The trends in industries reveal our real needs. We strive to build collaborative processes, but can't quite get them into the hierarchies. Agile is a popular example. By definition, it only drives success when people are working together in collaboration. Similarly, in the Big Data world, Knowledge Management is a new-again buzz word. We are searching for the big red button that gives us more knowledge, but the acquisition of knowledge starts and ends with real people who did something. When we talk about something we've learned with another, both people's ideas are changed. Every time. Finally, we dream that everything we need is in the Cloud. But at the end of the Cloud, there is a person keeping an eye on a machine. Probably alone.
Our processes must evolve as we learn a new way :
Project Management: It's not about CONTROL, it's about COLLABORATION
Leadership: Instead of Dictating and Avoiding, Grow and Engage
Teams: Frantic and Urgent, Kills; Engaged and Needed, Innovates
Strategy: Impact over Deliverables
So we aspire to new ways of work, new ways to 'Get Real, Get Lean-ish.' Our human selves want connection, want learning, want purpose. Software and hardware can provide some artifacts but people connect, learn and share purpose. If these people are angry, tired, overworked and frantic, their emotions will not allow them to connect, learn or share purpose. Watching myself and the world, I started giggling about what we should really call our most impactful programs:
Senior Leadership Alignment
Play Nice Together... You're All on the Same Team
Realistic Project Management
You Can't Have Everything... Where Would You Put it?
Emotional Intelligence: The Power of YOU
Don't Give Away Your Energy... You Need It
It's All About the People... and You're a People Too
It's important to note that emotions are always a call to action, whether you are listening or not. Your body is constantly scanning for danger and a quick, negative emotional response can provide adrenaline and focus to fight, flight or freeze. There are times when things happen that require most of your brain and body to shut you down. There are appropriate times to stop everything else and be in the 'belly of the whale'. For example, if someone you love is ill, it's not a time to do deep breathing and ignore what's going on. We can learn the difference and choose our emotions intentionally by valuing the appropriate emotions and reframing the inappropriate.
I know you've got a lot to do and you are extremely busy. I'd love to tell you that I have a very simple solution to that hell, but like everything important, it's going to take prioritization, failure and hard work. EQ practices are simple and clear, but difficult to prioritize and practice.I'm going to share some tips for three areas of your emotional intelligence.
** If you would like a free EQ assessment which will provide you with more ideas you can practice to grow your emotional muscles, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or join us at our public workshop in Indy in May (see below).
Build a Toolkit: Self Awareness
Set an alarm on your phone for a couple of times during the day, at work and home. When the alarm goes off, take a moment to think about your emotional state. Just notice it. Once you've done that for awhile, try to notice without the alarm. Pay attention and notice when you feel your mood changing - whether negative or positive.
Build a Toolkit: Self Regulate
So, you've noticed that you are not in a good emotional state, and there's still time to get back to where you feel better and have more energy. My friend Tim Gallwey (Inner Game series author) taught me this message to say to myself "Isn't that interesting?". Treat yourself as a little experiment. Make no judgement about the emotion you are currently in. Take a few deep breaths, find a few things to be grateful for and begin to move back to your energetic self.
Here's a little exercise I call "the Hertz Rent-a-Car Bus" meditation. It's called this because I used it first when I was returning a car to the airport and as always, running late. I felt impatient with the guy giving me the rental car receipt. I ran with my bags to the rental car bus. I gritted my teeth in anger as the bus driver waited for other people. I felt my emotions becoming inappropriate. I noticed (awareness) and regulated with the following mental game:
- Notice five things you can see
- Notice five things you can hear
- Notice five physical feelings in your body
Build a Toolkit: Empathy
As we rush and hide, we project our stress on innocent victims. We get mad that we have to wait in line and others notice. When we get to the front, the person we're talking to is rude and angry. We notice that our emotions are becoming inappropriate with a fleeting through that you should do something to 'pay them back'. Revenge is not good for your energy. Instead, think this: "I wonder what happened to this person today that made his emotions trigger this behavior". I learned this technique in a recent class, when a guy come in late with a big chip on his shoulder, and proceeded to gather other people to his table to share their angst together. I wanted to pay them back, and mostly him. At some point, I was able to think with Empathy - my ability to see others without judgment. I had the thought I just mentioned. It reframed MY behavior which eventually reframed his. Turns out, his boss forced him at the last minute to go to class (project management) because 'he was terrible at it'. He was the head of the projects department. Be gentle. We never know what is happening in someone else's life.
For more hand-on practice growing your best self through your emotions, take a deep EQ dive into our two day Power of You: EQ workshop in Indianapolis in April at the world-renowned Indianapolis Children's Museum.
2016 and continuing in 2017 seems to have ushered in a lot of anger, hostility, conflict, disconnect pitting us vs them. It saps my energy and I try to protect myself from it, like a bad storm that will blow over. These negative emotions trigger a human alienation causing people to divide into factions. To feel like you belong, you have to make sure that your philosophical group has clear walls around it that will keep others who don’t agree out.
I am as judgmental as the best, but I am most whole when I am able to connect people. It is what makes my heart sing. I cannot fathom people who seek to disconnect people. Perhaps, the chaos of our work has created so much exhaustion and pressure to be loved (but not being loved), our emotions are left to only their primal reptilian state: fight, flight and flee. I aspire to see that reframe, but like all of us, I've been hurt too. I know that an angry, emotionally immature person in this state cannot see - they are blind to logic, love and laughter. Instead of paying them back and escalating the dysfunction, I am trying to continue with logic, love and laughter but I fail also. I reframe by cherishing a well done project, the spring that is coming, the joy my family and friends bring me, and to do this requires me to simply stop. Join me.