Moment Of Clarity

Emotional Success


Kelly was a 40 -year old executive. While her exemplary performance led to two promotions, she was terminated after her second promotion. Kelly struggled to forge substantive and positive relationships with her peers and staff because she was difficult to work with; often feeling ashamed and inadequate after interacting with her. After being terminated, she began wondering if in fact she had a problem and what role she played in her dismissal. Committed to strengthening her career and professional relationships, she entered psychotherapy. Her experience gave her a new and healthy perspective on relationships and herself.

Kelly’s scenario is real and could apply to anyone, at any age, in any company. It could be you or someone you’ve worked with. There are many reasons why people who perform well at one level have difficulties when they are promoted. Sometimes people are better team players than leaders, especially when they are now leading the team they once played on. The most difficult part of being promoted to a leadership position is maintaining supportive relationships and mutual respect. Interestingly enough, the core of what is necessary in maintaining positive relationships is not found in a textbook or leadership class. Instead, it is found in the emotional core of each individual.

The problem:

Kelly is: 1) confused about why people experience her as off-putting, 2) unsure what parts of her interaction are off-putting and 3) frustrated that she is continuously off-putting even after she changes her behavior.

The Goal:

Identify the reasons Kelly has difficulty interacting with others.

The Journey:

Kelly began exploring how she thinks about people, places and circumstances. This later became a lesson in learning how to sit with her deeper thoughts and feelings about her childhood. She sat in her thoughts and feelings as she remembered being belittled by her father when she brought home C’s as her mother quietly sat by and listened. She then allowed herself to feel inadequate and disappointed when her father’s dismissive attitude replaced the praise she longed for when she brought home A’s. This led to her ability to sit with the experience of feeling hurt and angry because although she felt happy for the success of others, she could not remember a time when someone was happy for her.

Later, Kelly began to feel the weight of her sadness and loss. It was in safely and fully experiencing her feelings that she could forgive and let go of the pain she experienced as a child and recreated at work. She came to understand the the feelings others felt after interacting with her were the same feelings she had after she interacted with her. She had been doing to others what her father did to her.

A New Beginning:

After connecting with her feelings and gaining a deeper understanding of how she offended others, Kelly tried engaging people again using what she learned in therapy. Things started off bumpy, but smoothed out quickly. She began to have a natural curiosity about the thoughts, concerns and ideas of others. Her responses accurately matched people’s disposition and she was able to have healthy, positive relationships with her family and colleagues.

Kelly’s journey was similar to the journey many people take in psychotherapy – full of emotion, reflection and release. While peoples’ journeys are similar to many others, it is uniquely different because it is their own.

Keys to Emotional Success

* Ask for and accept honest feedback from people you trust. Honest feedback is one of the most effective ways to obtain data about how people experience you and your behavior.

* Use credible self-assessments to help you better identify and understand your personality, behavior and mindset. Self-assessments can also help you better understand how people experience you and why.

* Identify a reputable psychotherapist with whom you feel comfortable working with. They can help you work through difficult situations by creating the mental space to process what you are experiencing.

* Do the work. Therapy is the hardest thing you can do for yourself, but it’s worth it. If you are committed to the process, you will learn how to face your fears, take responsibility for your life, and grow to new heights.

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!