Feelings: yes, we all have them, an abundance of them. Unchecked, they can bring a lot of problems to your pursuit of success, whether in your career, marriage, business, studies, walk with Christ, or any other area of life.

Some say that we are our feelings. But this is a dangerous and limiting way to think. If your feelings define you, if they’re the governing force in your behaviour, you have no option but to follow their lead. You may well end up doing something that torpedoes your chances of success, or doing nothing when success requires action.

Not following me? Perhaps an example will help. Say you’ve just signed up for a university course, feeling great about your decision to upgrade yourself and having every intention to give it your all and finish the course. But once you get started, your feelings change. You find you just don’t feel like studying or working on assignments this particular night, and you have a similar feeling the next night. And then the night or day after that you just don’t feel like attending classes. And so it goes. If you let your feelings determine your actions because they are you, what do you think will happen as far as completing your course?

Especially in our teen years, feelings are often unchecked and lead to quitting school because they are allowed to control actions. Later, the same thing happens with work: a person doesn’t feel like getting up in the morning, or doing work that seems hard or dull or complicated. Giving in to these feelings results in losing job after job. I know, because that’s what happened to me.

Some people never outgrow this tendency to let unchecked feelings control our behaviour, and consequently they continue to reap failure in so many areas of life. Thankfully, I learned not to give my feelings this kind of power, and then I was able to soar—in the workplace, in my marriage and family life, in my faith, and in my walk with Christ.

So how does one handle these feelings? I don’t feel Like it. I feel afraid. I feel hurt. I feel used. I feel angry. I feel like quitting. I feel I’m in over my head. I feel like giving up. I acknowledge these feelings and don’t try to deny them. Then I answer them: “Thank you, Feelings, for sharing your status with me, and now let me respond to you: I’m not quitting, I’m not giving up, and I’m going to be able to deal with the hurt or disappointment. I’ll handle the difficulties. AND now, you be quiet, as you’re a distraction.” And you know what? The feeling-voice shuts up and lets me go back to achieving.

So, instead of allowing your unchecked feelings to ride roughshod over your intentions and goals, have the discipline to accept your feelings without letting them control you. It’s not easy, though! And it takes fresh resolve every day. So if I were you, I’d ask God to help me, every day.