The A Word: Define Normal Please

Just call me The Cow Whisperer

Firstly, this month I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who reads and shares my blog.  For the last two months I’ve found myself in the UK top 5% of “viewed blogs” so a great achievement, especially as I’m continuing to raise awareness of autoimmune diseases.

Since last month’s blog, I feel like some normality is returning.  I’ve received my 2nd jab complete with the complementary headache and aching arm.  I’ve been to the dentist, spent time with our grandchildren, watched Jamie play 2 games of cricket, spent time with friends, had my hair cut, been to the pub, had a rheumatology appointment, and watched all episodes of Line of Duty with the other 12 million Brits.  I won’t ruin it in case you haven’t watched it, but I was a tad disappointed with the big reveal of “H”, and, whilst I’m having a moan, what is going on with this arctic weather?  I love the British people though, we’re all outside in the freezing cold or pouring rain, drinking cold beer, and eating cold food and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.  In fact, on the morning the pubs opened their gardens, it was snowing!  Anyway, we might have to get used to it as it seems pretty clear to me its going to be bloody difficult to go to the Med 😊. 

This month, I’ve decided to rabbit on about a subject that has helped me enormously in my career and my personal life, emotional intelligence.  Personally, I often think that having a high EQ is just as important as a high IQ which, in my case, is just as well. 

As my career involved selling technology solutions into the Financial services sector, the type of organisations I worked for often used psychometric analysis as a way of finding their required profile.  I’ve done many different tests over the years and whilst they’ve shown up some of my more weird and wonderful traits, I’ve generally produced results showing that I’m the lucky owner of a high EQ.

So what is emotional intelligence?  Simply put, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. 

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularise emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it.  Jamie and I also use these five key elements as a way of identifying really good sales and sales management candidates in our executive search business. I’ve also written a number of white papers on this subject too which I’m happy to share. The five elements are:-

  • Self-awareness.
  • Self-regulation.
  • Motivation.
  • Empathy.
  • Social skills.

But what do they mean?

Self-awareness is ability to recognise your emotions and understand the potential impact of your behaviour on others.   Self-regulation is not only identifying emotions but managing them as well. It’ like a social insurance policy, that can prevent you from getting yourself into difficult situations, rather than necessitating damage control after you explode and attempt to pick up the pieces!  I’m not saying I’ve never exploded but I am aware I’m exploding (if you get my meaning 😊)

Motivation is easier to spot. Motivated people thrive when pushing themselves to do something they didn’t think they could do, like run a marathon. Think of entrepreneurs launching a business. A founder will dedicate all of their free time to pursuing a dream that may never materialise, yet they are propelled in their endeavor by a sense of passion and belief in what they are doing.  I’ve had the pleasure to work with a number of serial entrepreneurs and they’re such inspirational people.

In my opinion, the 4th trait, Empathy, is the most important. It about having the ability to identify and understand how another person is feeling and imagine yourself in that person’s situation. Empathetic people make an effort to make someone feel better. They are open to viewpoints beyond their own and avoid making judgments. 

Last but not least are Social Skills; probably my weakest trait in the EQ assessment criteria.  Sometimes I don’t feel like being sociable, I enjoy quiet time and I’m OK with my own company too.  However, it’s always been an important part of my job.  People with great social skills make others feel valued and understand the importance of sincere connections both in business and personal interactions.  I’ve had some great nights out with clients and hopefully they still remember me 😊. 

There are many different opinions about whether EQ can be learned or whether it’s a natural part of your personality.  The jury is out for me but if you want more info, don’t hesitate to drop me a note as I’ve spent a lot of time studying EQ behaviour.

Finally this month, and in my quest to raise awareness of autoimmune disease, I want to talk about Raynaud’s disease.  When you suffer from Raynaud’s you get used to looking like your part Zombie. It affects your blood circulation. When you’re cold, anxious, or stressed, your fingers and toes change colour and look “dead”.  My nose is affected too.  Without getting all medical, there are two types of Raynaud’s, one’s an autoimmune disease and the other isn’t.  Mine is secondary Raynaud’s, the autoimmune version.  It’s certainly become more of a disability with touch screen technology and being outside the pub drinking cold beer doesn’t help!

Until next time, here’s to 17th May when some more “normal” stuff happens.

Lots of love xxx

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