Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to Avoid the Landmines of Thanksgiving

How to Avoid the Landmines of Thanksgiving ... including Thanksgiving Etiquette

The holidays are coming. It means festivities and joy, but it can also mean stress, anger, resentment, family dynamics you're sick of, extra work at the office, grinding travel, amped-up kids, weather problems, and, because of all this stress on your immune system, illness. What can help? Emotional intelligence and etiquette. Etiquette exists to grease the wheels of social interaction, and make the other person feel good. Here are some common dilemmas, what to say, what not to say, and why.

1. The invitation. While you may be waiting for the best offer, your hostess wants to know that she's the best offer. At the same time, you don't want to be left home alone. Sound familiar? BEST RESPONSE: "Yes we'd love to come," (yes please) or "I'm sorry we already have plans," (no thanks) or, (if shopping, have excuse ready) "We'd love to, but I can't say 'yes.' We're waiting to see if Fred's folks are coming. [sigh] You know how that is."

AVOID: "Um ... um ... I don't know. Can I let you know later?"

STRATEGY: If you are shopping for the best deal, have prepared ahead of time a plausible reason (Fred's folks) to delay a response.

2. The hostess replies to the above.

BEST RESPONSE: To 'yes' - "Glad you can come" and give details. To 'n' - "I'm so sorry. Maybe another time." To the 'waiting' - you take the lead here. If you want them to come, say "Well let me know. It's an open invitation. And if Fred's folks come, they're welcome too." If you think they're looking for a better deal and are annoyed, UNinvite them, but do it this way: "Oh, okay then. Maybe another time."

AVOID: Confrontation, as in, "What's the matter? Are you looking for a better deal?" Or losing i: "That's the last time we ever ask you over."

3. The monster-in-law. (weird uncle, abrasive sister, etc.) who picks a fight. Let's say she says, "Oh, [ha ha] I see you still can't be bothered to iron a blouse."

BEST RESPONSE: Ignore it, smile, change the subject. "It's so good to see you. How was the drive?" or "Please pass the mashed potatoes."

AVOID: Taking the bait. Do not get angry and allow yourself to get sucked in to discussing whether a blouse should be ironed, whose business it is what your wear, her mental health, your opinion of her personality, or why she feels she has to bring this up every time. (Bile and pumpkin pie don't go well together!)

4. The game. If watching the game is vitally important to you or your spouse, and you've been invited to someone's house, deal with it -- but subtly.

YOU: "Oh we'd love to come, but Tom has just GOT to see the game at 5 pm." Then your hostess can say that's not a problem, or "Oh, I'm sorry. I understand. I guess we'll have to get together another time."

AVOID: "We won't come unless Tom can watch the game." It's not your event to plan. Also you don't want to overtly suggest that the game means more than an invitation to their house (even though it does).

5. How to keep the guests from staying all day and all night.

THE INVITATION: "We'll be eating before the game, so why don't you come about X. Then it won't have to be a later evening, you know ... the kids ... it's a work night for Al ..."

AVOID: I want everyone out of my house by 7 pm.

6. How to get them to go home once they're there.

BEST TACTIC: When it's time for them to go home, give strong nonverbal signals. Appear to be restless or bored (start fidgeting or look around). Yawn. Get up from your chair and start emptying ash trays. Yawn. Start massaging your tired back. Let the conversation lag. Ask one of the guests, "Do you have to go to work tomorrow?" and glance at your watch.

AVOID: Go home! Leave!!! I worked all day, I'm exhausted, and I have to clean all this up and then go to work in the morning.

7. The parting. When you, the guest with the high EQ, sense it's time to go home, stand up, announce that you must lave, and start heading toward your coat/the door. Your hostess will then say, "Oh, please don't go," or "Must you leave so soon?"

BEST RESPONSE: Insisting you stay is a formality. Ignore it, and take your leave, Because of No. 6, and also because it's always best to leave them wanting more.

AVOID: Taking that literally - that's naive.

ALSO AVOID: Getting into a whole new conversation at the door. Talk as they escort you to your car, or whatever, then thank them again and go home.

8. The gift - should you or shouldn't you? No one's going to refuse a gift, or think ill of you for bringing one, come on! But is it required? No. But it's always welcome.

UNLESS: You bring a food or another item that "one-ups" the hostess or appears to be correcting a fault.

SUCH AS? Such as bringing a fancy gourmet pumpkin pie or (surely dear readers, none of you would do this) a lovely bathroom hand towel when she has never had anything in the guest bath besides paper guest towels).

SO WHAT'S SAFE? A bottle of wine or liqueur, a box of chocolates, or fresh flowers.

9. The cell phone.

BEST ETIQUETTE: Turn your cell phone off or leave it home. Unless you are on-call (I mean like a doctor or therapist). If you are in the position of possibly having to deal with an emergency (say your aged mother is flying to Beirut that day), say that you have this pending, and "I hope everything will be alright, but I might have to take a call." Then set it on vibrate. If it goes off, get up and go off in private to talk.

AVOID: Talking on your cell phone! Pay attention to the real people who are there. This isn't a "virtual" event.

POSSIBLE EXCEPTIONS: Very casual, all-family gatherings where those who couldn't be present call to join in.

10. The conversation. As a guest, it's your job to participate and be pleasant, keep the conversation going, and help everyone have a good time. Make them grateful that you came. You'll get an A+ if you: Smile, and if you have a list of safe and positive topics, the discussion of which makes people feel GOOD (weather, kids, Christmas plans, movies, the new shopping mall, books, travel).

You'll get an F if you: Bring up controversial, tasteless and/or upsetting topics, the discussion of which makes others feel BAD or

UNCOMFORTABLE (your surgery, your mother's ulcerative colitis, Fred's drinking, how hard it was to get there, your divorce, religion, war, politics, your love life, abortion, how depressing and stressful the holidays [your life][Aunt Mary][your work] are, how your sister can't control her kids or your father can't control his tongue, or anything about WEIGHT!. (You get the picture.)

About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, Dating Coach,, . Susan can help you find the partner of your dreams. Individual coaching, ebooks and Internet classes. Susan also certifies coaches worldwide, in a top-rated, fast, effective, comprehensive no-residency program. Email her for fr*e ezine.

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Halloween at the Office

If you're in Florida, in the path of a hurricane, your fears are legitimate and realistic.

Our fears can also be irrational. We recognize this when we see it in others - the child who thinks all dogs bite, or the adult who's afraid to ride in an elevator. When we have a fear like that, we know intellectually it's irrational, but we don't feel that way about it emotionally.

I'm reminded of this as Halloween comes around. My field is Emotional Intelligence (EQ), including EQ at work. I have always written before the December holidays about the emotional issues managers and CEOs must prepare for. They center around religion, which we feel strongly about, one way or another, and how to make everyone happy is a continuing challenge with our growing diversity.

Those feelings are strong, but they can't compare to the fear that generates at Halloween, which is now the second most celebrated holiday in the US.

I'm not a native Texan, and I'll never forget my first Halloween here. The town I moved to is 60% Hispanic, and there's this thing they do where they dress skeletons like a bride and groom. I found this creepy! There's a lot that goes on around Halloween that's creepy, and "creepy" is in the eyes - and minds - of the beholders.

Halloween triggers two things we don't like around an office -- (1) It's "childish," and (2) It's creepy. And each person has their own level of "creepy tolerance."

