Sunday, December 20, 2009

Emotional Intelligence

It seems today's corporate cultures often frown upon emotions in the workplace while 'objectivity' is prized. Probably because emotions are some of the most misunderstood things we experience, and where there is uncertainty there is a perceived element of risk. The very essence of emotions is what drives us, gives us passion, and integrity. So why do we as a culture take something that is evolutionarily hardwired into us for granted? Why do we squelch the very things that pervade through all human beings everywhere?

A new term being thrown around today in the corporate world is Emotional Intelligence. In fact, some employers are starting to adopt standardized testing to assign an E.I.Q (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) in order to assess their potential employees. However, knowing your EIQ doesn't help you raise it. How do you study for a test that you don't know the content of? There's a disconnect here on what people are being tested on and showing them how to prepare for it.

The fact of the matter is emotions are a biofeedback system. They are a set of neurological electrochemical signals that change our state and resulting physiology. Their sole purpose is to serve as a assessment system as to how we are interpreting our reality. Emotions are not to be squelched because they tell us whether we are moving towards or away from what we want in our lives.

Humans operate off of the simple fact that they gravitate away from things that cause them pain and towards things that cause them pleasure. Our emotions are an assessment as to if we are moving towards our goals (pleasure) or away from them (pain).

In Anthony Robbins' Awaken the Giant, he provides an excellent description about 10 call to action emotions people experience on a regular basis. These emotions tell us valuable information about our actions and how we are perceiving the situation. I thought I would share them here with you.

1) Discomfort - (impatience, mild embarassment, boredom) Message: How you're perceiving things is off or actions taken are not producing results you want. Solution: Change how you think about things or change the actions you are taking.

2) Fear - (anxiety, worry, nerves) Message: anticipation of something that may happen that could cause pain. Solution: Preparation is key. Prepare yourself mentally and physically to deal with the situation at hand. Come up with multiple solutions to increase confidence and diminish the intensity of the fear.

3) Hurt - Message: expectations have not been met and a feeling of loss is at hand. Solution: Ask yourself if something has really been lost and if the person is really trying to hurt you. Know also that your expectations are not the expectations everybody lives by. Change your expectations of others and maybe communicate calmly to the person why you're upset. Try to understand their side.

4) Anger - Message: An important rule or standard you live by has been violated by someone else. Solution: Perceive the situation differently and know that everybody does not hold themselves to the same standards. Communicate your standard to the person and find out the motivation for their actions.

5) Frustration - Message: you believe you could be doing better than you are. Solution: Be excited about the learning that is to come. Find out other possible solutions or seek a mentor. Also know that you are so close to reaching it which is why you are experiencing this.

6) Disappointment - Message: a goal or an expectation that you have is probably not going to happen. Solution: Change your immediate expectations or break the larger goal down to smaller goals. See what you can learn from the situation. Also it may be too early to judge. Develop patience and evaluate your approach and procedure. Helfpul quote: "God's delays are not God's denials."

7) Guilt - Message: you have violated a high standard that you hold yourself to. Solution: Evaluate what standard you violated and commit to not violating it again. Once you have committed, you may release the feeling of guilt, do not wallow in it.

8) Inadequacy - Message: you do not presently have the skills, knowledge, or tools to deal with the task at hand. Solution: Evaluate if the standard you are holding yourself to is too high at the moment. Lower your immediate expectations and begin to search for ways to improve. Untrained or unskilled does not translate to unable.

9) Overwhelmed - (grief or depression) Message: you are trying to deal with too much, too fast, and all at once. Solution: Reevaluate whats most important to you and prioritize what to deal with first. As you begin to conquer one problem, your brain will gain momentum which will make each subsequent task easier and easier. Change your focus from what you can't change to what you can change.

10) Loneliness - Message: you require a connection with another person, often to objectively confirm or reject a belief or attitude. Solution: You can reach out anytime, there are caring people everywhere. Identify what your needs are: intimacy? friendship? To laugh? Recognize that loneliness is the showing of your true belief that you care about people and need them in your life.