Perhaps you’ve asked yourself this question in the past few years, or asked someone else whom you thought might have the answer. You’re wondering what you can hang on to, where you can find an anchor, or at least a marker bouy, in a world that’s never the same, and more not the same all the time.

I remember about ten years ago having a conversation with a minister. I was consulting for the church, spend a lot of time on-site, and also was experiencing a relatively chaotic time in my personal life. I had my own business and was consulting for a variety of organizations and the people and issues were hard to reconcile. At the same time, I was raising children ten years apart in age, and as the second one entered middle school, I found that the milieu had changed dramatically. I didn’t know any of the other parents, all the other mothers were now working outside the home so there was no supervision after school except mine, as I could arrange my own schedule,
and this teen, I was raising as a single parent.

At the same time, the many parishioners I listened to at the church were living what would’ve been called “lives of quiet desperation” a decade prior, but now might be termed lives of “noisy” desperation.

"I’m having trouble getting a grip," I told the minister.

Her reply? “Everyone is. If only people could hear what other people say, when they talk to me about. We’re all in the same boat of confusion and rapid change."

So there is the common denominator? We are all experiencing the same thing? How can this be, when the problem is that the particulars are all so different? I was working daily with – to use generalizations and labels – southerners and northerners, seniors and teens, Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, singles and marrieds, parents and DINKs, people from all walks of life. That was ten years ago.

Now we can add to the mix that many of the people we’ll work with and socialize with weren’t born in this country, or have parents who weren’t, and the multitude of nationalities represented, with the attendant cultures, religions and ethnic backgrounds has proliferated. Today we can count on, in the workplace and in our neighborhoods, a dizzying revolving door of these same people as they’re downsized, relocated, ex-patriated or re-
nationalized…or we are.

The true common denominator I’ve found, since I work internationally and get to meet and know people from many different countries, is that we’re all having feelings about these things.

The common denominator for all people is emotions. We all have them. In fact, if you think about it, when you’re faced with someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you do, we often revert to the primitive feelings level. We make a gesture to say how hot it is outside; or we grimace and point to our feet, to show they hurt; or we point to the spectacular sunset and show an expression of awe. And we begin with a big smile, showing our teeth, in the ancient gesture of disarmament, because fear of strangers is innate. If we show our teeth, we can’t be biting with them, and if we extend our hand, palm exposed, we can’t be concealing a weapon.

We revert to the sort of communication we use with infants and babies. We vocalize about what’s right in front of us (a bright ball, the sun in the sky, a ceiling fan whirling around) and we use our hands, faces, noises, and posture to comment about this. Like the dog wagging its tail, we do what we can to connect and engage, because this, too, is innate. We reach out to the other regarding the physical world in relation to feelings about it, and this limbic connection (referring to the limbic brain) we share with all humans (and all mammals), and we rely on what’s called our emotional intelligence.

I train and certify emotional intelligence coaches all over the world. Part of the program is reading and study, and part is the weekly phone session. A “typical” group might include a medical doctor from France, a marketing professional from D. C., a consultant from Malaysia, a business owner from Singapore, a personal life coach from Texas, and a psychometric specialist from the UK who works for a human resources consultancy.

What do they all have in common? They want to learn how to coach others in EQ and to improve their own.

How do I start the sessions? With The EQ Checkin™ : “How are you feeling emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually?”

The French doctor is excited about his work in “energetic medicine”. The UK psychometrist is mentally “keen”, as she finds EQ to be “spot-on.” The personal life coach from Texas wants “us all” (“Y’all”) to know her leg is healing and she’s feeling better physically. The gentleman from Singapore says that emotionally he’s “reflective”, because he thinks if he hadn’t said thus-and-such to his wife, the marriage might have been saved. The consultant from Malaysia says that she doesn’t know how to answer “this spirituality question,” and the marketing professional from D. C. says, “I don’t either.”

The accents are different, the speed and amount of the speech varies, and some of the words are regional, but the answers are immediately comprehensible. There is the bond. We all know what it’s like to feel -- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And we all have, or have had, or will have, physical pain, broken hearts, professional enthusiasm, and
questions about spirituality.

The more things change, and the greater the number and variety of the cultures we deal with, the more important our emotional intelligence becomes. Study it, learn applications, and increased your skills. It’s not what’s going on that throws us, it’s how we think and feel about it that does, and, as the Chinese say: “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name.” Self-awareness is the cornerstone of EQ, and emotional
expression, empathy, flexibility and resilience are some of the competencies.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, . Coaching, Internet courses, ebooks and business program around emotional inttelligence for your wellness and success.

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