We can put up a Christmas tree in an office and get little flack, but try putting out a skull and crossbones.

Now I'm going to relate this to the hurricane that is circling around Yucatan as I write, and heading for Florida at the rate of about 5 miles an hour.

For years I refused to take a cruise because someone always invited me in September, "hurricane season." However, I've learned since then that, technically, hurricane season is half the year.

In September of 2003, I was asked to speak on a cruise, and off I went ... into the eye of Hurricane Isabelle.

We didn't know this when we embarked, we only learned about it as rumor and passengers began to get worried. Being quasi-staff, I heard the crew side of it. They weren't concerned about safety as much as extra work. They had to batten down the hatches, calm people, and cancel excursions as they diverted the ship.

Now that's a multi-million dollar ship to consider, so trust me, you're safe. You actually can't be safer than on a cruise ship. Well, I mean you're safe in Boise, Idaho, but as far as where the hurricane might be actually heading. The ship can easily, easily outrun the hurricane. If you're sitting in Key West, or Cozumel, not so. You can't move. Think about it rationally - what does it take to outrun something moving at 5 miles an hour?

In fact my friend tells me that when he was in the navy in Vietnam, they'd duck in and out of a hurricane in order to wash the ship. Five miles an hour, as you know, is very slow.

What happened is we went to Belize instead of Grand Cayman, and encountered some bumpy water and it was windy, but no one was allowed outside, and it basically just made a great story to tell. My fear of cruising during hurricane season was irrational, and when confronted by reality, dispelled. Therefore, when I hear "cruise and hurricane" my emotional reaction is not one of fear. If I were in Key West right now, I would be scared, and my heart goes out to those in the possible path.

There's no feeling that isn't accompanied by a thought, you see. When I hear "hurricane and cruise," my thoughts don't scare me. And looking at two skeleton dolls dressed like a bride and groom isn't going to hurt you, it's the thoughts you're having.

Now how would you feel about going on a cruise when there's a hurricane brewing? Typically my logical explanation and first-hand experience will have had little effect on you. Facts and words, you see, make little difference against fears. You can't reason OUT of someone, something that wasn't reasoned IN to them.

So, back to Halloween, which is fast becoming the second most celebrated holiday in the US: Get your policies in place. Maybe you have a light-hearted crew and run something like a grocery store, where you even encourage employees to dress in costume. Even then you may have to go over the rules of "common decency" (no "dominatrix" costumes!), moderate exposure, and safety.

Or maybe you're like the bank I just visited. Somehow the mortgage dept. had connected skeletons with mortgages, and mounted a promotion with skeletons of all sorts and sizes all over the bank lobby.

How you define "evil" and "satanic," I'm not sure, and you may have to deal with it on an individual basis, even correcting as they show up for the day. Basic guidelines might include:

1. Decent coverage

2. Nothing demonic, or what someone else might consider "evil"

3. Wear something safe - no masks that restrict vision, or clothing that constricts or can catch in machinery or cause you or someone else to trip

4. Get some examples from a site online of what you consider appropriate, and make a list of costumes that are "out." Then ask them to "okay" their costume ideas with you ahead of time.

5. Decorations? Individual cubbies are one thing, and there can be some latitude, but still must remain tasteful. Common areas are another thing. If you're smart, you'll assign someone you trust to "decorate," do it yourself, hire someone, or don't do it.

6. If one person complains about what another person has put up (or on), deal with it the way you deal with other such complaints. With your EQ! (See my EQ Foundation Course)

7. Put the loophole in there. Maintain the right to send anyone who dressed inappropriately "at your sole discretion."

If you work in a more conservative environment, and the only ones I can think of these days would be upscale boutiques, art galleries, certain law firms, and maybe downtown investment firms (because at my bank and at my doctor's office they now wear jeans on Saturdays, and costumes on Halloween), you'll likely centralize decorating, and stick with a fall theme.

As to addressing other's unfounded fears in general, remember that an unrealistic fear is based on a belief, and it's the belief that needs addressing. If a person is afraid to go to the holiday office party (or make a sales presentation), what are they thinking? And what gave them that idea?

As you can see, a general Emotional Intelligence program for the office can cover a vast range of problem areas. Emotional Intelligence is the interface between intellect and emotion and we help individuals and offices change their emotional lifestyles.

Would it serve you and your group, and your communal health, to rethink how you feel about things, exploring what's "realistic" and what fears are unfounded? Things like stress, diversity, cooperation, teamwork, leadership and integrity? These issues are escalating with mounting multiculturalism. One cultures "fun" is another culture's "crazy" or even "scary." Think about it. No, wait, feel about it. And let that be your guide.

Hope you get more treats than tricks!

About the Author
Susan Dunn offers coaching, internet courses, business programs, and ebooks for your personal and professional development. She trains and certifies coaches, and is the author of The Difficult People Internet course, interactive. Visit her on the web at, and . Email for fr** ezine.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Etiquette

Thanksgiving: Will they be glad you came?

Thanksgiving Day is coming. Will you be the guest? If so, why not brush up on your etiquette?

When you're invited give an immediate reply. Your hostess wants to know you want to be at her house, not that you're waiting for the best offer. If you decline, the polite response is "I'm sorry, we've already got plans."

If you accept, ask if you can bring something. Your hostess' response will give you a clue to the degree of formality to expect. If she says, "No, no, just bring yourself," you can expect something more formal. If she suggests a side dish, more likely casual or buffet. If the hostess doesn't volunteer, inquire about the dress code.

If you're going to have house guests at the time say, "Well, we'd love to but Alex' folks will be here." If your hostess simply cannot accommodate two more people, she can say, "Oh, I'm so sorry," and then that's that. These social amenities are designed to keep us out of trouble. Reasons can hurt feelings. Phrase it so no reason need be given. In other words, don't say, "May I bring them along?" Etiquette is about making the other person feel good. The hostess should tell you when to come, i.e., "around noon," or "2 o'clock." She may give you an idea of how long you're expected to stay by saying something like, "Come at 2 and we'll eat at 3 so you can get back home to watch the game at 5."

When you arrive, it's nice to bring a gift. Do not bring food (unless requested) and that might appear to compete with the hostess. Flowers, wine or a guest soap are safe.

From the minute you arrive, you're "on." It's the responsibility of each person to contribute to making it a festive occasion. This means come armed with a smile, a jovial attitude, and a list of conversation starters. Safe ones are the weather, plans for Christmas, where they work and what they do, movies, books, hobbies, children and recent travel.

Avoid topics that would upset people -- things that are innately controversial, such as political issues, and also a litany of your stresses or aches and pains, or even the hard time you had getting there for the afternoon because you're so busy, or the car wouldn't start or the dog got out, or your recent surgery. Leave your troubles at the door, and smile. It's a time to relax and enjoy and get away from the strife. Keep your conversation light and pleasant. In other words, focus on the things we're all grateful for.

If someone's experienced a recent loss you can allude to the fact and say "This must be a difficult time for you." Let them choose whether they want to pursue the topic or not. They may prefer to keep their mind off their loss. Avoid, on your own part, complaining, war stories, off-color jokes, anything you feel intensely about, nattering on about something that might bore others, getting drunk and inappropriate, and anger. It's a day of thanksgiving - gratitude - after all.

After you've greeted and visited a bit, ask the hostess if there's anything you can do to help. If not, continue mingling, being sure to spend some time with each guest.

