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I'm Emotionally Intelligent. Why Isn't Everyone Else?

by Jeff East and Eric Pennington
August 23rd 2021

Do you know someone who never seems to be able to control their emotions? Perhaps they are constantly doing or saying the wrong things, at the wrong time. Or maybe they're always judging others, bu... More

Hello everyone. This is Eric Pennington with the spirit of EQ and welcome to the spirit of EQ podcast. Today's episode is I'm emotionally intelligent. Why isn't everybody else life is a journey Spirit of EQ helps shape and guide the road ahead for individuals, leaders, teams and organizations striving to realize their full potential through emotional intelligence. Spirit of EQ is a coaching and consulting company that assists individuals and businesses to reach their full potential by developing emotional intelligence in business managers and leaders recognize the value of training to develop leadership skills. What they may not realize is that those skills are far more effective when they pay attention to not only performance but also to people. Emotional intelligence is a crucial skill because people drive performance and emotions drive. People joining me as always is Jeff East with the spirit of EQ?

Hello, Jeff. How are you? Hi, Eric, I'm doing fine. And I hope all our listeners or two. So Jeff, That title really kind of tripped me up a bit. And I know we talked on law offline about, well, what are where are we going with this? And I guess I wanted to start for our audience. A number of our clients especially here lately have brought up the question, Well, what do you do when you encounter somebody who's not emotionally intelligent and you're like working on this stuff and you're growing with your emotional intelligence and how does that, how do you deal with somebody who's not emotionally intelligent. Um, and I think it's not so much because at this point in time we're not post covid unfortunately, uh not a lot of people are back in the office, I know that some have been kind of moving there. So I think it's a blend right of personal relationships and the professional ones. Um boston to you know to subordinate and back the other way type thing. Um I've even had a conversation with a potential client uh that hold on, let me change that from potential client.

It even goes to, I have a client, one of our clients that uh talk to me about how the senior level manager was kind of on the fence about emotional intelligence. And could that be a problem. And of course we never tell anybody what to do in the sense of how they engage with us. But we do warn them that there can be that guy that sort of that collision course when you have this disconnect between, especially if you're in an organization that's hierarchal, right in nature. So when you think about that Jeff, I mean what are your thoughts on engaging and getting along with or whatever you want to describe it with those that are not emotionally intelligent. I think part of it boils down to how much of a relationship are you in that person? How much of a relationship you have with that person. If the person that's waiting on you at the gas station is not very emotional intelligent, you probably don't really need to worry about that because it's just a quick interaction.

Um, but if you are in a relationship with somebody, you know, their offices across the hall and their cubicles next to you or you're living in the same house that you can't get out of because you're under quarantine, right, then that's when you need to put the effort into it, right? And you know, hopefully we'll give some good tips and some ideas. Yeah. And I want to, I want to be careful not to jump too quickly into the tips and solutions idea. Um one of the things that's really been crossing my mind and I've had this question posed to me about how well our business is doing because of things like this pandemic and that it's exposing the weaknesses and the needs and and I I can appreciate that question. Um, but I also, I tell them, you know, it's a double edged sword, you know, on one hand, yes, it makes what we do much more viable. Uh however, you know, this is messy work and you have these dynamics out there of, you know, emotional intelligence is not necessarily the most widely known used discipline learning if you will out there, not to mention the fact and this is one refrain that I typically go to and that is people just don't work on themselves, right?

And I don't throw that out there to say it's because they don't care because they're lazy or it's not an insult because some of it I think is just at least in America, the, it's kind of a cultural norm in a way. And I look at that and I go, okay. You know, isn't it ironic? We have all the information to just about anything that we want to know. We can get it probably in about five seconds by doing a search on google. If our boss says, hey, we've got this project and we need to have it done in the next two months, all hands on deck. People will rise to that occasion. When you say, hey, you know what? You should spend some time working on you. It's like, and you get that look, well, you get that strange silence. Like, well what do you mean? And I used to think it was because you shame on you, but as time has gone on Jeff, even before you and I met, I started realizing, wait a minute. This is I think this got into the water somehow because it's not that I don't, I have very rarely do I encounter people who are like, hey, I don't need this.

This is not important. I'm not important. What's most important is that I get that next promotion. I don't have anyone, I, I can't think of anyone that I've interacted with it had that sort of hardened approach about it. So some of the problem maybe is it hasn't become culturally normal too, really not work on yourself. Right? So if that if what I'm describing to you is true even partially um Right, what are there other problems do you think that has caused us to be maybe not the most emotionally intelligent society? I think some of them are, you know you you know you have to succeed at any cost. You know you it's about me getting to where I want to be, whether it's the promotion, whether it's I want to be Um living in a $3 million dollar home or driving Lamborghinis or or whatever that is that's driving you and when you're focused on only that um there's no room for anything else.

