In March 2012 I attended a course that really became the last step in ensuring that I redirected my life. It was a course called “Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence”. I didn’t really want to attend. I didn’t even know what emotional intelligence was. It sounded like one of those weird courses that would be a waste of time. I was trying to get out of it but one of the instructors basically shamed me into signing up. I’m so glad I did. I was trying to find my way at the time, thinking of how to get healthier, how to lose weight, how to get fitter, how to reduce stress in my life, and this course seemed to walk right into my life and point me in the right direction.
The course was presented by two very impressive women, Rani Bhatia-Durand and Cynthia Barlow. The way they presented the course was just right for me, at that time of my life. It had a profound impact.
Some of the key learnings (for me) of the course were;
- EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is as important, if not more important, than IQ or technical knowledge in leadership roles.
- The Johari Window
- The idea of “perspectives” and “filters” that we have and shape the way we see the world, along with the follow-up idea that we can make a small adjustments to these perspectives, or filters, that can have a profound effect on us.
- The fact that we have a “comfort zone” and deep seated fears stop us from going outside that – even to the point that if we get more money than our subconscious is “comfortable” with, we’ll find a way to get rid of it.
- The role of protective emotions and the defense mechanisms that go along with them
- “Have to” vs “Choose to” – the subconscious usually doesn’t respond well to things we “have” to do – it’s important to choose our words wisely when we talk to ourselves
- Blocking factors – emotions that block our progress
- Sometimes there’s a “pay-off” our subconscious is trying to get that we’re consciously not aware of
- Vicious cycle of stress
- Core negative emotions
- The fact that the subconscious is much more powerful than the conscious mind, and if the two want something different, the subconscious will almost always win – then we have an outcome we consciously think is bad and don’t know how it happened
- Victim stance versus 100% accountability
- Don’t use “But” use “and” instead
- Don’t use “have to/ought to” use “want”
- Don’t use “should” use “could”
- The power of silence (as an exercise, we listened to someone explain a problem of theirs for 5 minutes without saying a word – that was hard, startling and very enlightening)
- Gifts of confidence
The course just clicked with me. It showed me that there’s a lot I can do to improve my performance and the way I interacted with people. I was so glad to see that there was some understandable theory that could explain some of the almost incomprehensible things that happen. It was the first time I realised that when I’m in one of those situations and something just triggers me into some sort of emotional reaction, usually accompanied with some physical reaction as well like blushing, tightness in the shoulders, etc., that this is the subconscious snapping into action even before the conscious mind has a chance to process the information. It’s amazing to be aware of this and to think that there’s a chance of getting control of these situations.
So, my eyes were opened and I just wanted to learn more and more about this stuff. I wanted to read whatever I could to get even more understanding and I wanted to observe myself and see what my subconscious was doing for me (or to me). That was March 2012 and today is September 2013 so 18 months have gone by. In those 18 months, I’ve learnt a lot about the theory that goes along with all this from some very smart people and I’ve learnt a lot about myself. It’s this wealth of learning that has come my way that has prompted me to start this website. However, I feel that I’ve only learnt a fraction of what there is to know and only a fraction of what I could know about myself. But now that I’m open to this learning, I find that I learn more and more every day. What I’m learning is astounding and I’ll be writing about this in upcoming posts. The “me” of two years ago would not have believed some of the things I believe today. It’s definitely been a long journey to discover new things (and the journey is far from over). And I’m very appreciative that other people have provided help so that I could make my way along my journey. I hope this website can help some people make their journey shorter and very fulfilling.
Daniel Goleman is one of the renowned experts on emotional intelligence.
Another useful link with an in-depth review of Emotional Intelligence – http://www.cleverism.com/emotional-intelligence-emotional-quotient-eq/