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Are You Pursuing Happiness as a Leader

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. … ~ The United States Declaration of Independence.

Happiness is something most of us strive for, and in fact, feel we deserve to have. After all, our Declaration of Independence references “certain unalienable Rights, that among these … the pursuit of Happiness.”

So what does it mean to pursue happiness? When we think of pursuing something, we usually mean we’re going after something we don’t already have.  In Marci Shimoff’s book, Happy for No Reason, she says that in Thomas Jefferson’s time, “to pursue something meant to practice that activity, to do it regularly, to make a habit of it.” There’s a huge difference between chasing after happiness and practicing happiness.  When we chase after happiness, we’re coming from a perspective of lack – we don’t have the thing that we want. But when we practice happiness, we’re active participants in making ourselves even happier.

So how can we practice happiness? In Bruce D. Schneider’s interview, “How to Be Unreasonably Happy,” he goes over 10 keys to happiness, which he also describes in more detail in iPEC’s Law of Being program.

The first key is to know that you can weather your moods. Like the weather, your moods are always changing. Recognizing and accepting your moods and knowing they will change is important to “being happiness.”

If you realize this, when you are up, you can fully appreciate the moments of pure pleasure. Instead of being disappointed when your great mood doesn’t last, you know not only won’t it last, but it’s not supposed to, and so you can appreciate it while it does.

When you are down, you also know it won’t last, and because of that, you can weather the low feelings. If you are really down, know that your natural balance will soon bring you up. From a very high level perspective, you can now appreciate the downs, for you’ll know each of life’s experiences are opportunities to appreciate the gifts life bring us.

So next time you have a great day – or a “bad” one – appreciate it for what it is, know it won’t last, and know that perspective will put you well on your way to pursuing happiness.

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. ~ Guillaume Apollinaire

For more information on leadership or the Law of Being program, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.

Self-Forgiveness

Stop focusing on your past mistakes. Don’t be ashamed of the things that you’ve done. We ALL have made mistakes. Don’t you see? All of those things helped shape you into the beautiful person you are today! Hold your head up high because you didn’t allow your past mistakes to consume you. You learned! You conquered! You became a better YOU. Be proud of who you are TODAY! ~ Stephanie Lahart

Last week’s blog discussed forgiveness, and how forgiving other people releases our judgment in order to allow ourselves to move forward. This week, we’ll take a look at self-forgiveness, an infinitely more difficult, involved, and yet potentially rewarding process.

How many of us beat ourselves up, over and over again, about – well – everything?! “I should have done this differently or better”, “I shouldn’t have done that at all”, “I shouldn’t have said what I did”, “I should have expressed what I really felt”. “If only I were a better person (mother, father, spouse, friend, coworker, boss) I’d have reacted differently”, “if only I had studied harder”, “if only I had cared more”, “if only I had cared less”. “Why didn’t I take a stand”, “why didn’t I reach out to a friend”? Should have, shouldn’t have, if only, why didn’t I…. you can fill in your own words here. However you phrase the thoughts that you castigate yourself with, it’s catabolic energy that keeps you stuck and holds you back.

We have an easier time forgiving other people than we do ourselves, because we don’t personalize other people’s actions as much. It’s often easier to feel compassion towards others, because we can rationalize that they were doing the best they could at the time (which is true!). But it’s more difficult to extend that compassion toward ourselves.

When our inner critics tell us that we’re not good enough and that we’ve done something wrong, many of us believe the words they speak to us. It’s tough to forgive yourself if, at your core, you believe you’re not good enough. Self-forgiveness begins when you allow yourself to understand that you are good enough and that in fact, you’re perfect. Bruce D Schneider, founder of the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) defines perfection as “unique unto itself.” So each of us is perfect, and although we sometimes do, say, or think things we wish we hadn’t, a key to self-forgiveness is not to judge ourselves because of that – to have compassion for ourselves. Instead, when we notice that something doesn’t really feel good, we can look at it as an opportunity to grow and say, “What is it that I’m doing here that doesn’t fit me? What’s not working here for me?” and then, to simply make an adjustment.