Yeah, because that almost speaks to the idea of like a glass that has, you know, 16 ounce glass that's full of water up to 15", right? Or 15 oz. And you can't pour, I mean if you do pour more, it's gonna end up, you're gonna have a mess, Right? Right. And so what you have to do is like the glass analogy are using you may have to take three or four or five ounces out of that class because you re evaluate what's important, hold that one because that's a great solution and we're gonna we're gonna get to that towards the end, but that's really good. Yeah, exactly. Uh that that I think we can unwrap that a great deal. Um I think also I kind of got a sense from what you're saying there is, is it a form of selfishness, selfishness to me is I think something that you don't realize you're doing right? Um so it's you know, you're not really aware of what you've become or what your actions are.

Um so I guess that would be selfishness. It's usually not with intent. Yeah. And I like, I like where you're going there because I I saw an interview, I mentioned this in one of our other podcast episodes, I believe, um with uh a gentleman by the name of john McWhorter and john McWhorter is a linguistics professor at Columbia, uh really smart individual, but very thoughtful Jeff. And I I saw him on a podcast video cast where you want to call it and the co host of the show brought something up that really challenged his thinking and I thought it was fast and I'm watching the video and I could see him and I don't want to project and say, I know what he was thinking, but it appeared like he was like struggling wrestling with what was just presented to him and he said, I think I just need some more time to reflect on this now that really was pretty powerful.

But then he goes on to say, I I think that's one of the things that's missing in our discourse in our culture is like, we don't reflect. Do you think that the lack of desire or the lack of practice that's probably better reset of reflection might be a contributor as well? Yeah. I think with the way we have communications today and everything else, people are expecting an instant response from you. Um I go back to before telegraph, if you were in England and you sent a ship to Australia, you didn't know what was going on. So you had to you just had to wait, it was months and months or years before you would get an answer back. So that leaves lots of time to think about stuff. But now if you're if you've got a client in Australia, it's just the same as you're sitting across the table from them by text or some other messaging, whatever. And I think because of that we don't take the time to think about it.

We have to we feel pressured into giving an instant response an instant reaction of some sort. It almost makes me think of it in terms of its like advancing the decline. You know, because on one hand I feel like man look at all the tools we have to talk to our client in Australia by zoom right now. But we don't spend any time on reflection. So we're moving back. Well you have the client in Australia and you have some information to give to them before all of the electronics. So you know you would have to write out a letter and you would take time writing out the letter because you know, you had to think ahead. You had to put, you had to make sure you put everything in there the right way. And then when that person would get the letter, their response would be the same way. Well, this is gonna take a long time to get there. I'd better make sure I'm really saying what I want to say. And I think, yeah, that's that's part of the decline you're talking about.

Well, and I think there's another thing that comes to my mind and one of your favorite thought leaders, Bernet, I think she pronounces Bernet Bernet Bernet Brown, I saw an interview uh with uh tim Ferriss four hour work week. I always call him the four hour workweek guy, but I know he's done more than that. However, and she she talked about this idea of curiosity, the importance of it. And you and I have talked about it uh probably the point of nausea for our audience. But uh we talked about it a lot inside the podcast and outside with our clients. This idea of being able to look at a situation or a problem and tackle it from a curiosity perspective and not judgment. And um I think our lack of curiosity is a contributor to the problem of low emotional intelligence because curiosity demands you to to stay in that place.

It demands you that you have to reflect on what's going on. Exactly. And and hear us out, everyone in the audience. We are not anti technology, are we Jeff? No. Right? And we're also not here to tell you that you're lack of curiosity or lack of reflection is a is a mark. We're just bringing up the problems and what may be contributing to the issue of low emotional intelligence. And I would dare say all of us have reasons, we could probably cite reasons why we don't want to be curious and we don't want to reflect. We may be afraid of what we may find or we may find ourselves going to the door of a house that we don't want to go into and been a brown wonderful job of explaining that what's behind that door. She didn't use that analogy. But if what behind what is behind that door is ferocious and big, then you need help.

And that's a counselor therapist. What have you, you've got to be able to determine what's behind that door. If it is not that ferocious, if it is just something that hey, You know, I wish I would have taken this term versus that turn 20 years ago, maybe that's one you can handle on your own or maybe with the help of a friend, there's all these varying degrees and and it requires honesty. But at the end of the day, I think the absence of curiosity leading to that reflection is one of the big contributors to the problem. Um, and those of you in the audience who have been working on yourself and have been growing your emotional intelligence, what I love about our competencies, there's one in there that's just it's more than a competency empathy. We're talking about it in this frame because we want you to I think it's important that when I encounter someone that has low emotional intelligence is not to rush to judgment. Start with empathy, because that empathy will open up the door for you to begin to be curious.

