“Impulse control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and involves avoiding rash behaviors and decision making.”
Impulse Control impacts every other emotional intelligence skill and is frequently a skill that I work on with my behavioral change coaching clients. This is a skill that can be improved upon and the benefits of improving this particular skill are almost endless.
A Hospital Visit
Since being trained and certified to coach around the topic of emotional intelligence, I can honestly tell you that having this knowledge, working on my own emotional intelligence and coaching others on the topic has changed my life.
Yesterday I had to leave the office early to get to an appointment at the hospital. I was headed there for a significant test. I arrived at the radiology office early as I was asked to do. I waited for my turn to be checked in. When I sat down in front of the person who had the power to check me in, she told me that my test had not yet been approved by the insurance company.
Hold on. They called me to set up the appointment because the insurance company had approved the test. I left my office in the middle of the afternoon to get to this appointment that was 50 minutes away from my office. Now I’m supposed to reschedule?
React or Respond?
At this moment, I had an opportunity to react to the situation and lose control of my patience or I could choose to respond. I responded with calmness and kindness and didn't let myself react to the situation in anger even though I had a very good reason to be angry.
Having experienced the hospital setting before, I already knew that I'd get a lot further with kindness and smiles than I would be expressing the way I was really feeling.
I took a deep breath and in the most polite and calm way I knew how, I asked the admissions person if there might be a chance that she could call the cardiologist’s office to determine the root cause of this challenge. She smiled at me with one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen in my life and agreed to help me.
She gave me the option of leaving and rescheduling. Again, in the most calm tone and the most polite manner I could use, I asked what would guarantee that my test would be approved by the insurance company if I were to reschedule and go through the same motions a second time. She didn’t have a good answer.
The admissions person led me to the scheduling person in the back of the office. Now I was standing in front of the person who I sensed ran the office. She got on the phone with my cardiologist’s office and refused on my behalf to take “no” for an answer. I got this special treatment because I said “please” and “thank you” at least a dozen times in 30 minutes and I treated everyone I encountered in the radiology check-in office with respect.
I Got To Win Twice Yesterday!
For a second time, I returned to the waiting area and kept calm. Approximately 10 minutes later, the admissions person with the beautiful smile sat down beside me and told me she would be taking me down the hall to get closer to the CT machine. I was now 50 minutes beyond my scheduled appointment time but I didn’t have to reschedule.
I’m 100% human. Therefore, I don’t always exercise perfect Impulse Control. However, yesterday afternoon I nailed it and my reward was a completed hospital test that really needed to be done yesterday.
My bigger reward came 4 hours later when the puck dropped and my Red Hockey Team recorded a hockey win for the evening. Yesterday was a winning day all around.