by Tracey Paleo
With Halloween sold out everywhere, Thanksgiving sentiments on the shelves and hints of Christmas and Hanukkah wafting through the minds of early season bargain hunters, it’s clear that the holidays are upon us.
And, oh what jocund cheer! Running around town every Saturday and Sunday off from a 50 hour work week; blazing through aisles and catalogs; draining the savings accounts; misplacing and last minute replacing of credit cards, check books and cash you just withdrew from the nearest teller; fighting road conditions on freeways that mask the swan song of local traffic jams on the way to every mall destination, to be finally met by the possibility of a $68 street ticket because there aren’t any more parking spaces in the free lot. And wait? I have to go back? I didn’t get the right one; the right size; the right color? My girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, sister, daughter, son, mother, father, employer wanted that one? [S*@#]! It’s on backorder. Do they still give Rain Checks here? Why can’t I just get this on the website?
Bursting a blood vessel yet?
Let’s admit it. Mostly, we’ve all come to somewhat sarcastically distinguish October 31st through January 1st as the furthest thing from the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
Every season each of us heads into the final months of the calendar with a certain expectation of dread. We make promises to ourselves and swear that it will be normal. It will be happy. There will be more time for family and friends. We will actually celebrate. Airline travel arrangements will be made earlier. We will not have pay “those” prices, and there will be three seats, together. There will be tickets left for the show that I and my spouse and my kids want to see, by the time I get paid. There will be no crying!
There will be no fight to the death with the person who cut me off screeching into the last parking space I had been waiting patiently for. The parties will be smaller; the cleanup more manageable. There will be less presents under the tree. There will be no succumbing to the advertising induced mania. Everything we want will be purchased online and arrive unbroken, batteries included, with exquisitely simple directions to use, and on the date specified by the manufacturer or retail fulfillment house. I will NOT have to “Like” 55 Facebook pages or make a dangerous cell phone call while driving in my car just to enter the iPad contest. Nothing will be done last minute. It WILL be fun, darnnit! And I will not explode!
If the thought of your head swiveling around well past October costume expiration dates or the price of a quick fix massage, to keep you from “losing it” has you down. Don’t worry. You are not alone. Managing emotions during normal stress is already tough enough. Under extreme conditions it can be pretty impossible. Or so I thought. And then I met Jeff …
Anyone who had been following the out of control coaster ride called Charlie Sheen (that would probably be 99.9% of us unless you live in a cave) stayed glued to the continuously erupting story as his new FX sitcom “Anger Management” based loosely on the 2003 feature and his public meltdown and firing from Warner Bros. “Two and a Half Men,” was picked up for 90 episodes; a back order of whopping proportions! And with a cable history record setting 5.4 million viewers for it’s premiere back in June, it seemed clear that managing all that ugly spitfire was something that most people not only related to, but contended with and possibly expressed on a regular basis. Watching Charlie mouth off publicly gave us justification as to why we couldn’t or wouldn’t figure out better ways to handle our own emotional selves. But now that its viewership has taken a downward turn perhaps we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. All of that pissed off, might just be going nowhere, and maybe a good sign that we’re ready to do something about it.
When I met President and Founder of Creative Anger Management Solutions, Inc., Jeff Feldman, it was one of those days where I myself was stuck in the middle of all of those statistics; stressed out at getting to the location on time; annoyed that I might have to park at the not so free, Beverly Center and backtrack through pedestrian traffic and street crossings to the local Coffee Bean on 3rd & La Cienega; sweating and trying to be “presentable” on an unusually humid Los Angeles day.
As it turned out, my anxiety was all for nothing. Who sat with me, was one of the sweetest, most intelligent, interesting men I had ever met. The “calm” of Jeff has an instantaneous soothing effect. There’s no push-pull. And for that reason alone, it was easy to just converse, “do coffee” and discover the true path of Emotional Intelligence.
So why is it that we get stuck automatically going to the extreme end of anger when tensions get high? Does that make us stupid? No, according to Jeff. People just need better skills to deal with it. They need to understand themselves, their decisions, available choices and that anger is not necessarily a bad thing. Getting angry is normal. Denying that is ridiculous. But handling it is sometime difficult. And that’s where Jeff comes in. Having been used to working with petty criminals to lawyers with violent tempers, to corporate management employees frustrated with impossible work situations, Jeff has dealt with a full spectrum of agitation. One would suppose that coaching all of these personalities would be as complicated and a spider web, but Jeff’s rule is simple. Think and pull back.
One of Jeff’s secret weapons might be compassion derived from the extraordinary life experience of being a severe stutterer as a child all the way past college. At 3 years old his mother was told that he would never be able to “speak for himself.” He would never carry on a conversation and never be understood by anyone.
After a crying jag that lasted three days, Jeff says, “My mother got out of bed and said, “F” it! She wasn’t going to accept this. I was going to speak. So she put me on a non-stop daily ritual of hard core speech therapy until when in my late teenage years, I finally took it over as a self-discipline. By the time I got to college, I had even invented new techniques for myself. I learned to think very quickly. I had to figure out how to replace words that I couldn’t say in the moment, with words I could actually pronounce out of my mouth, so that I could get my sentences across. Out of necessity, I became pretty lightening fast about it. The stuttering was still there, but I learned to communicate better and effectively in order to get around it.”
Adding to the arsenal is Jeff’s expertise in social media, marketing, sales management and branding, having founded and/or developed or consulted with other companies such as SelfPitch Media Group, Sprint, AT&T and Cisco, all dedicated to understanding and creating relationships of some sort.
In the grand scheme of things you could say that the skill of Communication is Jeff’s personal denouement brought about by practical self-evolution. Overcoming something difficult by thinking, organizing, focus and practice; translating that skill into coaching others into a better, happier, even more sane way of living and relating.
On September 4th, 2012 Jeff posted on his own Facebook page: The increase in people quietly seeking Emotional Intelligence Coaching for Impulse Control/Anger Management has risen exponentially in the last few years. Since Emotional Intelligence Coaching does not have any stigmas attached, it has no negatives.
Well that’s certainly good news. I just hope that on the road to recovery, I make it through all of the traffic!