This Summer, Ride the Emotional Intelligence Wave in Style

'Emotional Intelligence is the difference that makes the difference.
A lack of emotional intelligence is what limits some people in their ability to manage themselves, manage others, or manage situations'

(J. D. Meier, Director of Innovation at Microsoft)

It's summer. It's our time to chill, cool down, relax, recharge. Wait, so what does that have to do with Emotional Intelligence?

I've talked about this before: it's so crucial for us all to recover before we can perform at high potential again!
Becoming aware of this and practising it takes a lot of Emotional Intelligence to begin with!

And because all important changes start from within, I'll share some Emotional Intelligence active breaks ideas.
You can take these breaks wherever you are, whenever you feel like riding the Emotional Intelligence wave!

Here's the cool summer special cocktail I'm sharing in this issue of the All Personal News:
  1. Online Course - Emotional Intelligence: A Skill for Game-Changing Leaders
  2. Podcast - 'A Natural-Born Problem Solver' with Catherine Chen
  3. Article - Listening Skills for Empathic Leaders
  4. Super bonus - Alan Alda and Brene Brown talking about 'Empathy, Courage and Where they Come From'
  5. Self-management work-outs
Now, there are some key-words I'd like to emphasize here, all important components of Emotional Intelligence:
  • leadership skills
  • problem-solving
  • listening skills
  • empathy
  • courage of self-discovery and development
Take a (active) break and ride this wave in style, your summer special cocktail is here!


Online Course: Emotional Intelligence for Game-Changing Leaders

The First All Personal Online Course on the Learn Formula E-Learning Platform!

So excited to share this news with you!

First, because Emotional Intelligence is the reason I say it's All Personal: because it's either intra-personal (managing ourselves) or inter-personal (managing our relationships with others).

Second, because
if either you or anyone on your team need to get your Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points, the Learn Formula platform, where the course is published, is the largest online CPD course marketplace in Canada!

A recent study of the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development in the UK (CIPD) says that:
‘Nearly as much as 80% of the reasons why careers are derailed can be traced to weaknesses in Emotional Intelligence.’

The good news? Emotional Intelligence is a skill we can all work on and improve.

The better news? You receive a certificate of completion  and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points once you’ve finished the course.

The best news? I offer you a complimentary coaching session once you've completed the course, so you can work on your Emotional Intelligence skills muscles some more!

I would be grateful to also get your review and feedback on the Learn Formula platform!

Grab your iced-coffee and click on the image to start your first Emotional Intelligence active break!

Email Me to Book Your Complimentary Emotional Intelligence Coaching Session

All Personal Podcast

A Natural-Born Problem Solver

The latest, almost unedited, episode of the All Personal podcast is one of my absolute favourites so far: a ray of sunshine, pure genius, joy, enthusiasm, passion, unconditional love, power of connection and a super strong sense of community!

Thank you, Catherine Chen, for sharing all these and your incredible energy on the show!

Give yourself the gift (and uplift) of listening to Catherine as she speaks about:

- how she moved from Washington DC, after studying politics, to Toronto, and became the first non-lawyer to lead a legal practice at one of the big law firms here
- the pressures of being a single woman in your late thirties (and enjoying it)
- how she created a startup - MyShoperon™ - AGAINST ‘online shopping package theft’ and FOR creating a healthy community of neighbours!!
- how she applied the practice of piano lessons to solve problems

An absolute Emotional Intelligence inspiration for your second active break - either on a beach, near the lake, in your back yard, on your patio or wherever you give yourself time to day-dream.

Enjoy - click on image and listen in.

Email Me if You'd Like to Be A Guest on the All Personal Podcast

Article: Becoming Empathic Leaders - 'Listen to Understand'

Start with the Heart and Zoom-In on the Mind

What I find striking about us, humans, is that, when we talk about communication, we refer to a diversity of ways that allow us to express ourselves – speaking, gesticulating, dancing, singing, painting, drawing, even simply making eye contact. All good forms of communication, all helping us to express who we are, what we want to say, what we like or don’t like, how we think.

