Thursday, September 10, 2015

Things I learned at Education Week 2015

How Emotional Intelligence can Increase Your Confidence and Protect Personal Boundaries
During Education Week this year I attended two series of classes taught by Richard Himmer, a leadership coach with a PhD in Organizational Psychology who has a coaching practice in Gig Harbor, Washington. Without a doubt his classes had the most profound influence on my life.  His ideas have application in all areas of life.  His work and ideas are geared toward not just executives, managers, employers and employees but also and just as importantly to spouses, parents, grandparents and leaders of any organization including and maybe especially religious organizations.  I have been able to see so many things that I can do differently to develop stronger interpersonal relationships built on mutual trust and respect.  I want to share what I’ve learned with anyone interested.  I would love it if I could help others avoid the mistakes I have made. Preconceived beliefs and an inability to recognize the behaviors that sabotage our communication efforts are often the byproduct of our family of origin.  It’s likely that I’ve passed many challenges on to my children. 
Obviously just because I sat through 8 hours of classes where this topic was discussed doesn’t make me proficient.  I have a long way to go to practice and apply the principles that were taught so fast I could hardly keep up with them in class.  I bought a book and a workbook that I hope to use to help me.

So here I go to summarize some of the things I learned in the first class on Tuesday:

Happiness comes from Interpersonal Relationships that are built on mutual trust and respect which is the same as saying that Happiness comes from Interpersonal Relationships that are emotionally intimate and interdependent.  Happiness comes as you learn how to connect with another person on a deep level.

Learning how to do this requires becoming “self-aware”.  We are not usually aware of self; not observant.  We should look in the mirror more often rather than look at the other person.
A very helpful thing to say would be “I know I’m not doing something right. Would you share your opinion about it?”

NEVER give an unsolicited opinion. It will likely be perceived as criticism. Watch carefully for the urge to foment an opinion on someone else.  Be aware and change.  We are concerned with being right way too often.

[The scriptures teach us that it is vitally important to our salvation to be able to see things as they really are and that the Spirit will teach us what we need to know.  We can pray to be taught the things we need to know about ourselves – to see things as they really are – to understand what we need to do differently.

[Jacob 4:13, one of my favorite scriptures says  “. . . for the Spirit speaketh the truth and lieth not. Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be; wherefore, these things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. . . ”

[And 2 Nephi 32:5  For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.”]

The next thing we need to learn is how to “self-regulate”.  The definition of self-regulation is communicating feelings, beliefs and thoughts openly, and defending personal rights and values in a socially acceptable, non-offensive and non-destructive manner.

Self-regulation = assertiveness.  There is no advantage to passivity.  The passive voice is seldom heard and their happiness level is low. Every family has a peacemaker and that can be as big a problem as the bully.

In any conflict, we usually have the same goal but a different idea about how to get there.  Its ok to disagree.  Conflict is about what is right.  Contention is about who is right and that’s where the destruction happens in a relationship.

Instead of trying to persuade to my way of thinking we should focus on trying to make sense of things, trying to understand instead of trying to be right.  My opinion is rarely necessary, needed or important. What is important is to listen and to learn and to try to understand.  My immaculate perception is based on my previous experiences.  It is not absolute truth.  It is perceived truth.  Self-awareness is realizing where I’m coming from.

The natural reaction is to defend ourselves.  That reaction sends a signal to the bully – “please kick me harder.” They will push back.  Bullies love to see you squirm.  They love to make people feel miserable.  Instead of defending yourself ask a question.  It disarms the bully. Bullies are closet cowards.  When you ask an open ended question it creates a neutral position.  In a neutral mode you take control of the conversation. You arm yourself.

Seek Understanding. Become a life-long learner. Study Universal principles and study to see how I can change.

Most relationship troubles consist of 1 or more people who can’t empathize.  The correct definition of Empathy is the ability to articulate your understanding of another’s perspective.  In conversation, let it be about the other person.  It’s not about me – get “me” [I] out of the conversation.  Ask questions about them. Telling about my woes doesn’t help someone feel empathized with.  Example - “I know how you feel because . . .[this is what happened to me]

Trauma in childhood comes when parents don’t connect because they are too busy or unable to for whatever reason.  Do you want to give someone a gift? LISTEN!  Do you want to connect to another person? Learn how to connect about them. Authenticity is a key ingredient.

“The greatest gift you can give somebody is your own personal development.” – Jim Rohn.  Most people silently think: “If you will behave in a manner that fits my perceptions and give me permission to correct you when necessary – we’ll be happy”.   Far better to say “ I’ll take care of me for you and trust that you’ll take care of you for me.”  And then focus on yourself.

Emotional Intimacy = Trust and Respect.  Unsolicited criticism isn’t constructive.  It isn’t helpful. A safe space is required first.  Don’t offer opinions unless asked.

Happiness is contingent upon self-awareness.