If there are kids, take your turn entertaining them. When it's time to be seated, ask the hostess "Where would you like us to sit?" unless she indicates. At table, be considerate of others. If it's a big table and things are being passed, be sure the salt and pepper get passed around (they go together; they're twins). Start the side dishes several times, especially the gravy. Usually when people begin eating there's a lull in the conversation. That's a good time to say how great the stuffing is or to ask what's in the salad dressing. Special alert: at nearly every table, someone is going to be asked to say the blessing. Might it be you? I'd be prepared, if I were you. At most tables there will be one conversation.

If children are present, be sure and include them. If a really large group, talk to the people on either side of you, and across from you. Follow the hostess' lead. When everyone's through eating, look to the hostess for cues. If she starts clearing the table, join in. If she doesn't, leave everything as is.

After the meal, it's time to be thinking about going home. Watch the hostess for cues. Let's say you leave the table and are invited in to the living room to sit. If the game's on, you're expected to stay till the end. If it's not, and dessert is served, or coffee and after-dinner liqueurs and/or coffee, enjoy. If the hostess gets up and starts clearing the table and putting things away, offer to help. When that's accomplished, it's time to go home.

If no one gets up and conversation continues, watch the host and hostess for yawns, stretching, or if they let the conversation lapse. These are "get up and go" signals. I can't tell you how many calls I get from people who hosted the dinner and couldn't get anyone to go home. Remember, it's a "work night" for many people. Also your host and hostess have worked hard, and are tired.

When you figure it's time to go home, say, "Well we need to be going home now." Expect the host or hostess to protest, but it's only a formality. Say a nice good-bye with "thank yous" and "you're on your way.

It's nice to send a written thank you note in the next day or two. People really appreciate it these days because it's so rare. Remember don't overstay your welcome. It's better to leave them laughing.

Last thing to mention - if the game is a big deal for you, you'll have to deal with that. I was at one Thanksgiving feast where the television was not turned on, and there were some very unhappy gentlemen there, including the one I was with. So at least consider the possibility and if it's important to you, find out. Here's the polite way to do it: "We'd love to come, but it's really really important to George to watch the game at X:00 p.m." Your hostess can then tell you the game is included, or say how sorry she is that you can't come.

In sum, when you're going as a guest, plan to have a good time and to make a positive contribution. Then you'll be the consummate Thanksgiving guest. A relaxed, pleasant and helpful attitude can make up for any faux pas you might make, so relax and plan to enjoy yourself.

About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, Professional Coach, . Coaching, Internet courses and ebooks. Dating, emotional intelligence and career. Call when you need to, let me help you. Coach certification program, training worldwide, no residency. for fr*e ezine.

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Mr. Mafioso does Emotional Intelligence

Mr. Mafioso does Emotional Intelligence.

I love Mr. Mafioso on AskMen.

"Look, college boy," he writes, "there are certain lessons that all the books in the world couldn't teach you."

Strikes a chord with me. I came out of college quite the college girl. It was a college in rural Minnesota, very academic, very intellectual. How academic? How intellectual? More students pass the MedCAT from this school than any in the nation, or did at last count. It produces doctors and lawyers, but not necessarily rich ones; more typically labor lawyers and GALs and inner-city clinic doctors, or med and law-school professors.

I think it attracts more than its share of NFs - Idealists (only 8-10% of the population). Whatever job the Idealist has, it's a means to an end: saving the world. This is the college boy Mr. M. is talking about, and the college girl who has to learn to put on her Big Girl Panties, because one can never save the world, but one can lose one's job.

When I left that ivory tower and landed my first job, they saw me coming. Determined to be honest, brave and true (and believing that others were), I got all the extra work, my "job description" expanding to match the infinite boundaries of my naivete; I got the worst equipment; I interviewed students in a closet; and of course I was ostracized just for good measure. Eating lunch alone, I read a copy of "How to Survive in the Real World." J.K.

What I did was get street smart. You know how someone in the office is doing better than they ought to considering their education, and you can't figure out why. Then you notice - she's got street smarts ... she always lands on her feet, she knows the score, she reads between the lines, she gets out when the getting's good, she can smell a rat, she knows a good thing when she sees it?

It's Emotional Intelligence; what Mr. Mafioso talks about in "Street Lessons."

He begins with the litany that all idealistic intellectuals can't accept: "The world isn't fair. It isn't nice. Nobody cares if you get stiffed, if your feelings get bruised or how hungry you are." We're all in the same boat, he alerts us, and it's a rough ride. "Everybody's trying to get a piece of the action, trying to survive. And the street is equally cruel to everyone."

I had to experience this many times before I was willing to let go of how I thought the world should be, or wished it were. Eventually I quit telling my co-workers that I really didn't know what I was doing, etc. after getting shot enough times with a gun I had loaded and handed to someone.

Mr. Mafioso then tells us the thing we least want to hear - that it's out-of-control: You can be on top one day, wondering what the big deal is, then get bagged. "By any of a number of things: family, work, health, divorce, tainted spinach--"

His rules?

1. Keep your guard up. This gels with EQ's "trust radius?" A component of Emotional Intelligence is "trust until proven otherwise." It's not seeing the "otherwise" that gets us in trouble.

2. Stay out of arguments. Wait, he says, until they've worn each other out, and you can see who the winner's going to be. As I put it in my How to Handle Difficult People course, only "fools rush in where angels fear to tread." That quote was from a book I'd read in college. Once I got it aligned with reality, I was fine. Before that, typically I rushed in because I thought I could not BE a fool; I had a college degree. LOL.

3. Meet only when necessary. Mr. Mafioso thinks only girls enjoy meeting just to talk; that Real Men meet only to make a decision. Everyone knows that ... except your boss, right? The one with the M. B. A. from Harvard.

4. Know people. But, he adds, that doesn't mean they need to know YOU. Having friends means connections, opportunities, and information, all good things; but don't disclose anything superfluous.

5. Don't be too proud to retreat. The next sentence is one that hangs up the Idealists, and is often difficult to dispel. Sometimes it's the single goal of my coaching, to get them to quit fighting on principle. If you can't win, he says, give up, back down, go into witness protection (ha ha); having a strategy beats bravery. I think he means "bravado." And "discretion is the better part of valor." Sometimes a college education IS an advantage.

Mr. Mafioso ends that it's back on the bricks for him, "learning everything the hard way and hoping my kid doesn't have to do the same. There's no cure for this thing called life, so it's best to learn certain things early on. Nothing can truly prepare you for it, but if you keep your head on a swivel, you'll suffer fewer 'unfair' surprises."

KEY POINTS here about the kid. When teaching your child emotional intelligence:

1. You're teaching it whether you want to or not, so get conscious and teach GOOD Emotional Intelligence, not BAD Emotional Intelligence. 2. You are never through learning Emotional Intelligence. Get coaching. 3. Let them learn their lessons, don't rescue them unless the house is on fire. 4. Better yet, set up the lessons so they can learn them while they're still under your protection. 5. Connect the dots for them about what you're teaching.

Don't forget to do this; it's the part most parents leave out. Like most of us ask our kids, "How would you feel if Bobby did that to you?" and "How do you think Bobby feels now that you spit on him?" But we fail to tell them we are teaching Empathy - understanding that you have feelings and so does everyone else. Labeling helps to de-mystify the things that mystify us most in life - emotional things.

