illusion at best. And, at its worst? Incredibly damaging to my mind, body and spirit.
In my thirties, therapy helped me recognize that I even had emotions. But it wasn’t until I burned out in 2011, and completely disconnected from the emotion of joy, that I understood the role of emotions in being fully alive and human. I vowed to break my old pattern of hustling for my worth through what I produced. That pattern of behavior never got me what I wanted.
Instead, I started to place importance on how I felt. Not just the “good” emotions, like thrill and hope, but also the ones typically labeled as negative--anger, despair, hurt, loneliness, even hatred. The range of emotions I allowed myself to feel determined my resilience to life’s challenges. I discovered a profound truth:
Emotions are my birthright.
I don’t have to rationalize or justify my emotions. They are the breadcrumbs back to myself. When I dismiss, marginalize, or ignore my emotions, I cut off a part of myself. Fully feeling and expressing my emotions, for myself only, was the path back to wholeness.
Today, helping leaders reclaim parts of themselves and walk the path back to wholeness is a privilege, as well as a joy. The bigger reward is seeing how these leaders shift workplace culture--from a painful and constricting culture of domination and control to a thriving culture of partnership and collaboration.