If you would like to try our free EQ assessment, we’ll send you a free link until 2/15/2020. The Emotional Quotient™ (EQ) report looks at a person's emotional intelligence, and was designed to provide insight into two broad areas: Self and Others.Contact Shawna.Moser@moserit.com
Here’s the problem when you try to ignore negative stimulus: imagine that you are on your way to work, you are already worried about the weather and the work you have to get done today and every little thing that you see is interpreted as ‘wrong and unfair’ – the traffic is bad, your parking space is blocked, the coffee is out, and BOOM – you are in a negative emotional state. It takes just 45 seconds to go reptilian. The bad news is that it takes 2-4 hours, depending on how angry you are, to return to a calm brain and work effectively. I call this an emotional hangover. It doesn’t disappear quickly, like a real hangover. Can you feel in your own mind right now how this would feel in your body? Has your body changed just reading the initial sentences?
You get to choose. You get to determine who is going to take your energy, and who is not. You can build the emotional muscle as much or as little as you feel fit. If you’d like more information about our online and face to face Power of YOU: EQ workshops, please contact Shawna.Moser@moserit.com .
Try this little exercise and NOTICE and CHOOSE. Take out a piece of plain paper and fold it into four quadrants. Do this without talking to anyone:
How do you feel? What do you NOTICE about your emotions? Which quadrant made you the happiest, made you laugh for example? It’s usually the hardest one, not the simplest. Try growing your ability to NOTICE and CHOOSE. You and I need to slow down, take ourselves less seriously and have a little fun. We’re not perfect – we never will be. And we hold the power to manage our energy through our emotions. Why not start now?
More good news – you can grow your emotions whenever you want – you are NOT stuck with them. I prefer the simple initial model that Daniel Goleman used below in his original book:
In our workshops, we primarily focus on the left side of this table:
Your body is watching you. Its job is to protect you from harm. The second your body senses that something is wrong, it triggers your brain to wake up immediately, ignoring everything else. The brain restricts the body, using blood flow, to fight, flight and freeze and do nothing else. Put another way, if you let the emotions degrade, you have lost the use of long-term memory, deep thinking, cause and effect and rational thinking. Emotions are a call to action, whether negative or positive.
At work, an individual or team member with mediocre IQ but high EQ will outperform a team with high IQ and low EQ. Smart is an asset, but you can’t implement smart when you are in the fight, flight, freeze condition. EQ is a different way of being smart. Daniel Goleman, who initially wrote of EQ, says that we can make better decisions when we know and use feelings intentionally. We can NOTICE and CHOOSE.
I don’t know about you, but this was a hectic holiday season for me. My emotions got the best of me from Thanksgiving to Epiphany. I fixated on doing everything well while being angry with myself that I was not. These were predictable emotions which also made me mad. Every holiday season, triggers go off and the pressure of JOY drives many reptilian emotions.
I am well versed in teaching Emotional Intelligence, and I was not well versed in applying it. Here’s an example: I have an internal belief of what Christmas is SUPPOSED to be like. On the other hand, I see that I am not meeting that reality. Most people do and many have a vision that is not attainable. The tension between what I think ISHOULD be doing and what I really CAN do creates conflict and tension inside me. It’s important to realize that I created and triggered this belief… I made the belief up. I am measuring against something that I created and can un-create.
Our emotions can be the muscle that moves you. As you focus on your goals to Prioritize and Communicate, visualize how successful you’ll be in detail:
Change always requires losing something. Starting to ‘try’ comes with doubt, the nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. You can choose how your emotions will be by actively practicing them. Start a positive habit with your visualization of the future you want. Defeat doubt by believing in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, try again (but better this time) by:
We tend to repeat the same patterns subconsciously. When there is a goal that is critical that you are systematically failing to achieve, it’s a signal that you need to do something different. I like what Art Markman says in Fast Company:
Think about your life like a product for a moment. Most of the time, the product a company produces is pretty good and doesn’t need a wholesale revision. Instead, products are spruced up and companies create “new and improved” versions, which are fundamentally the same product with a few tweaks. Only rarely do companies really try to disrupt an industry. Disruptions seem sexy, because they can change a market, but most deeply innovative products don’t succeed (think Segway).
Most of the changes in behavior that you make should be of the “new and improved” variety. Small changes that enable you to do what you already do more effectively are likely to succeed. Typically, the best way to enter the new year is to find something straightforward to change and to focus your efforts on that.