Oh, I wonder what what causes that person to do that. And the self empathy part is what causes me to do that. Exactly, right. And I I think that's that's that's key. And that's where we wanted to go with this. We want to identify the problem because it is a problem. There's no doubt about that, but it also is rooted around a desire to, um because it be great if we could Sprinkle some magic pixie dust through this recording and you could just take it and give it to somebody and then the next day they're very high, highly emotional intelligence, but in all likelihood, that's not gonna happen. Um yeah, Jeff, even if we had organizations lined up down the street tenfold, you know, we're not going to get to everybody and even our colleagues and peers out there are not going to get to everybody. So it's almost one of those things like, okay, this is what it is, you've got a boss that's not emotionally intelligent, you have a spouse, you have a brother, a neighbor, whatever the case may be.

So this is kind of a pivot to um, what do we, what do we do with this when we're in that situation? Um, you know, and, and it'll kind of be a blend Jeff of what are some solutions. Maybe it is a little bit more about what do you think we can do to make it better if you will? Um, so let's let's kind of go there. Let's use the example of I have a boss that has low emotional intelligence and, and we know that we go into the definition this person does not manage their thoughts and emotions for optimal decision making, whether it be when they get angry, they explode or when they get sad they withdraw all those things. What are some things that you could think of that a person could use some tools, some tips around that? Well, I think to start with, um, in in the religious realm realm, there's something called being a witness which doesn't mean you're witnessing something, you're letting other people witness you.

And I think one of the first steps is you show that person that you have emotional intelligence, even if they don't understand what it is, they're witnessing you practice it and that sometimes right there gets other people curious. You know, I just laid this really horrible thing on you and you just calmly said, okay, let's let's take care of this instead of blowing up. Like I would have blown up. So I think that's the very first thing that you need to do is is be a let people witness you practicing the emotional intelligence. So it's almost that adage of caught versus being taught, right? Yeah. Yeah. So well that that goes back to the curiosity. If that person sees you practicing emotional intelligence, that might be the the curiosity starter for them, why did they do that?

Why didn't they respond like everybody else did they also would have to maybe I'll just catch it the question this way, do we need to be in a place where we, we need to understand that this is not an overnight job, right? It's not like they witnessed you being emotionally intelligent and they come to you and say, okay, I got to help me out. How do I get to be like you? I mean, it's a possibility, but the probability is very low, that that's going to happen, right? So more than likely I'm going to have to be in another staff meeting with that boss for example and and and that type of thing. What do you think is the key to sticking with it? Well, if we're talking about emotional intelligence, we're going to talk about what are the consequences if I keep doing it? Consequential thinking if I continue down this path and put put the work, I need to put into working with this person, what can the consequences be? Consequences are probably not going to be worse than they are now, consequences are probably going to be even if it's just with me, he might start reacting differently because they're not getting the response that they normally get from people.

So there's that, you know, we mentioned empathy before having empathy for that person. And Jeff, what if I say Jeff, I don't like him. He's a jerk, or she's always always pulled the rug out from underneath me. And so what do you say to that person? Empathy doesn't have anything to do with liking someone? Oh, okay for the Win, Jeff East, You know, it's just like forgiveness. You don't forgive somebody because you like them. You forgive somebody because you need to get out of your system. So, by showing somebody empathy in a way, you're kind of forgiving them for how they're acting. And forgiveness is like, it's not between you and the other person, it's mainly internal for you, that you're not going to have those ill feelings. Yeah. Because in the end, if somebody needs to be forgiven as an individual, the only time that that's really relevant to them is if they've actually asked you for that because otherwise it's really an inside job.

Yeah. And you can't when you show someone empathy, you can't expect them to give it back or to even acknowledge that you're showing it? That's not what it's about that, that that empathy that you're given, that person is keeping you on an even keel, keeping you on the path of emotional intelligence. Yes. And um we can touch on this in a minute about the impact of when we don't show empathy and we don't extend forgiveness. Uh, and when we don't allow how we might feel about someone to get control of us, right? Because if you think about it, it's the only people that you can apply this to are the ones that you like or love. Yeah. It's going to be a pretty small audience. I mean in the end because liking someone can change from day to day, week to week our right.