We’ll definitely talk about how we can express ourselves better as leaders in another article.

For now, we’re not going to talk about communication as we most generally perceive it. We’re going to turn tables and start with one form of communication that we usually disregard, dislike, downgrade, deny. It’s called listening.

Because leaders who don’t listen, don’t really communicate. They merely express themselves, nothing more.

Communication involves some sort of a dialogue. And that’s an essential step to take when you’re a leader, because then you can include all opinions, perceptions, ideas, plans in the big picture. Which leads to engagement, loyalty, teamwork, all the good stuff that we want.

But listening is tricky, right? It’s tougher than we openly admit, hence its minuscule place in the hierarchy of communication skills we want to develop.

Simply nodding does not guarantee listening – so, what does?

‘No, that’s not what I meant’, or ‘You’re not listening to me’, or ‘I’ve just told you that’. Familiar? Not that this ever happened to any of us here, I just happened to hear other people complaining.

Why does this happen, when all we did was listen. I mean, you know, we thought we were listening, because we were nodding our head (repeatedly), humming as well, and even maintaining eye contact.

So why is it then that, at some point in the conversation, we get this feedback that we weren’t, in fact, listening.

What is listening and what makes it so difficult?

First off, we tend to treat listening as this passive thing we do (or don’t have to do?) when the other is talking. We look at it as ‘let them talk, while I can think about my ‘groceries shopping list’’. Because we do that, I mean, our brain does it. Oh, ok, not our brain, other people’s.

The brain is busy thinking about the next actions we need to take, even when we don’t want it to. Our brain seems to also have its own mind and not care about what we want it to do.

This is how, especially when we think we don’t have to do anything, we’re always busy thinking about something.

One of the most difficult things to achieve is to clear our minds, not think about anything, and those of you who meditate or ever tried to, perfectly know this feeling. Because there’s always a buzz, a hum, a thought, a fraction of an action hidden right there, in a corner of our mind. That’s how, instead of listening to what the other is saying, we’re busy trying to decipher our own thoughts all the while.

Second, we prefer to tell our story rather than listen to someone else’s. OK, maybe not us reading this post here, of course, but most of the people do. Why?

Simply because when I’m telling my story I’m more involved, I recreate the events, which makes me also re-experience some of the feelings, which, in turn, makes me so involved in the story. When another person tells us their story, it’s more difficult to get involved, we’re strangers to that story and it takes time to get a grip of what it is about.

And unless the story teller makes it engaging (but that’s another story!), we find ourselves thinking ‘shopping lists’ all over again.

The ‘shopping list’ is our metaphor for everything else we’re thinking about: what am I going to respond to what they’ve just said now (which is already what they just said a while ago, because I don’t know what they’re saying now anymore, as I’m thinking about what I am going to say); piles of work, night out with friends, things I need to start doing right after reading this article, you get the picture.

Third, we’re human. Leaders or not, we can only focus for a little while, because we cannot help but pay attention to everything that’s going on around us. Wait, what?

Yes, focus is the opposite of attention. Focus requires a lot of effort and us pushing every distraction aside. Focus happens especially when we’re in flow, ‘in the zone’, because that’s when we’re engaged, involved, motivated.

Focus means I don’t pay attention. Wait, what??

Focus means I zoom in to you while you’re speaking, without paying attention to who comes in the room, to what happens in my mind, to the building shaking because there’s an earthquake. But, as I said, we can only focus for a while, and under these specific circumstances of involvement and motivation. And we already decided, we love our own stories more than other people’s stories. Which is why they don’t keep us motivated and engaged enough for us to get into that state of focus.

So, what can we do?

It’s something we already do, just not all the time and maybe without being aware of it.

Think about someone you care about, telling you they got the job they wanted.

