Emotional Intelligence: The Geek We Know & Love
Love & EQ--The "Geek" we all love....
You know one...you might have one working for you....you may even be in love with one...or, maybe you is one....
Affectionately, we call them geeks, nerds or techies. Yet, any of us can fall into this category when we're stressed, spending too much time in our heads and particularly in the left hemisphere of our brains. While left-brain dominant people are often eccentric, they are typically linear, logical and rationale. They are efficient. To be in love, efficiency gives way to effectiveness. It happens to the best of us--- wanting to be good parents, partners, colleagues and friends, yet, mired in memos and meetings, spreadsheets and stock returns or bits and bytes. The business of life is about relationship; and relationship is less about IQ and more about EQ--our emotional intelligence.
Men and women are different (like you needed me to tell you). But across all genders, and throughout all primitive or civilized cultures, one thing remains the same--the meaning of emotion. We all have them, though many of us ignore them. High acheivers, so adept at focusing keen attention, have often dispensed with them. Today, we can't ignore them--they contribute up to 96% to our success--and they're their back in style. These leaky, renegade impulses that seem so out of control are a resource we can tap into to make the right decisions, raise capital, make the sale, get the girl (or guy) and feel fulfilled. Good gut can be yours...all you need is to pay attention to that queasy feeling in your stomach, the tension in your neck, the fatigue from your job. Listen. Paying attention to what (and who) energizes you and what (and who) discourages you means your emotional sentinels are attuned to information your well-conditioned mind is missing.
Love & the Addictive Society
Americans consume 5 billion tranquilizers and 16,000 tons of aspirin each year. Thirty-one percent of the population is chronically depressed and 79% want to quit their jobs and live off the land. Why? Because there's not enough love and too many substitutes for it. We want connection. We want to be valued and validated. And when we don't get it we buy things, eat things, wear things, do and use things to give us what we really want--love. Love is nothing more than giving to another, and allowing them to be seen, heard and appreciated for who they are. Can't we make a little space in ourselves for others--and their differences-- to enter?
A Balanced Heart...Outer space or Inner space?
Most of us have far too much to do and too little time. We spend so much time thinking that our center of gravity has risen from our solar plexus up and into our heads. We're off center because we're a-head of ourselves. How can we give anything to another when we're depleted and malnourished? Rather than be defeated by stress, use the creative tension to put more balance into your life. Balance is not about time management ; it is not about doing more, but in "be"-ing more. It is holding the center between making things happen (doing) and allowing things to happen (being); it is leaving the intellect and heading for the heart. Take thirty seconds during a stressful moment and follow this SOS--STOP what you're doing---OXEGENATE by taking three deep breaths into your body---SEEK APPRECIATION by recalling an event that was loving and peaceful, bringing your attention to your heart area---SEEK ADDITIONAL INFORMATION from your heart and ask, what is the best course of action in this situation.
Stress can make you Fat
Under pressure, our minds start to race, our blood pressure goes up, and we release a toxic hormone called cortisol into our blood. It takes 450 miliseconds for the tension to move up our spine and into our necks and back. Our rational, logical thinking minds get muddled as the blood moves into our bodies and into the large muscles that will lead the battle. At the same time, we are re-allocating our energy. Whatever we've eaten is listening to our stress hormones and moving into storage to anticipate a sustained fight. (All this at a traffic light.) This stored energy--yes, you got it--is stored as fat. Aren't leaving your office? Eating at your desk? Chances are the stress hormones are keeping those macronuitrients from doing their job and packing it into your middle. Rx--get out, take a walk, change the scenery and breath, using SOS above.
Parenting the Employee
Contrary to what we might think, pay, perks or benefits don't lead to employee loyalty and creative productivity. Instead, employees, in a national Gallup survey, said it all hinges on their immediate manager. Employees want the same thing from them that children need from their parents---someone who values their unique contribution, cares for them, sets clear and consistent limits and encourages and supports their growth. Is it any wonder that the most effective things we can do as managers is the same thing we do as parents: Listen to what is being said; Label it back and lead the next course of action.
How's the weather?
Our culture emphasizes academic training and technical skill, often to the exclusion of interpersonal effectiveness. Notice how we avoid personal disclosure or interpersonal connection. We talk about the project, the event, the goal, the schedule or the weather. It's more comfortable staying impersonal. We can label people brilliant or professional, yet people remember moments. They remember when they have been moved emotionally and someone has spoken to our passion. Our first relationship is with ourselves. Knowing, understanding and managing our own emotions means engaging both our vulnerabilities and our strengths. It is only from a place of comfort with all our parts that we become whole and can connect with others.
Presents or Presence
Don't put your money where your mouth. Be there. There is no greater value than your time or attention. You know you have a deadline with too much to do and too little time. Your child, your employee or your unwanted phone call doesn't. Rather than sigh deeply and hope they figure it out, set a boundary of one minute, and for that minute, give them your undivided attention. When someone sits for thirty seconds with your undivided attention, it's as if you gave them ten minutes.
How's Your EQ?
Consider benchmarking your EQ. peoplesmith coaching offers assessments and coaching to help professionals become more effective and more successful with their life goals. For more information, contact us at http://www.peoplesmith.org or mailto Coach@peoplesmith.org of course, you may call us for a complementary coaching session at 412-362-2622.
About the Author
Brenda Smith, MBA, CPEC is a former Wall Street executive and entrepreneur. peoplesmith uses the unconditionally supportive and transformative process of coaching to coach international managers and leaders in emotional intelligence, leadership,change and resiliency.