I mean, depending on how the relationship from where it may be, I mean, because it's easy for me to typically point out where other people are missing the boat, it's much more challenging for me to apply that to myself. What do you think, curiosity for ourselves? Our patterns are behaviors could do to help in that regard. You know, it's funny, we just completed a podcast that that will be out there for everyone and we talked a good bit about reflection. Yeah. And I'm not saying you need to spend hours and hours and hours reflecting, but if you have a have a situation with this person that you know, is giving you the problem, take some time to reflect back on that interaction and just see, could I have done something different. Uh is there a way I could have responded differently to this person or think about maybe what's going on with that person? They may be having something bad happening to them that is causing them to be this way.

So just more often than not, isn't that the case? I mean, there's some issues, some trauma, some event that happened. They could have an ill parent, they could have marital problems. The border directors maybe saying if you don't show a 50% profit this month, you know, whatever it is, you don't know that. And that's where the empathy is so important because you're giving them the benefit of the doubt. Yeah. And and by empathy, if you're showing someone empathy, at least in your own mind, you're giving them worth. So Jeff, they've maybe made it very clear after numbers of years that they're not going to change. However, if the person who is growing their emotional intelligence continues to do that, The value is not based on 1, 2 or three people who are not emotionally intelligent. Even if they have sort of appointed power, right? Yeah. I think this person that's not willing to change or doesn't have the tools doesn't have an understanding of why it's important, Whatever that is, your emotional intelligence comes into play for your own safety or your own peace of mind?

You recognize that this person is just not going to change, but I can still maybe change the outcome by practicing my emotional intelligence. Um You mean as a coping skills, as a coping coping skill, manage the relationship to manage it. Yes. Uh you know, you you use some of the competencies like recognizing patterns. I know this is going to happen when this happens. This is the way this person acts. So I'm ready for it. I'm not they're still going to do it, but I hate to say it this way, but I can't think of another way to say it. They can't help it. Mm Okay, so it's just like if you're swimming in the ocean and there's a shark, you know, it's gonna bite you so you take what you can to protect yourself precaution. So there's that other thing um I mentioned john McWhorter earlier in the episode and in that podcast that I was looking at, I'm going to throw out the recommendation.

That is very, very important to get into a habit of regular reflection and what what I find is that people do misunderstand that idea. Sometimes. I think they do think Jeff, it's like you're recommending that they spend hours meditating reflection. Could be that, but reflection also can happen in seconds. Seconds, Right? I mean the idea of okay, uh because we understand that some people are not in a position, they're not in a role in life or maybe there's a situation where you have an inordinate amount of time to reflect, But I think it's like what we've talked about so often about this building of a practice, right? If you have a practice of reflection, it might be for 10 seconds, it might be for 10 minutes, it might be for 10 hours, but it's a part of what you do um absence of that. If you're not reflecting, you're going to kind of be on autopilot, right?

Yeah. And then you're going to be solely relying on your patterns then mm Unwrap that a little more um your neural pathways, whatever you wanna call it, you're relying on you said autopilot. Uh huh. It's going to take the same course every time, you know, this is what I've done before, so I'm going to do it again. Um despite what the consequences are, despite what the result is, it's it's going to be the same thing and by reflection, that's when you can start, okay, when this happens, I need to start thinking of it in a different way. I need to start taking a different path or the neural pathway. I need to build a new one and then that curiosity thing comes in as you're right, you learn, you know when this person does this, this is however how I've reacted in the past and it hasn't been a good result. Okay, so I reflect on that, Okay, so what can I try next, okay, the next time this happens, I'm just going to say, okay, that doesn't mean you're getting trampled down.

You just say, okay, we'll take care of that or whatever the, you know, needs to be said and then you start building on that and hopefully you'll start defusing that person because some people that are acting like that kind of like the confrontation. Yeah, they're personality types that do thrive on that kind of conflict. That's how they get their energy. And what I've discovered is when I've dealt with people like that, when I don't give them that energy, they treat me differently, usually in a much better way. Yeah. So there's another tip within that, another thing that I would throw out Jeff is this idea of and I don't remember exactly. That was a movie and I think I probably referenced this before and one of our episodes, it's a simple question, Is this making my life better? Yes. And I don't know why that was so profound to me outside of its simplicity because it just cuts right through.

It's like is if it's making my life better, I'm probably onto something really good, I should keep doing it. If I don't know, probably pushes me toward why isn't it? And then if the answer is no, it's not making my life better, then that's a call. You need to do something, you need to reflect and evaluate, um I know in some Addiction Realms, you know, with the 12 step programs that there is that sort of uh how's that working for you, right? Um Yeah, I think if we could practice that dynamic of is what I'm doing is what I'm saying is how I'm acting, Is it making my life better? That's one of the simplest ways I could think of to get to get to that place of where, you know, I need to reflect on this and again, I wanna stress to you and I've used this with clients, right? It's like, okay, why don't you start off with one day a week, You're going to spend 10 minutes evaluating what it is.