First, hear their voice and how they say it. They are usually enthusiastic, and enthusiasm is catching. When we respond, we do it without thinking about our shopping list. When we hear ‘hey, I got that job’ we naturally go ‘wow, I’m so happy for you’.

We match their state of mind, because we care. Caring makes us focus on what they are saying. When I care about your story, I am there, with you, in your story. I bring my story there, because I can relate to yours now. And that’s how we can build a combined story – the story of ‘how you got that job and how we celebrated together’. Because when I care, I can focus, and that’s what makes me capable to understand: what you’re saying and also a bit of how you’re feeling.

So now that I’m focused, I am interested, and the next thing I know is I’m asking you for more details: what will you be doing, when do you start, do they train you, how much do they pay you (ok, maybe not that, we leave that for the shopping list).

It’s a natural reaction for us, to ask questions when we listen. I mean, when we truly listen. And often we forget that listening is a verb, not a noun, that it’s an action, and it’s very much active. It’s not that I don’t have to do anything and ‘just listen’. On the contrary, there’s a lot of things I do that tell you I’m listening.

Think about it: when we care and focus and truly listen, what do we do, apart from nodding and humming: we ask questions, we go back to make sure we didn’t misunderstand, we ask for clarifications, we summarize, we investigate further, we ask for the next steps.

It goes all the way back when, as children, someone was reading a story to us and, because we were captivated by it, we wanted to know more, hear more, see more.

Or maybe more recently when, at some point in our lives, we asked the question: ‘so let me get this straight, are you dumping me?’. That’s one piece of active listening! And all because I cared.

So there, we already listen properly, when we care.

Start with the heart and zoom in on the mind

The ‘recipe’ I am proposing is: start with the heart and zoom in on the mind (you add your own ingredients, in the quantities that work for you).


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When I care, I will instantly focus, and when I focus, I will be able to hear what you’re saying and truly understand you. I will nod and hum, and I will also ask questions, summarize, clarify, agree next steps, maybe even take notes and make sure you get them, too.

Once I listen to understand, I build the foundation for a long-term relationship.

At the end of the day, ‘shopping lists’ aside, we all crave to be:
  1. heard
  2. understood
  3. valued (or, even better, loved).
And then, once we’ve truly listened, we get a ‘that’s exactly what I meant’, or ‘thanks for listening to me’, or ‘nobody else asked me that, thank you for checking’.

That’s the magic moment when you’ve opened-up a whole new world to a healthy relationship with the people in your team.

That’s when you, as the leader, having the vision and having listened to people, can start planning your journey together, because you know you are all in it wholeheartedly.

Because when somebody listens to me and understands me, I feel I matter. Don’t you?

If you’re further interested in this topic, you may also want to watch and read:

All Personal - 'Lead' Work-Outs

Ted Talk - Celeste Headlee_10_ways_to_have_a_better_conversation

Alan Alda - Make communication great again - CBC Interview

Alan Alda – ‘If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?’

Need a Listening Skills Online Training? Email Me and We'll Make It Happen

Super Bonus: Alan Alda and Brene Brown on the 'Clear and Vivid' Podcast

'Empathy, Courage and Where They Come From'

Nothing much left to say when Alan Alda meets Brene Brown and they discuss such important parts of Emotional Intelligence!

Hear them talk about emotional literacy and the strengths that lead to better relationships.

Have your break, click on image and enjoy listening.


Self-Management Muscle Workouts

Resources to Manage Yourself Under Pressure

Managing ourselves is a big part of Emotional Intelligence as a skill muscle. And it's even more important now that the world around us has changed so much and so abruptly!
Here are a few resources for you to work out your self-management skills muscles and work well with everyone on your team and with your clients, even remotely.
Learn how you can listen effectively, what motivates you, what the universal expressions of emotions are, how to meditate and so much more.

Be well & stay safe! We're all in this together. We'll go through this together.

Imagine. Believe. Become.

Our inner work only depends on ourselves.
Start your self-management workouts
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