October 29, 2019

75: Working with (or Being) Highly Sensitive People

Do you ever find yourself doing anything but what you should be? Are you highly creative, imaginative and loving? Does it ever seem like you’re too empathetic?

These are just a few characteristics of a highly sensitive person. Note: Being highly sensitive is not the same as being highly emotional. HSPs are more attuned to the world around them due to how their brain is wired. As you’ll soon learn, there are pros and cons to this ability.

Heather Dominick is the founder and leader of the Highly Sensitive Entrepreneur® movement. She has helped thousands of HSE®s release life-long limiting beliefs, overcome fears and learn how to build their business in a way that actually feels so good that they can’t help but create solid, sustainable, high level financial success.

Although Heather’s work has been primarily focused on entrepreneurs, the lessons and insights are relevant to managers and their direct reports, too. Heather and I talk about what it is to be a highly sensitive person, the shadows and strengths of HSEs, how to move from coping mechanisms to healthy behaviors, and how to identify if your colleague may be highly sensitive.

Read the related blog article: Embracing Your Strengths as a Highly Sensitive Manager

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  • 15-20% of the population is highly sensitive. This means their nervous system is wired to take in more information through their 5 senses.
  • There are 12 common strengths of highly sensitive entrepreneurs. Each of these strengths has a shadow for when it’s overused and starts to inhibit the individual.
  • HSEs often use coping mechanisms to help them avoid feelings of stress and overwhelm. For example, some will busy themselves with other seemingly meaningful tasks (but which actually don’t move the work forward) while others will over-invest in getting the work done, burning themselves out in the process.
  • HSEs have a strength of empathy with a shadow of over-responsibility. It’s powerful to be highly attuned to the feelings and experiences of others, but not healthy to always feel responsible for those feelings and experiences.
  • HSEs have a strength of creativity with a shadow of overwhelm. It’s powerful to have lots of ideas to pursue, but not healthy to avoid the work or burnout because of all the details and workload.
  • Step one is to recognize if you and/or a colleague is highly sensitive. Then you can start to notice what triggers you and what coping mechanisms you typically turn to.
  • Self reflection is critical. Regularly assess how you’re doing and develop tactical plans for how to work or behave differently next time.



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