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Stepping into Emotional Leadership

Bevin Niemann-Cortez
4 min readJul 24, 2017


Each month, I choose a particular workshop topic to present for the Meetup community I founded for highly sensitive people. After four years, I’ve noticed a pattern. Whatever topic I’m presenting on seems to show up very strongly in my life — so I have a direct experience to share with workshop participants. If you’re counting, yes indeed that’s around 38 different life lessons I’ve deliberately taken on. Whew!

This month’s topic? Emotional Leadership.

I first heard this particular phrase in June when attending a talk for highly sensitive people by Elaine Aron, Ph.D., the psychologist who conducted the original research on the biological trait of sensory processing sensitivity. A woman in the audience was sharing a story about her sensitive child and began apologizing for her tears.

Elaine’s response fundamentally shifted something inside me, ‘Our world needs deep feelers, it’s fine, what you’re doing is demonstrating Emotional Leadership.’


Over the years, honestly I’ve experienced a love-hate relationship with my feelings. As a young child, I was very expressive, letting it all hang out. Over time though, social experiences taught me just how uncomfortable some people are with the open expression of feelings.

As I look back on my emotional life, I realized I’ve cried at work in front of my supervisor and my coworkers (more than once). I’ve gotten angry, I’ve danced with joy, for a while I even completely shut down the external expression of my emotions. (It‘s never been possible to turn off my emotions internally, for which I am grateful).

For my ‘experiment’ on emotional leadership, I decided to create an emotions journal: logging an entire day every feeling, subtle or strong that I experienced.

Journal Entry 1:
This morning, I was extremely frustrated about a situation that had been escalating, got spitting mad and even yelled at a group of my coworkers about it. Shame and guilt followed, my inner critic telling me I should have handled that differently. After some contemplation, I concluded it was okay to be angry! I was setting a healthy boundary and I didn’t hurt anyone with my words. I now have a choice: let it ruin the rest of my day or let it go. Breathe and allow the blood pressure to slow to normal.

Anger accepted, acknowledged and released.

Journal Entry 2:
One hour later, the curiosity of meeting a new client, getting to know her on a personal level. Laughing and talking, sharing our commonalities. Quite simply being present with another amazing human being.

Entry 3:
Singing along to one of my favorite musicians while driving my car. Doesn’t matter if I sing on tune, I feel powerful!

Entry 4:
Later in the evening, I experienced ‘movie grief’ when I thought the main character in a sci-fi flick died. And a few minutes later, intense relief when he came back to life and a loving, romantic flush when he married the girl.

Guess what? I survived the emotional rollercoaster for one day. Actually, I’ve survived every emotion every day for 44 years. I’m still here and I’m actually happier than any other time in my life! More present, more in tune with who I am than ever before.

How do I define Emotional Leadership?
Privately and publicly honoring whatever emotions arise, thereby holding space for others to honor their emotions as well.

What if we no longer had to hide our feelings?
What if we could embrace the emotional rollercoaster that is life?
What might be possible if we stepped forward into Emotional Leadership?

Powerfully Sensitive Coaching
I invite you to close your eyes and stand firmly where you are right now.
Breathe into that part of you that knows you’re already Powerfully Sensitive.
Envision what’s possible if you connect with your personal power every day.

I invite you to join me for a year-long journey to discover your personal power. Through 26 customized, individual coaching sessions, we partner to rewrite your story. In addition, 12 group coaching sessions connect you with other sensitive people traversing a similar path. Followed by the capstone experience, Create Your Own Soul Retreat.

My client Terrie speaks about the sharing and growth that takes place during our group calls:

‘Participating in your online group coaching has helped to dissipate my sense of isolation. The reason I mention this is twofold. One, I’ve been able to interact in a community of other sensitive souls, hearing and seeing real people who are on the same journey as me. And, two, hearing another person’s use of tools (in their toolbox) helps me. Hearing it as part of their story and experience, and not as advice comes in handy, too.’

Apply for a complimentary coaching session



Bevin Niemann-Cortez