An advantage to these tiny changes is that you will still make an improvement to your life, but you’re likely to succeed. You give yourself an emotional boost for improving your life without the frustration that comes along with a wholesale disruption.
A string of small successes can also give you more confidence when it really is time to do something more disruptive. In particular, when you try to make a big change, you are virtually guaranteed to experience some setbacks. You don’t want those setbacks to give you evidence that you’re a failure. If you have a run of success in smaller behavior changes, then you know you’re not a failure, you just haven’t yet succeeded at the bigger change. And that knowledge can make you more resilient on those days when your attempt at a big behavior change has fallen flat.
Experts, like MD Anderson, explain why resolutions are so hard to complete. As Warren Holleman, director of MD Anderson’s Faculty Health & Well-Being Program says “It takes self-understanding, skills, strategies and support.” Here are questions based on Warren’s work to uncover the components that drive Prioritization and Communication.
I think it is.
Building an Intentional Process
Holleman has a quick process for how to make successful change in your life and work. Here is my simplification of his process:
1. Prepare a script.
You've got to know exactly what to do by planning how to mitigate interruptions. For example, if someone interrupts you while you’re working, have the words to accept, delay or reject the request before it happens. If you’ve agreed to listen, really listen. Be honest and communicate the time you can share at the start.
2. Create a strategy.
Strategy means ‘making a plan’. At the start of the day, write down your list of work, and estimate how long each item will take. Build in minimally 25% of time for communication with others. Do this in less than two minutes and adjust as needed during the day. You’ll be shocked how much you get done.
3. Build social support.
Social support means talking to others and asking for their advice. Communicate with others when you have a problem you’re struggling with. They’ll then trust you for help as well. Agree together about how long you have to discuss the topic and summarize at the end. Always say Thank You.
Prioritization organizes your work and challenges you to say no when appropriate. When I take the time to list what I want to get done at the start of my day, I work more effectively. This prioritization ‘pause’ allows me to rank important work and avoid work that isn’t a priority. Communication is required to collaborate with others. I cannot do my work in a vacuum. I won’t know what the priorities really are.
Through lots of work in the fall, my team has created a strong set of Job Benchmarks for the roles we have at Moser. This has been a tremendous asset. We can use these to discover job fit. We want our staff to work in their strengths. Shawna Moser, my project manager, has done a wonderful job organizing Job Benchmarks for our new staff and for our customers. When I stopped trying to do it myself and got out of the way, Shawna was able to prioritize and communicate more effectively with our customers and staff.
As 2019 starts to fade away, we reflect on how we can be better in 2020. In the US, we plan our transformation January 1st, and we often break all our new rules on the night before (New Year’s Eve). For many, the crazy party is followed by a hung-over day, which may make resolutions even less likely. According to @LifeHack, only 12% complete their resolutions. The biggest reason most New Year’s resolutions fail? You know what you want but you not why you want it.
As I reflect on last year, I tried to work more than I could manage on my own. I spent more time teaching our growing group of customers, instead of asking our facilitators to do it. I had additional responsibilities at Moser – Job Benchmarks, profiles, biz dev support, etc. The good news was that my practice was growing, but my constant multi-tasking ultimately created mistakes. I had too much on my plate, and I didn’t communicate well internally or externally. The worse news is that I did not ask for help. In my chaos, I was inconsistent when delegating which created confusion and rework for my team and me. I lost empathy as I got frustrated with others. At the end of the day, I was toast.
I didn’t share my ‘troubles’ with anyone. Although I would coach others to reach out, I rarely communicated - there was ‘no time to communicate’. Without the voices of others, I did not have a solid strategy for my practice. I worked mostly in a vacuum, minimizing communication to check off unprioritized tasks. I looked at Email as my adversary, striving to delete as many things as fast as possible wherever I was. I looked at lunch as something to do quickly at my desk while reading my next task. I slid into December exhausted. Moser had won a large project starting in the new year and we were all hands on-deck. I had to be more effective. I stepped back and spent a week creating strategy for 2020.
I work with incredibly smart and caring people at Moser. They’re busy too, but always open to help. I noticed multiple people saying to me, “Oh I don’t want to bother you, I know how busy you are.” I couldn’t figure out why people thought I was so busy. Clearly my lack of communication with others was impacting my ability to prioritize and communicate. My stress was blocking my ability to see – fight, flight and freeze were my constant EQ companions. I was losing connection and direction and so was my team. I forgot that the secret to a strong organization requires new 2020 resolutions: Prioritization and Communication. Reboot.