Tell them you are going to teach them stewardship, give them 3 months allowance at one time, tell them it has to last, and then be there when they spend it all at once and have nothing left. Connect the dots for them, giving it language. It's easier to learn this when you have a net.

Now, back to my NF client that I'm coaching in Emotional Intelligence.

"I can't do that," she says, "it's against my principles." She is preparing to self-sabotage...again.

"Look, college girl," I tell her. "Just put on your Big Girl Panties," aka stress tolerance, creativity, flexibility, resilience, interpersonal skills and the other components of Emotional Intelligence.

It keeps your head on a swivel.

About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach,, . Individual coaching, business programs, employer-referred coaching, anger management, emotional intelligence, relationships, career. Internet courses, and ebooks. Training and certification program. Fast, affordable, on-site and long-distance.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dangers of Txting and Driving

The UK doesn't pull any punches on this PSA about cell phone usage in cars. And I apologize that this is under "Funny Videos."

Don't Text and Drive - Watch more Funny Videos

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Canada doesn't mess around with its Domestic Abuse PSAs

Canada doesn't mess around with its Domestic Abuse PSAs

Canadian Domestic Abuse PSA - Watch more Funny Videos

The holidays are coming and its time, perhaps, for my Difficult People course. It's on the Internet, interactive, fast, effective and affordable. Email me for information. Internet special - $29.99. Paypal me or personal check. .

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Babyboomers fastest-growing demo on facebook

What's the fastest-growing demo on facebook? Babyboomers (55 and over). DC, then Chicago, were biggest cities.

From the article:

Researcher iStrategyLabs just released new numbers on Facebook user demographics, and one figure stands out: the number of members who are 55 and older grew 25% in the last month alone. The segment more than tripled the overall rate of growth for U.S. users on the site in the month ending August 4, which was 8%.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What to do after you fight

The people we love the most are often the people with whom we have the worst fights. Here's a sweet song about making up and moving on ...

Come a little closer baby ... on a bed of sweet surrender where we can work it out...
Dierks Bentley's "Come a Little Closer".

It's about getting the egos out of it and making up. "I feel like stripping it down." This song is all about the different emotional levels, communication, getting in that loving place and staying there.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

If you don't think you're beautiful enough

A couple of years ago I had a super model in my coach certification program. She wanted to become a coach so she could tell young girls about this. It was wonderful to get this woman certified as a coach so she could extend her reach and fulfill her mission. Now she works with teenagers and young women.

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Finding your Soulmate

I am often asked about soulmates.

This is a question that is often asked psychics and astrologers too, as we all quest for love. To a coach, a person might ask for a "soul mate" or "someone who is perfect for me."

I think Skye's discussion about soul-mates is good. She recommends this instead of looking for a Soul-mate:
Change your definition of soulmate. Call to yourself someone who is open and real. Call to yourself someone who is genuine and capable of love on a real everyday level in a real everyday world where people get up and go to work and pay bills. Call to yourself someone who knows how to show and express their love without manipulation and head games. Call forth a forever kind of love. Call forth a best friend that you can sit with in your rocking chair on the front porch when you are too old to make love anymore. Call someone who loves you enough to kick you in the butt when you are screwing up. Call forth someone who will shout from the rooftop when you are deserving of praise too. Call forth someone who is a loyal and faithful lover willing to learn and grow with you behind closed doors. Leave the rest to fate. Don’t define them.

"Call to yourself," is good. It's about the Law of Attraction.

But let's talk for a minute about making lists when you are dating or looking for "the right woman/man."

Many coaches want their clients to make a list of what they want in a mate, who they're looking for. I recommend it too, but probably not in the way you might think.

I think having a list works well for values, lifestyle, intelligence and some basics (like good grooming, which I think we all would want, wouldn't we?). Also things like wanting kids or not wanting kids -- issues around which there isn't a compromise -- it's a "yes" or a "no." But the trouble comes when you get too specific, especially about PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS.

For instance here's a list I got from Amy:

I want a man who's:
Medium height
30 years old
Brown hair
Brown eyes
Curly hair
Muscular build, like a weight lifter or professional athlete
Medium complexion

Well, I think this leaves a lot to be desired. What if "Amy" met a man who was blond that had all the important things that Skye talks about above? What if she met a man who was 31 or 32?

Physical characteristics may cause initial attraction, but, as we coaches say, "That's not love, that's something else."

And as far as physical characteristics go, here's an interesting point. According to studies, the one that applies the most -- get ready for this -- is the person's third finger.

Go figure.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Queen, the Crown, and Etiquette in the Workplace

BBC apologizes to Queen Elizabeth II
BBC apologizes to Queen Elizabeth II

Read my article about this event called "Queen Elizabeth. Her Crown and Etiquette in the Workplace." (Pardon the typographical errors that were not in the original article.)

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Gut-feeling: Don't leave home without it

HEAD OF HERCULES (CC Flickr User giopuo.)

Intuition or Gut-feeling (an EQ competency) - don't leave on your quest without it. (Take the EQ course, or EQ coaching to learn more).

Do you know the Myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece?

When Jason outfitted the Argo (his ship) to go off on his heroic journey for the Golden Fleece, he hand-picked the brightest and the best. This included "the best seer, Mposos, (before whose amazing skill Agamemnon's seer, Calchas, will later admit defeat and die or be killed after laughing at Hercules."

Does that surprise you? Of course he had fighters too, and those with physical skills. But Agamemnon had "his" seer as well. Every leader did (and still needs to). Myths are symbolic, of course, and that's why they convey so much wisdom. A seer is someone who can predict the future, and as you know, the data always runs out, so we need our intuition or gut feeling, if you will, to chart our course. Think of a successful stock broker. Well, first of all, my stock broker got me out and into a safe haven just before this latest decline. How did he know?? It wasn't just by looking at the data, or all the stock brokers would have gotten all their clients out in time (and then the economic scene would be even worse, but let that pass for now). Where does the gut-feeling come in? Whatever field you're in, you study the data, and then at some point - with all important decisions - you have to take what might elsewhere be called "a leap of faith."

We all have intuition - it's a basic survival skill. It's how you know to get away from things that are harmful. Intuition, or gut-feeling, can be developed, but for most of us, it's a matter of learning how to integrate intuition with rational thinking; learning how your intuition speaks to you ("I had that sinking feeling," "I felt sick after the interview," "I knew to get away from him because he made the hair on the back of my neck stand up."

Intuition is called gut-feeling, BTW, because of the vagus nerve. Read more about this in the Intuition ebook, Intuition course, or EQ Course.

Back to Jason and the Golden Fleece. Jason hand-picked men with all the skills required. In addition to the best seer available, he also included a tamer of rocks and beasts, a psychopomp and giant-killer, a horse and boxing-expert pair known as the Dioscuri, and so forth.

From the article:

*Timothy Gantz treats the Argonaut Mopsus as the one whose prowess leads to Calchas' death ... Calchas knew he would die when he met a superior in the art of prophecy. Mopsus was this seer. The questions posed (as in Apollodorus VI) were either the number of figs on a fig tree or the numbers of piglets that would be in a sow's litter...

Ever wonder why there is ALWAYS a RIDDLE when a hero sets out on their journey? They are talking about intuition, or gut-feeling. It is always a "trick question." Think about it.

More on this later.

Meantime, increase your intuition and gut-feeling with The EQ Course, and EQ coaching. Don't leave home without it!

