Jasmine, Insecurity, and Being Stuck

jasmineIt feels like summertime here – glorious, peaceful, and relaxed. The scent of jasmine is pouring in through my office windows along with the gently cooling evening air.

Yesterday I was talking with a client/friend about where he needs to put energy in his business. Hands down: “relationships.” Reaching out and connecting, mostly externally and also internally. He admitted he wasn’t doing it the way he wanted, and part of me wanted to say, “but that’s so easy!”

Then I realized that his reason for not doing this is much the same as my reason for not exercising (something he’s great at, by the way): In two completely different challenges, we each feel inadequate – incompetent – and without real hope that our efforts will work.

And we each find it incredibly difficult to persevere… and all too easy to slide that task to the bottom of the pile. I am sure there is value and insight in this feeling, some clarity to be found, but even in this quite jasmine gentleness of evening, the wisdom is beyond me.

“Keeping Emotions in Check” on NBC’s Today Show

Well I had an absolute blast appearing on the Today Show. It was literally a circus there (the circus was on the show before me…) and the energy was amazing.

The five minute discussion went by so fast. When I got off set, I actually had no idea what I’d said, it was such a blur! Fortunately I could watch online, here’s the clip from MSNBC.

So after watching and finding out what I said… I’m pretty thrilled with it. This was my first live TV appearance, and first time on National TV, so I was pretty anxious… especially right before, standing on the set watching the process.

These folks do FOUR hours of live TV every morning! I was amazed at the level of focus the team showed – for example, before our segment on emotions, Natalie Morales was reading latest news, while crew was rapidly moving to set up our piece… and she was just in the zone reading as the text flowed by (I was watching the teleprompter and imagining trying to read it!)

I now have about eight more key ideas I’d really like to add… such as using appreciation as a transformational tool for shifting out of those AHHHH moments.  I used it there – as I was starting to get anxious I thought about what a great gift it is to get to do this work – and to talk about something so valuable to so many people. 🙂

Next time I’d like to post a web article with some of the practical strategies we teach plus links to additional articles and resources. So here’s a mini-story on 6seconds.org about the piece, with some additional thoughts: All About Emotional Intelligence from Six Seconds – EQ on NBC’s Today Show

All in all – I’m looking forward to the next time!!

Overheard: “Doing my work”

celebration@ lunch today confess to eavesdropping (funny word) on 2 young women talking about their lives and decision to make conscious choice about how they want their days to add up into a life.

“I am getting sick of just drinking every day, so I guess I gotta spend my time with different people.”

They got talking about “doing my work” and the healing they both wanted to do.  On the one hand, it sounded like an OD of Dr Phil – every self-help cliche was coming out.  On the other I wanted to go hug them and give them my card.  I thought that might give away the fact that i was eavesdropping though….

And, on the 3rd hand (is there one?) I was wondering about “doing my work.”  I love the commitment to growth.  And I wonder:  Why is it work?

I mean, I get that it is.  Usually it feels like work to change and grow… it’s a real effort to stop doing the crappy-but-gratifying stuff and be a grownup instead (sigh).  But I also feel sad that it’s “work” to learn.

Fight for Your Life: Marital Arguments + Longevity

Is it emotionally intelligent to fight? New study from University of Michigan divides 192 couples 3 groups based on “unfair attacks”:

  1. both partners communicate their anger;
  2. one spouse expresses while the other suppresses;
  3. both suppress their anger and brood.

Preliminary finding after 17 years is that group 3 is at risk. Ernest Harburg, professor emeritus with the U-M School of Public Health and the Psychology Department, and lead author:

“When both spouses suppress their anger at the other when unfairly attacked, earlier death was twice as likely than in all other types.” Source: Physorg

Sometimes people think emotional intelligence is the same as “being nice.” Based on this data, though, the intelligent use of emotion is to fight! Or maybe to fight nicely.

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This…

Yesterday morning that song kept running through my head. Family and I were walking on the beach, a glorious, amazing January-I-am-so-lucky- to-live-in-California kind of day, watching my kids collecting sea glass… and thinking about my dad in the hospital.

We don’t quite know what’s wrong, it seems most likely to be lung cancer, we will know in a couple of days. He just had an incredibly amazing surgery to remove a tumor and 1 vertebrae, and today he’s been able to sit in a chair and will be out of ICU. istock_lighthouse.jpg

It’s hard to hold onto how miraculous that is — while also thinking about the fact that he’ll start the “real” battle with this cancer in another week.  These emotional paradoxes amaze me.  How at once I can feel this incredible sense of blessing and concurrently feel a looming abyss of loss.

I don’t want to “go there” until we get the oncology report, and I keep slipping into the shadows of grief – into thinking how much we’ll miss him, how much I’ll miss him, about how there are so many things we’d saved for someday.

HBR: John Gottman on Making Relationships Work

Making Relationships Work: A Conversation with Psychologist John M. Gottman by Diane Coutu

Great article. Focus is on Gottman’s specialty, marriages, and it’s a bit thin on link to biz relationships — but the advice is very practical. 3 points I liked:

1. “Successful couples, he notes, look for ways to accentuate the positive. They try to say “yes” as often as possible.” Gottman uses metaphor of salt shaker that can be filled with “yes” – how often can you sprinkle that on relationships?

2. “good relationships aren’t about clear communication—they’re about small moments of attachment and intimacy. It takes time and work to make such moments part of the fabric of everyday life.” This takes making it a priority! Relationship is at the center of the leader’s job, not a distraction from the tasks.

3. There are a lot of theories about the basic things people fight about. Gottman says no – it’s not about a thing at all: it’s about HOW people fight! In other words, it’s not the subject that matters, it’s the emotional message that’s underneath it.

Highly recommended!

Dating and EQ

This is a fairly amusing perspective on why it’s so hard to find someone you want to date:

Pearls of Wisdom: Smart, cute and unavailable

The Stanford Daily
October 13, 2006
By Lisa Mendelman

At Stanford, we are blessed to be surrounded by book-smart people. Trust me, the real world looks nothing like this. Even the fuzziest English major (i.e., me) can solve your average differential calculus problem, and, assuming “Freakonomics” and The Economist count, there are lots of well-read techies biking through the Quad. Where the Farm’s population falters, however, is in another realm of intelligence: the fundamentals of social interaction.

I am with Lisa so far — when schools, or businesses, select a population based on “IQ stuff” w/o considering “EQ stuff” they get people who are not-so-socially-graceful.

Things fall apart a bit when she explains there are 2 axis – SQ is social quotient, and EQ is emotional quotient:
I will assume that second axis on which we are plotting men—and, to be fair, women—ranges from mean and arrogant to nice and down-to-earth. (Obviously, when I used the words “ugly” and “cute” in high school, I was referring to personality). We’ll call this the Emotional Intelligence Quotient, or EQ.

There is a big challenge in our field – people (including me) oversimplify “EQ” and identify emotional intelligence as being “down to earth” or “nice.” I think sometimes emotionally intelligent people are fierce. But I agree with the author that I’d rather date someone both socially and emotionally aware…