Highly conscious people see things that don’t work out and grow from their experiences. They don’t give heed to, and in fact, many don’t even hear, that inner critic. They listen instead to their inner genius. However, people with a lot of catabolic energy have their deepest fears reinforced when the inner critic talks and so they continue the cycle of self-blame. Isn’t it time to break the cycle? In the words of Saint Francis de Sales…

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

For more information on leadership, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.

How Emotionally Intelligent are You as a Leader?

 

If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. ~ Daniel Goleman

 

Emotions don’t belong in the workplace – or do they? It depends on who you ask! If you ask catabolic leaders, they’re likely to agree. And anabolic leaders have a different point of view – they understand that emotions can’t be left at the office door. Our comparison between anabolic and catabolic leaders continues with an exploration of how aware they are of their own and others’ emotions, how they express their emotions, and how they manage or control them in the work environment.

Awareness, expression, and management of emotion are the three main aspects of emotional intelligence. In the Energy Leadership Development System™, emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to distinguish, understand, and have an awareness of how thoughts and feelings connect with outward displays and behaviors, as well as the ability to manage and express appropriate emotions and help others do the same.

Let’s look at each of these three components of EI and see how they are different in catabolic and anabolic leaders.

Awareness

Catabolic – Not only are these leaders unaware of their own emotions, but they are unaware of other people’s emotions as well. They’re also unaware of the effect they have on others.

Anabolic – These leaders are not only aware of their and other’s emotions, but they’re able to step back and recognize that their emotions are not automatic (emotions arise from interpretations). They also look for clues in their emotions, asking questions such as “Why did I have this response, and what can I learn from this?”

Expression

Catabolic – Many catabolic leaders have a limiting belief that expressing emotions should not be done in the workplace. They don’t want people to see their emotions, and don’t want to deal with the emotions of others. When they do express emotions, they often express them inappropriately, for example, by yelling or rolling their eyes.

Anabolic – Anabolic leaders understand that emotions are a part of each of us, and that they can’t be “turned off” at will. They know how to appropriately express their emotions, at the appropriate time. By sharing, acknowledging, and validating, they create an environment in which their co-workers and staff feel valued and understood.

Management

Catabolic – Catabolic leaders can’t manage their own emotions, and therefore, the people around them don’t look to them in times of crisis for guidance and support. They tend to be frustrated, angry, and resentful, and this is apparent to everyone.

Anabolic – Anabolic leaders have the ability to manage their own moods and to help other people shift to more positive moods. They also are able to control their own emotions, even during stressful situations. They respond, instead of react, and their generally calm attitude promotes a positive work environment.

Emotional intelligence is directly related to interpersonal effectiveness. The higher your emotional intelligence, the more effective leader and communicator you will be. For a further discussion of how the two are related, see the report on EI=IE, available at www.iPECcoaching.com/energyleadershipbonuses. In addition, the Energy Leadership Development System contains an entire section on Emotional Intelligence, and gives useful and easily implemented strategies for increasing EI.

How are you showing your emotional intelligence as a leader?

For more information on the Energy Leadership Development System, call us at 682.200.1412 or Info@ApexLeadershipCoaching.com.

As a Leader How Self-Aware are You?

You’re walking down the hall fuming because your boss just yelled at you … again. One of your employees pops up with a question they’ve asked three times before. How do you respond?

Do you blow up at them? Do you ignore them? Do you stop, pause, and respond?

IQ used to be the measuring stick of how well people would succeed in business. However, since Daniel Goleman’s work in Emotional Intelligence (EQ), research now shows that IQ only contributes about 20% of our success factors. Much of the rest of it is EQ!

Dr. Goleman asserted that “The criteria for success at work are changing. We are being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other. This yardstick is increasingly applied in choosing who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who retained, who passed over and who promoted…”

Let’s talk about how we can begin to: Understand the needs and feeling of ourselves and other people; Manage our own feelings; and Respond to others in appropriate ways. This, by the way, is the definition of “Emotional Intelligence” (EQ).

To understand more about Understanding, Managing, and Responding with Emotional Intelligence, check out the blog I wrote for Plaid for Women recently. You can also listen to a radio show I did for Plaid for Women Radio expanding on the topic.

Share some of your emotionally intelligent experiences with us. We would love to hear them!