To learn more about the my Magic of Myths Cour. It's on the Internet. $29.99. Email for information and to register.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

What Physical Attribute of Your Date Effects You the Most?

Q: What physical feature about someone we're dating effects us the most? (It's not what you think it is.)

From today's email bag:

Dear Dating Coach:

We were having a great time, and then I remember he reached over for the dessert we were sharing, and there was something about his hands. Not dirty, and no bitten nails, etc., I just knew I 'registered' something. I thought they were pretty and delicate, but at the same time, I don't like "pretty" or "delicate" hands on a man. What am I to make of this?

This is interesting because I am reading Diamond's THE THIRD CHIMPANZEE where he spends a good bit of time talking about how we choose our mates.

Note that choosing a marital partner is much more of a choice than choosing a one--night-stand. In fact the chapter this is in is called How We Pick our Mates and Sex Partners. It is very important to know what you are doing -- Are you choosing a mate, or a sex partner is the first thing I ask clients!!!

First let me say that you, personally, in your choice of partner, are allowed to prefer what you prefer. In other words, there's a woman out there that would fall instantly in love with this man BECAUSE OF those same hands that turn you off.

That's the wonder of love!

That having been said, in his book, Diamond cites scientific research where he uses words such as coefficients and significant. To unpack these terms, coefficients means the different things that influence something, and "significant" is a scientific terms meaning that the numbers show a difference. Yes, it arbitrary, but not as arbitrary as saying, "I (your personal opinion) think people choose mates according to the color of their eyes." "Correlation" means they relate, but be cautious about cause and effect. i.e., People eat more ice cream on hot days. The heat is more likely to cause the eating of ice cream than the ice cream to cause the day to be hot ... but with more complicated issue, people don't always see the line of causation properly! (I know you've experienced this misconception.)


Coefficients for physical traits are on the average ... not so high as for personality traits ... or religion ... but still significantly higher than zero. For a few physical traits the correlation is even higher than 0.2 [which is the average overall for physical traits] -- e.g., an astonishing 0.61 for length of middle finger. At least unconsciously, people care more about their spouse's middle-finger length than about his or her hair color and intelligence!
I can't say I was conscious about this, but I sure am now. (Which is what Emotional Intelligence is about -- self-awareness.)

Something DEFINITELY REGISTERED when she stopped and took a look at his hands. And it was something negative.

A: the length of their middle finger

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What are we going to do about anger?

What are we going to do about anger?

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Only love can break a heart. What can mend it?

THE PRODIGAL SON BY REMBRANDT. I was lucky enough to see this painting in the Hermitage.
Rembrandt had four children, only one of whom survived.**

Only love can break a heart. Only love can mend it again.
Time can bring you down. Time can bend your knees.
Many people use the term "going mad" in reference to the loss of a child. Eric Clapton wrote "Tears in Heaven" "to keep from going mad," he said.
David Grossman called it "hell in slow motion."

Grieving the loss of a loved one is hard work. It is painful, so painful that you can be tempted to shut down and not do what feels like compounding the situation. To face the full brunt of the loss of the death of a child, or loss of a spouse or parent takes tremendous courage, even spirit. Yet we know from emotional intelligence that if you stuff down one emotion, you stuff down ALL emotions. If you want to ever feel joy again, then you must grieve -- go through the experience, not around it. I told myself during my hardest grieving period that I was carving out a valley to later be filled with joy - the depth of the joy one day to be equal to the depth of the loss. I believe that with love, faith and hard work, the part of you that is still alive comes back one day ... and you want to be available for that.

Whether you've lost a spouse, a child, a sibling, a parent, or a dear friend ... the developmental task is to be willing to love again in the face of such a terrible loss. As Betty Ann Rutledge, a program director for grieving families writes:
But how do we heal those gaping holes in our hearts? How do we learn to live with our grief? One of the gifts of our community at Bereaved Families is our model of mutual support. I hear time and again from newly bereaved (and not so newly bereaved) people the comfort and relief that is felt when one has an opportunity to connect with someone who has experienced a similar loss. “Finally, someone who understands.” “It’s so good to talk with someone who really “gets it”. “I thought I was the only one who felt this way.” “If they can survive, maybe I can too.”

We know, from emotional intelligence, that ISOLATION is harder on health than smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure combined. And by isolation, we mean being isolated emotionally -- from other people and oneself. One of the hardest things about grief is being alone. In fact, the loss of a child often breaks up a marriage.

Call me if you would like to talk about your grief and your loved one. Together, we will say their name. See resources for the Loss of a Child.

More thoughts ...

Gene Pitney, "Only Love Can Break a Heart. Only Love ... Can Mend it Again"

Eric Clapton's four year old son Connor fell 53 floors to his death from a Manhattan high rise in 1991. His death inspired Clapton to write the hit song "Tears in Heaven." This song has special meaning to me and my son Chester.

From Eric Clapton:

When I try to take myself back to that time, to recall the terrible numbness that I lived in, I recoil in fear. I never want to go through anything like that again. Originally, these songs were never meant for publication or public consumption; they were just what I did to stop from going mad...

When it came out, it was the biggest-selling album of my entire career....But if you want to know what it actually cost me, go to Ripley, and visit the grave of my son.

Many people have used poetry and art to work through their grief when they lose a child. Rembrandt, Shakespeare and Clapton are some examples.

Read about Rembrandt's painting by Twelker, psychology professor emeritus. Twelker, Paul A. (2003). Rembrandt and Psychology: Reflections on The Return of the Prodigal Son. Internet resource available at

Psychology asks meaningful questions, especially if we have the spiritual ears to hear. Spiritual truth and psychological meanings can be complementary. We need not be afraid of the discipline of psychology if we allow the Spirit of God to quicken our souls and our minds to His truth. The point that I am making is that the master artist reveals a depth of understanding of this parable that is both spiritual and psychological. You can understand the concepts of love, relationship, guilt, motivation, pride, jealousy, repentance and forgiveness through the study of psychology. And you can even deepen your understanding through personal experience. And then, at some point in time, prompted by the Spirit of God, your soul is stirred to its very depths and you awaken to new meanings of life...of redemption...of mercy...of refreshment. It is then that you realize that the discipline of psychology is but humankind’s noble attempt to understand truth--and that is a very God-honoring ambition.

William Shakespeare lost his son, Hamnet, when the boy was 11 years old. He wrote it out perhaps in "Hamlet," probably for sure in "King John."

This is from "King John"


I will instruct my sorrows to be proud;
For grief is proud and makes his owner stoop.
To me and to the state of my great grief
Let kings assemble; for my grief's so great
That no supporter but the huge firm earth
Can hold it up: here I and sorrows sit;
Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it.

Seats herself on the ground

[In a later scene]

No, I defy all counsel, all redress,
But that which ends all counsel, true redress,
Death, death; O amiable lovely death!

Lady, you utter madness, and not sorrow.

I am not mad: this hair I tear is mine;
My name is Constance; I was Geffrey's wife;
Young Arthur is my son, and he is lost:
I am not mad: I would to heaven I were!
For then, 'tis like I should forget myself:
O, if I could, what grief should I forget!
Preach some philosophy to make me mad,
And thou shalt be canonized, cardinal;
For being not mad but sensible of grief,
My reasonable part produces reason
How I may be deliver'd of these woes,
And teaches me to kill or hang myself:
If I were mad, I should forget my son,
Or madly think a babe of clouts were he:
I am not mad; too well, too well I feel
The different plague of each calamity....