You've endeavored to do your vision, your mission, your goals, whatever. Um and then you work up to something else. Maybe you work up to, it's now not one day, it's book ends, you know, the first day of the week, in the last day of the week, whatever is your rhythm, whatever works for you. But like so much else and and exercises the wonderful analogy of if you can build up that new or build a new neural pathway, it will become effortless, right? Because we've talked about it, Jeff, our brains are super efficient and they're taxed because there's so much energy and there's so much call upon our brains to do this work. It's always looking to make things efficient, if not easy for you, but you know, you find that if you're a person that complains, for example, your brain can make you really good at complaining. Oh yeah, as the opposite.

If you're someone that typically builds people up with your, with your words, your brain can make you really good at that and I have no one. I I it was a video from josh Friedman uh about the how the brain works that really kind of prompted me going, you know, um I really do have a lot of control here because if, if I commit myself after reflection, curiosity, my brain will eventually get to the place where it will make like that. I mean, it's like go, you're gonna, we're gonna do this well all the time. Um and again, the flip side of that coin is if I've got some really bad habits are really bad tendencies or whatever the case may be, it can make me really good at it. It's just really powerful. Um any other ideas tips for those who may be encountering the folks that are not, I think we've covered a lot of the things that we need to think about, but I think pay attention to the empathy, you know, try to to give them the space and don't take it personally.

Ah there are more than more than maybe they are, but more than likely you're not the catalyst for them acting that way. It's other things around them. So that almost implies that if you weren't standing there in front of them and it was somebody else, they would get that same and you'll know if if you've made a mistake and they get mad about it, okay, that that's okay, that's on me, I made that mistake, but we don't know what's going on inside other people's heads. Yeah. And I also would say, Jeff, you know, as you just prompted me in this this idea about self knowledge and understanding who we are, right? Um, because I do believe our culture has kind of moved to that place of where and maybe it's social media, that there's this big audience that's with us wherever we go, and whatever we do. And I know you're carrying your smartphone with you in some ways that could very well be true. But the reality of it is is even if you've got thousands of followers and you get tons of likes and tons of comments all glowing or what have you at the end of the day, in many respects, it is you it's really, you it's what you are becoming.

It's kind of that dance that you can only do alone again, we're not anti social media, but it's sort of the order of things, why not be an emotionally intelligent person and then get thousands of followers and likes and what have you, because then I think your perspective on that kind of thing changes just as it is with other human beings, right? Not everybody is going to be emotionally intelligent. Not everyone's going to behave emotionally intelligent. And Lord knows, um we've talked about this, you know, we can share our skeletons in the closet at some point on an episode of times when we've not operated and behaved in an emotionally intelligent way. So I think there's that empathy to realize that with other people. But then it's also again, this idea of, remember this is working on you. Yeah, we, we once again, I'm gonna go back to the podcast, we just recorded before this 11 of the few things that you have control of is how you're going to react.

Yeah, exactly. You do have a say in that matter. That's one of the everything else has other things that's going to influence them, but you have control of how you're going to respond to a situation, Jeff. I couldn't think of a better way to end our episode. That's that's a that's a great one to tie the ribbon. Everyone, we do appreciate you tuning in. We look forward to when we're together Again, take care. Hi everyone. This is eric Pennington, with the spirit of Eq. I'm not introducing a new episode today, I'm here to tell you some things that might help you, Jeff, you're with me as always. So how do people get in touch with us? Well, the best way is just send us an email at info at Spirit of eq dot com. That's awesome. Jeff. I was also thinking about reviews and I'm notoriously bad at asking for them. So reviews on all the platforms, wherever you get your podcasts, you think that'd be good. I think that would be great because one that will help us learn how to make better ones and it's always good for us.

So we're not the perfect podcast host. We're close, okay, But we want your feedback, we want your feedback, but it also might let us know a new subject. We need to dig deeper into that. So let us know what you think. Cool, we really appreciate that. It's always too there is social media linkedin facebook and we also have a Youtube channel. Those also have mechanisms or options for you to be able to leave a comment a like those kind of things. I just want to make sure that you know how to get in touch with us. Right, Jeff. Right. We appreciate you all. Thank you gentlemen.

I'm Emotionally Intelligent. Why Isn't Everyone Else?
I'm Emotionally Intelligent. Why Isn't Everyone Else?
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