Archives for the month of: April, 2012

The Boston marathon took place last week on one of the hottest days in its history.  Having run it in 2003, I have some appreciation for what it takes to qualify and to complete it.  More than a marathon, it is metaphor, which is why many people do it.

Emblazoned across the 2003 poster that hangs in our workout room is a phrase that I see every time I step onto the treadmill.  Everything you ever needed to know about yourself you can learn in 26.2 miles.

Some of the lessons to be learned by extending oneself physically include: setting personal goals for the event; discovering the training discipline that works for you to meet those goals; persevering through the days when you don’t feel like it; listening to what your body is telling you; and stretching your body to do more than it ever has before.  At some point you realize that the physical challenges are really just the tools for training your mind to be positive in attitude and consistent in effort.

Each of us has much to learn from our own versions of 26.2 miles.  What are your metaphors?  Starting your own business?  Releasing a fear that has defined you most of your life?  Committing to a relationship?  Raising children?  Caring for animals?  Speaking from the podium or performing on stage?  And what are the small steps you are taking each day to build your attitude and effort for success?

Whatever your marathon, I encourage you to embrace it whole heartedly, and I salute you for going for it!  Stretching your comfort zone in service to your purpose and passion can provide everything you ever needed to know about yourself.

This past week I learned to administer the EQ-i 2.0, a leading assessment of emotional intelligence (EI). During my training I came across a stunning statistic: 72% of the reasons leaders fail are attributable to their neglect of two factors – interpersonal relationships and self-management.  These are building blocks of emotional intelligence.

In his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith identifies 20 specific behaviors that senior leaders often exhibit to their detriment.  Below are a few examples.  Do any of them sound familiar?

  • Adding too much value: the overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.
  • Making destructive comments: the needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.
  • Passing judgment: : the need to rate others and impose our standards on them.
  • Speaking when angry: using emotional volatility as a management tool.
  • Refusing to express regret: the inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.

Whether we are in formal leadership positions or “merely” leading our lives, we do well to pay attention to the ways we manage ourselves and the impact of our behavior on others.

We can begin by identifying one habit that we would like to change.  We can then ask ourselves, what is one small step I can take to begin changing it?  Then, as Marshal Goldsmith prescribes for the CEOs whom he coaches, we can “go public” by telling the person(s) most affected that we are committed to changing that behavior.  Finally, we can ask for their support by gently reminding us when we fall short and affirming us as we change.  Doesn’t this process seem like the emotionally intelligent thing to do?