And, father cardinal, I have heard you say
That we shall see and know our friends in heaven:
If that be true, I shall see my boy again;
For since the birth of Cain, the first male child,
To him that did but yesterday suspire,
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker-sorrow eat my bud
And chase the native beauty from his cheek
And he will look as hollow as a ghost,
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit,
And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.

You hold too heinous a respect of grief.

He talks to me that never had a son.

You are as fond of grief as of your child.

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form:
Then have I reason to be fond of grief?
Fare you well: had you such a loss as I,
I could give better comfort than you do...
O Lord! my boy, my Arthur, my fair son!
My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!
My widow-comfort, and my sorrows' cure!


In the middle of the room, in its white coffin, lay the dead child, the nephew of the poet. Near it, in a great chair, sat Walt Whitman, surrounded by little ones, and holding a beautiful little girl on his lap. She looked wonderingly at the spectacle of death, and then inquiringly into the old man's face.

'You don't know what it is, do you, my dear?' said he, and added, 'We don't, either.' (Mary Mapes Dodge, friend of Wal Whitman's)

Robert Lowell, on the death of his son: "Identification in Belfast"

..."When they first showed me the boy, I thought oh good,
it's not him because he is a blonde--
I imagine his hair was singed dark by the bomb.
He had nothing on him to identify him
except this box of joke trick matches;
he liked to have them on him, even at mass.
The police were unhurried and wonderful,
they let me go on trying to strike a match...
I just wouldn't stop-- you cling to anything--
I couldn't believe I couldn't light one match--
only joke-matches...Then I knew he was Richard."

David Grossman lost his youngest son Uri during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon. Grossman is a novelist. Grossman described it as "hell in slow motion, all the time."

It's a painful life, now. It's like hell in slow motion, all the time. I don't try to escape grief. I face grief in an intense way in my writing, but not only in my writing. If I have to suffer, I want to understand my situation thoroughly. It's not an easy place to be, but so be it. If I'm doomed to it, I want-- it's a human predicament, and I want to experience it....

Anything that is calm and safe seems to me like an illusion.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why Study Emotional Intelligence?

Haven't you wondered why some people have more success than others? In our personal quests to reach our potential and maximize our personal power and assets, we ponder what the mix is that makes for success in life - work and relationships both.

For many decades (perhaps since the Age of Reason), the Western World focused on cognitive intelligence, generally referred to as IQ. We assumed a high IQ was the ticket.

However, you may have noticed, as early researchers in the field did, that IQ is not the only answer, and sometimes not the most important part of the equation. Even an IQ-genius like Einstein states that there is something more going on - that his theories were leaps of intuition. Daniel Goleman is often misquoted as saying that EQ matters more than IQ, when what he actually said was "it CAN matter more." Haven't you found this to be true?

EQ draws on the continuing phenomenal new research on the human (triune) brain and what emotions are and how they operate -- neuro-affective science. Lust, for instance, comes from the reptilian brain (the oldest, and therefore the strongest), and for good living, we mediate this with the limbic brain (it would hurt my wife if I had an affair) and the neocortex (I could lose all my money in a divorce if I have an affair).

As we fumble around for definitions, please keep in mind, intuitively if you will, that EQ is one of those things that you know when you see it. Think for a moment now of someone you know who is successful (hopefully it is you), and toss around in your mind some of the things that make this person's life work. IQ, perhaps, and also perhaps flexibility, intentionality, ability to assess gut-feelings, ability to work with others, self-management. We even use words like "character," "patience," "maturity," "affability," "leadership," etc.

An operating definition of emotional intelligence is (wikipedia): "an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups." The definition is evolving, but keep in mind that you know it when you see it. For instance, I prefer to use the term "competencies."

Emotional Intelligence probably began with no less than Darwin, who pointed out the importance of emotional expression for survival and adaptation. Slowly research turned to the non-cognitive aspects of "intelligence". As early as 1920. E. L. Thorndike at Columbia University coined the term "social intelligence" to refer to the ability to understand and manage other people.

Among early researchers in the field, Howard Gardner (Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences) used the terms "interpersonal intelligence" (to describe our ability to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people), and "intrapersonal intelligence" (the ability to understand oneself, to appreciate your feelings, fears and motivations). In 1985, Wayne Payne published a doctoral thesis entitled A study of emotion: Developing emotional intelligence. Salovey and Mayer were also key researchers in the field (1990). It is perhaps Daniel Goleman who popularized the term in 1995 with his best-seller, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

Is EQ better than IQ? See my video on youtube:

Salovey and Mayer have a good working definition of emotional intelligence: "The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions, and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth". Four categories that make sense are: (1) perceiving emotions, (2) using emotions, (3)understanding emotions; and (4) managing emotions.

A movie that illustrates concepts of emotional intelligence is Orson Welles' powerful "The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice." In this case, it is an example of emotional intelligence gone bad. This is, of course, Shakespeare's tragedy, Othello, and from this came Verdi's magnificent opera, "Otello" which we also consider. The place of music in emotional intelligence can hardly be underestimated, BTW, and of the great arts in general. See VIVO PER LEI.

In the beginning of the story of Otello, we see a man at the height of his power. [Bear in mind that the definition of a Shakespearean tragedy is that the hero is undone by "a character flaw" not by some external event (such as war or illness)]. Otello was a general, at the top of his game, with a successful career, and a loving marriage to the beautiful Desdemona.

At the end of the movie (play, opera) we see a man who has destroyed his life, killed his wife, and proceeds to kill himself. The aria Niun mi Tema is one of the most powerful arias in opera. It means "No one need fear me any more," and is the lament of a man who was undone by emotions.

What happened? Otello failed to promote a man (Iago) who then set about to do him in, and he did it without laying a hand on Otello. Iago understood Otello better than Otello understood himself, and he used this to bring about Otello's death and destruction at his own hands, manipulating him around like a puppet on a string. See my video on youtube here:

Why study emotional intelligence? To paraphrase Sun Tzu, who was talking about warfare, understanding how people can be manipulated through emotions is as useful for those who wish to avoid having it done to them, as it is for those who wish to practice it.

If you stop and think about it, you can get in touch with times when your emotions either facilitated or blocked your ability to function well, make good decisions and/or use good judgment. Emotions, after all, give us information - it's what we do about the information that makes the difference. Maybe you drove away a lover by something you said in anger, or jumped in (or out of) the stock market on an emotional whim, or gave a poor speech because of anxiety, gave in to lust and ruined your marriage, or got angry and told off your boss and got fired, or talked back to a judge and ... See my video, "The Top 10 Things You Say After You've Been Hijacked (by the reptilian brain)" here: .

There are several assessment of emotional intelligence which vary in their terminology, but some of the competencies are resilience, flexibility, personal power, nonverbal communication, emotional expression, intentionality, authenticity, and empathy or compassion.

Should it be "empathy" or "compassion"? How DO you define emotional intelligence? These are largely academic matters. YOU know the quality that we struggle to define with "compassion" or "empathy" and YOU KNOW know that it - and the other competencies - matter. And the most important thing is that unlike IQ, EQ can be learned. I know. I teach it.

What's another good definition? Many of my clients have called emotional intelligence "the missing piece." And then there was one who said, "your course saved my mind."

