Good Morning, Friends!
“Sir, I have already told you once,” she said. I could feel my blood beginning to boil and rushing to my head. The tops of my ears were burning, and my cheeks were flush. With a tight jaw, I said, “Yes, I know, but you are NOT listening to me.” I placed added emphasis on the word not.
“Well, what do you want me to do?” she asked. In that split second, I envisioned myself flying over her desk, picking her up, and body slamming her into the tile floor. I was making my run to the elevator and going to the eighth floor. It was a scene out of any “Die Hard” movie. Orderlies, no problem! Cops, no problem! No matter what, I was getting to the eighth floor.
Fortunately, I caught my breath and said, “can you get someone that might be able to help me?” She pointed me in the direction of the reception counter.
As I made my way over to the receptionist, I had time to calm down and reassess the situation. As we made eye contact, I said, “I need your help. Last night my wife was placed into hospice care. She is dying of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. And I need to see her.”
Within a few minutes, I was sitting by my wife’s side, holding her hand. No extended scene from “Die Hard.” And most importantly, I was not in some jail cell.
Have you ever been in this kind of situation? A situation where no one was willing to understand what you were thinking, what you needed, what you were trying to say, or, more importantly, what you were feeling? We all have faced a moment when we interact with someone who lacks empathy and emotional intelligence. Sometimes, their interaction with us shapes and affects our reaction, but must it impact our response? I think not.
Yes, I was hijacked. My only concern was my wife’s health and her comfort, and nothing else mattered. My stress level was through the roof, and I handle stress exceptionally well. It would have been understandable if I lost my composure with the receptionist. And I might have gotten what I wanted, but what would I have lost in the process?
The short walk from the desk to the counter allowed me to recenter myself. I caught my breath and allowed my logical thinking brain to activate. Let me tell you; it wasn’t easy. But I was able to rethink how I would approach the next person for help. I was able to respond versus react.
With a changed demeanor, I approached the receptionist. Did my new approach affect her reaction? Absolutely! With a system designed to prevent the spread of COVID, she found a way for me to be by my wife’s side. She went out of her way to make it happen. Would she have reacted differently if I lost my cool? Most likely.
Our ability to control our emotional reactions and allow a thoughtful response is the primary difference between being an effective leader at best and being an Intentional Leader.
[VIDEO] Inside Out – Emotional Intelligence
My opening story demonstrates the powerful impact of both emotional intelligence and its absence. Psychology Today defines emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.”
In many ways, you’ve been practicing this throughout your entire life. Sometimes to great success and sometimes to exceptional learning moments. To manage your responses skillfully, you need to know who you are, what you value, and why you feel the way you do. You need to have a healthy ego so you can be honest and clear about what’s happening in your inner world.
But self-management is only half of the emotional intelligence process. The other half is understanding how to work with others’ emotions and responses to help them feel empowered, valued, and connected. I recently came across the Pixar movie, Inside Out. It is an absolute gem, and all Intentional Leaders must add this to their viewing library.
Take two minutes to watch this Inside Out scene about emotional intelligence. You won’t be disappointed.
[VIDEO] Emotional Theory Comes Alive
In this edition of Leading From The Edge, I am offering you a double feature video extravaganza. In the newest video essay from the Nerdwriter, they look at emotional intelligence and how Paul Ekman’s model for seven basic emotions provided a blueprint for Inside Out characters’ development. This video is a great companion piece to the movie Inside Out, or you can watch the 9-minute video on its own.
By the Numbers
90% of top performers score high on emotional intelligence; only 20% of low performers score high on emotional intelligence. The more emotionally intelligent you are, the more likely you will be a top performer and find significant success as an Intentional Leader. Check out this great blog, Emotional Intelligence — What Do the Numbers Mean?, which discusses the impact of emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Responding Versus Reacting
When challenges come up, we can respond deliberately, from the stable foundation of our core values, purpose, and vision, rather than merely reacting in the moment. I think replacing the word “react” with “respond” makes the following quote more powerful.
Our circumstances do not define us. We are defined by how we respond to the events of our life.
- April 12: “Personal Mastery: Your Journey to a Lasting Legacy” keynote presentation for the Grand Master Visitation to his Mother Lodge (Redwood Lodge #35 AF&AM)
- It is official! My new book “The Intentional Leader: How Inner Authority Can Unleash Strong Leadership” is scheduled for release on November 11, 2021.