Working on My EQ

September 4, 2009

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I last blogged. This month I’ve been busy coaching and conducting assessments and debriefing on emotional intelligence and personality type, two of my favorite topics. I’ve also been busy consulting on assessments and test construction for a large corporation.

This afternoon I found my way to a small and comfortable neighborhood coffee shop, with jazz playing in the background. It’s one of those rainy days in Kansas City. My hot ginger lemon tea tastes wonderful and has helped to motivate me to pick up with blogging again.

I love rainy days like this where it’s not so cool outside that a jacket is required. The rain is more than a trickle and far less than a torrential downpour. I have some time to think about the events of the past month, to just reflect on my experiences debriefing emotional intelligence assessments to individuals.

I’ve administered and debriefed on the BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory (BarOn EQ-i). Among the five scales measured by the BarOn EQ-i is General Mood, which encompasses Optimism and Happiness. What happens when an individual’s results return showing low optimism and happiness? Some people are surprised by their results. Others are not and tend to agree and self-validate the assessment results. It can be a sensitive subject for people, and sometimes seeing objective and valid assessment results will lead to action.

Developing an action plan and writing in a journal are at least two methods for improving emotional intelligence competencies. Once an action plan is developed, weekly action steps may be implemented. It’s also important to have an accountability partner, a person who holds you accountable for taking the action steps needed to reach short term and long term goals. A coach is one person who makes a great accountability partner, since sometimes those closest to an individual have a vested interest in seeing that the individual does not grow or learn.

Journal writing as another method to improve emotional intelligence competencies allows for reflection, which may lead to self-awareness. Keeping a gratitude journal, recording those things for which you are most grateful, helps put everything in perspective and can improve happiness. A friend once shared with me that if it was really difficult to think of anything, being grateful for clean, running water was a place to start.

This afternoon, I’m grateful for the rain drops, the jazz music, and the hot ginger lemon tea. I’m grateful for the opportunity individuals gave me this month to assess areas like personality type and emotional intelligence, and to put their trust in me to give them strategies to move forward with an action plan to build on their strengths and improve on their areas of enrichment.

I know I have a lot to be grateful for, and I also have a lot to learn. I’m still working on my EQ and probably will be for the rest of my adult life.

Earlier this week I was invited by my friend Jennifer Niehouse, owner of It’s So U! wardrobe consulting, to attend a networking event sponsored by the KC Women’s Network. At first, I was skeptical about attending any event with the word “networking” in it. I’m just as skeptical about attending “singles” events, but that’s another blog.

The presenter, Greg Furstner of Salezworks, discussed tips and techniques for productive networking. When he was finished speaking, I had to ask him, “Isn’t networking really just using people?”

I have been in situations where it’s obvious a person is only interested in talking to those in the room who can do him some good, or help him accomplish his own agenda. I’ve also seen and heard friends of mine who are work-from-home moms feel dismissed by people when they don’t have a “business” to discuss. That can be a huge mistake, from my perspective.

Greg Furstner clarified for me the difference between effective networking and just using people in a calculating way. As one strategy to getting to know a potential referral source or point of contact for networking, Greg suggests asking questions, which really just shows your interest in the other person. For example, asking a person, “What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?” would probably not make anyone feel used.

10,000 Steps

May 1, 2009

This week I purchased a pedometer, which tracks my number of steps. The American Heart Association recommends taking 10,000 steps a day for health benefits.

I started thinking about how and why it’s become a challenge for people to find the time to walk.

I thought about my grandfather, my Papa Joe, who died at the age of ninety-nine in fairly good health, when I was sixteen-years-old. Papa Joe came to the United States from Italy in the late 1800s. (Yes, that’s right. I’m a Gen-Xer, and I’m still old enough to have a grandfather who was born in the late 1800s.) My grandfather didn’t drive a car. He walked every day, sometimes to the store or the bakery, and sometimes just to visit neighbors. He kept a garden in the backyard, and maintained rose bushes and a fig tree in his front yard. I can’t help but think his daily activities and functional fitness kept him young.

As much as fast food and convenience stores might save us time in the short term, our modern communities are designed around long commutes. Most houses are built with decks instead of front porches, where neighbors used to congregate and visit and watch their kids play.  Most people don’t plant vegetable gardens in their backyards. Maybe we can all take a cue from the White House, and their new vegetable garden. I look forward to hearing more about the garden’s progress.

In the long term, we may not be saving as much time as we think with convenience stores and fast food restaurants.

According to my pedometer, today I walked 9,046 steps, which is about 90% of my goal. I’m just going to keep taking those steps each day until I reach 10,000.

What steps can we all take today to reach our goals in life?