Susan Dunn,, . Susan coaches individuals and trains and certifies coaches internationally. She is the author of numerous ebooks ( has been chosen Adult Dev. expert for the largest self help portal on the Internet.

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The Top 10 Things Your Say When You've Been Hijacked

The TOP TEN THINGS YOU SAY WHEN YOU'VE BEEN HIJACKED (When the reptilian brain takes over and you lose it)

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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Love is blind... Smoke gets in your eyes... Dreamy-eyed ...

We have metaphors and similes for all the important emotional events in our lives.

Our emotions are in every cell of our body, and one way you can start to develop your emotional intelligence (EQ) is to check in with what's going on in your body. In reaction to various emotions your body temperature will change, your posture, the expressions on your face, the turn of your head, your digestion, your pulse. Thus, we have phrases such as:

That man makes my flesh creep.
The hair stood up on the back of my neck.
Love sick.
Vomiting rage.
Frozen with terror.
Bedroom eyes.
Blind with rage.
Cold-blooded killer.
Hot under the collar.
My blood ran cold.
He has ice water in his veins.
She's hot!
A chill ran down my spine.
Green with envy.
Green-eyed monster.
My brains went south.
That movie was a nail-biter.
I saw red.
When she died, all my lights went out.

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Emotional Intelligence is the Missing Piece

Emotional Intelligence is "the missing piece" for most people. Other reactions are relief and excitement.

From the emailbag today, from JB in my coach certification program:

Susan, here is the info you requested. My brain is already full from reading this a.m.!!!!! Realize I have to create some files for all of this new stuff. I re-read the EQ stuff I took previously, then skimmed the foundation course you sent today. I'm just giddy with excitement when I read this stuff!!!

The coach certification program is fast, affordable, effective, highly-rated -- and fun! You will find it incredibly freeing and so will your clients.

Emotional Intelligence is an excellent frame for anything you want to work on, applicable to all fields, all issues your clients will ever present to you. Coaching is a growth field, i.e., I was at a training seminar the other day, and coaching was listed as one of the "new" paradigms for counseling.

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Why Coaching is the Ideal Profession

That's what I've been missing! That's what I said to myself when I read #2 on the Self-Care Plan we were presented with in a recent seminar.
Spend plenty of quality time alone
Hold one focused, connected and meaningful conversation each day
Recharge your batteries daily
Do your job differently
Teach others
Create work breaks
Confront the source of stress

As to this "one focused, connected and meaningful conversation each day" -- I have probably always made that a part of every day, even before I went into coaching.

However, 3 years ago, I moved to a new town in order to help with a family situation, and in the new town, the supply of people with whom I could have a focused, connected and meaningful conversation had to rebuilt. I mean people I could have lunch or dinner with, or meet for a walk in the park cum talk, etc.

I just moved again, and I guess there are more people here interested in focused, connected and meaningful conversations -- or else I'm just having good luck running in to them.

At the same time, I think that's one of the reasons why COACHING IS THE IDEAL PROFESSION. I get to have focused, connected and meaningful conversations all day long most days! Let's say coaching is relatively stress free and for these reasons: the focused, connected and meaningful conversations; being able to do your work in any way you choose to; being able to schedule work breaks ... well you get the picture. When you work for yourself, in a field that is innately about focus, connection and meaning - and can set your own hours and be your own boss -- it's so wonderful.

If you'd like to become a certified coach, email me and we'll arrange a program individualized to fit your needs, background, and areas of interest. . I offer intensives in the D. C. area if you are interested. You can be certified as a life coach, welllness coach, emotional intelligence coach, EQ coach, transitions coach, retirement coach, teen coach, parenting coach ... or name one and check it out with me.

Advantages of this program are:

Available intrenationally - all long-distance

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009



Me 'n' my bros took a catnap on the way back from Richmond. I realized I was just too tired to be driving, so I pulled off into a truck stop, where all the LD drivers pull over to take a nap when they need to.

BTW, in Europe, the tour bus drivers have to clock in and out with a card proving that every so many hours, they pull over and rest for X number of minutes. Their logs are checked regularly to make sure they are doing this. Of course it gives us on the bus time for a drink, rest stop, buy a souvenir, etc. It's a win-win. They say it has improved safety over there by a huge percent.

I dozed for about 20 minutes, then woke up and was ready to go again.

Learning news material is exhilirating and also exhausting. Come learn what I learned. I am incorporating new material in the EQ Course, Resilience course, and coach certification program all the time.

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I am an optimist - Winston Churchill


“For myself I am an optimist, it does not seem to be much use being anything else”- Winston Churchill

"Learned optimism" is part of emotional intelligence. Resilience, for instance, (an EQ competency) means being able to bounce back from setbacks, losses and defeats and still retain hope and good spirits -- in other words, remaining optimistic.

It means not attributing bad or ambivalent things as "personal, permanent, and pervasive." This means, if she doesn't answer your email, DON'T THINK it's because she doesn't like you (personal), that no woman ever will (permanent), and/or that you have this sort of rejection in all areas (pervasive). Think instead that, like all the rest of us, she may be busy or having troubles with her computer. Or think about the fireflies outside!

We consier optimism to be the FACILITATOR of Emotional Intelligence -- because if you don't think you can do it, why would you even try?

In the new training program the Army is instigating (see post below), they will start teaching soldiers how to change their thinking, to build resilience (and stress tolerance). For instance, if they call home and their wife doesn't answer, don't immediately go to, "She must be out with another man."

Think of all the times you fast-forward to something that is probably unlikely AND makes you sick. Working with your own self-talk is part of emotional intelligence.

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Military Mental Stress Training Program

It's about time the "military culture" quit considered "talk of emotions to be so much hand-holding, a sign of weakness," and started teaching emotional intelligence as a preventive measure.

Prevention is the Best Cure.

From the article, "Mental Stress Training is Planned for U. S. Soldiers"

In an interview, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the Army’s chief of staff, said the $117 million program was an effort to transform a military culture that has generally considered talk of emotions to be so much hand-holding, a sign of weakness.

Note that the article still refers to it as "MENTAL" training. In Emotional Intelligence, we consider the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual for wellness and wholeness.

To sign up for the EQ Course, email me at .

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons


I write poetry, as many of you know. I often use great works of art for inspiration. This one I was never able to write a poem about. It is too ... it is too...

It is also a male experience, I cannot really get my mind around.

It is said that the full title of the painting, by Jacques Louis David, which I recently saw in the Louvres -- yes, we turned a corner on our tour and there it was -- is "Brutus Returning Home after Having Sentenced His Sons for Plotting a Tarquinian Restoration and Conspiring against Roman Freedom; the Lictors Bring their Bodies to be Buried."

The story is that Brutus, as you know, overthrew Caesar. He overthrew the monarchy and thereby established the Roman Republic. Then his sons turned around and plotted to assasinate Brutus, in order to restore the monarchy. As a judge, it was Brutus' job to render the verdict when his sons were caught. He condemned them to death.

In the painting, the lictors bring the bodies into the house. On the right are Brutus' wife, and probably the daughters-in-law, and maybe their daughter as well.

I use this painting in The EQ Course, where we analyze the painting. Why would David choose such a moment to paint? Because there can be few moments as horrible, so full of emotion, and it was worthy of his great talent. It is a moment of intense emotion frozen in time -- like a poem. We look at the postures, the expressions, the placement of the figures and practise finding the words (emotional expression). Look, for instance, at 'the hand that once ruled the world.' Look at Brutus' feet. See how he sits in the dark. And the look on his face; it is almost too much to bear.

There is a purpose to everything an artist does. The canvas is his; the topic is his. David puts the women on the right, in the light. He puts the man on the left in the dark. Why? Share your thoughts.

When taking the course, and working on this painting, one of my students wrote: "I never knew all that was in a painting. Thank you."

How can we thank the artists?

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Reconnecting with Poetry

RIP dear hospice patient Ben. Thx 4 reconnecting me 2 poetry, discussions about emotional risk + sharing ur last few months on this glor ...
This was a message to me on facebook from Catherine.

We turn to poetry in time of need. We turn to poets, who make a journey for us, distill it, and send it back to us. "Good poetry is disturbing." Poets can interpret our feelings for us, often using metaphor, and comparing two objects which are really not similar. I love the language of poetry.

There is a fair amount of poetry, and a good deal of great art, mythology, and classical music (including opera) in my EQ Course. Time and time again I have seen people turn to great art for relief in time of pain and crisis. It connects those things that are universal.

When I was taking a training course with a hospital chaplain, he said to me, "When this generation [now 30] reaches middle age, we are going to see despair such as we have never seen before. Why? Because they do not have a foundation in the fine arts." I invite you to explore art and culture!

I write poetry. I have written poetry to define, refine and distill my feelings during tragedy and hard time. I have written poems of joy as well. When you think of it, most people in love write poetry! It doesn't take any special requirements. You don't have to have a college degree, or even to have finished high school. It isn't about intellect.

In fact one of the most touching poems I've read was sent to me by a man whose son had died at the age of 20. The man sent me a poem he had written. Here is part of it:

We sat down at the table to eat but we couldn't get it down
Because the one whos supposed to be at the table ain't.

I bow my head to this man.

I have a friend who is a lawyer. The lawyer who trained her, for whom she worked for 15 years, had died and she was devastated, but she told me she "couldn't even cry.". She told me she couldn't get any relief from the grief and didn't know what to do. She finally went to a therapist and he told her to listen to "Time to Say Goodbye," which Andrea Bocelli sings - with many people, in many different languages. The therapist told her to listen to it in a language she didn't know, that she would still benefit from it. In other words, listen to "Con Te Partiro."

Art and music, story-telling, dance, they all go to the right brain, without interference from the "tyranical" left brain.

The story of "Time to Say Goodbye" is an incredible one. You can read it about it on my Vivo Per Lei (I Live for Music) website.

For more about the healing benefits of music, see Club Vivo Per Lei. I'd love to have you join.

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Strong Souls needed for Coaching

"All strong souls first go to hell before they do the healing of the world they came here for. If we are lucky, we return to help those still trapped below."


I have trained and certified coaches all over the world -- Great Britain, all over the US, Malaysia, South Africa, Wales, Australia, the Phillipines, and more.

People often ask me what are the requirements to get into my coach certification program. The credential I look for first, in accepting a person to train for coaching, is life experience. College degrees don't matter as much as wanting to help other people, and having had a rich variety of life experiences. These two things cannot be taught. The rest of the things necessary can be taught.

I train long-distance -- via phone and email. The program is fast, effective, affordable and highly-rated. The core material is on the Internet, in interactive programs. I also offer 1-day intensives in the D. C. area. If you would like more information, email me at . I would love to be your coach, and your coach trainer.

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What to Get Her for Christmas

Coaching is good.
Having an Angel is better.
Being an Angel is the most fun of all!

As the Christmas season approaches, take a look at the gifts Andre gives his friends:

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Emotional Intelligence Saved Eunice Kennedy

Emotional Intelligence saved Eunice Kennedy
According to an article in The Guardian:

Eunice had all the Kennedy glamour, but with a life-saving dash of emotional intelligence

Commenting on Eunice's remarkable qualities, another observer wrote that "all the Kennedys were blocked, totally blocked emotionally, but Eunice survived the best."

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The Poet Leonard Cohen

"Good poetry disturbs."

And there is no poet like Leonard Cohen, who is a singer and composer as well.

Poets and artists understanding the binding quality of art.
Whoever put this video together was an artist as well.

IN MEMORIAM, Alfred Lord Tennyson

But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain. ...

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About the Stress of The Holidays


"Seventy percent of disease causation right now is lifestyle and environment." --Elliott Dacher, M.D.

Interesting that there was a lead article on about happiness and aging. In sum, the article said that the older you get the happier you are -- because you learn to eliminate/avoid negative situations. I think, as an EQ coach, that you learn -- by good examples and bad examples -- what works for you.

Example: My client, I'll call her Paula, is stressing out about Christmas. Yes, for those who look ahead and plan (an EQ competency), it is time to start "thinking about Christmas." What you will do, with whom, where, and how. This includes budgeting, too. Paula now has grown children. 3 live in her same town, 2 live elsewhere, and one of them has a baby. Paula was talking about Christmas mainly in terms of how much she dreaded (1) the "mandatory" Christmas Eve visit to the in-laws; (2) not enough rooms for the kids, so who has to get a hotel; (3) working things out with the otherset of parents; (4) sitting and staring at each other Christmas Day because it's the "tradition" that everyone stay at the house all day; (5) not wanting a "public" exchanging of gifts because of the different incomes and life circumstances of the grown children.

Ultimately in our coaching session, Paula discovered that she wanted to "cancel" the "old Christmas" and "do something different" -- thereby eliminating a lot of negatives -- things that had proven to be unpleasant, things that she knew stressed her. And -- I led her to articulate -- that no one really enjoyed anymore, they just "thought they had to because they always had."

Paula began to construct a Christmas she would enjoy.

At one point she used the phrase "making a virtue of a necessity." The actuality is that Christmas is going to change, e.g., the couple with the baby would not want to travel. The son in New Mexico would not be able to have time off at Christmas. Paula just didn't like cooking the whole meal herself and felt resentful about it. One of the couples was struggling financially, and could hardly afford food and shelter, much less Christmas gifts.

Paula is deciding what she will keep, and what she will change. The main thing is that she is feeling a whole better about the whole situation because she realized that she has choices.

I invite you to do the same!

There are 3 things you can do with a situation you don't like:

Change the situation
Change your attitude

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Isolation is hard on your health

BECOME A CERTIFIED COACH. I train and certify coaches internatinally. Email for more information.

"Isolated people have vastly increased rate of premature death from all causes and are 3-5x likelier to die early than people with strong social ties." -- Dean Ornish

Want to increase your social skills? Take THE EQ COURSE (tm). Email me at for information.

Other reasons to increase your emotional intelligence (EQ)?

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is convinced there's a link between emotions and health. They've granted $30-million to Duke Univ. Medical Center to study 3,000 coronary patients who test high on depression and social isolation to try and enhance recovery.

"Adults remain social animals; they continue to require a source of stabilization outside themselves. That open-loop design means that in some important ways, people cannot be stable on their own -- not should or shouldn't, but can't be...Stability means finding people who regulate you well and staying near them." --Thomas Lewis, M.D.

[In EQ Emotional Intelligence tests] ... Substance abusers' key deficits turned out to be problem solving, social responsibility, and stress tolerance. Spousal abusers primarily lacked empathy and had poor impulse control and an inflated self-regard." -- US Air Force

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