Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to Ace the Office Christmas party

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Q: What's harder than knowing how to shine at the Christmas office party?
A: Knowing how to shine when it's a seated dinner.

The open-format Christmas office party is a piece of cake compared to a seated lunch or dinner. At a buffet-type function you can move around, which means you can disappear when you want to. You don't want to get caught hiding out in the ladies' room all night, but since you're free to move around, you can leave any person or group when you want, and even leave the room.

However, at the seated affair you are trapped. If it strikes fear in your heart, you aren't alone. Even for a pro, this isn't easy. Here are some tips:


Never forget this. It may superficially appear different (new place, new people), but remember everything you say can and will be used against you.

You'll be seeing these people Monday morning. If you think it's hard to face a one-night stand after creeping out of her house in the middle of the night, wait till you have to face your boss Monday morning after getting sloppy drunk Saturday night and spilling your guts about some personal problem you can't handle. I mean how will (s)he expect you to be a competent Marketing Director when you were crying because your cat had died? I know the two things have nothing to do with one another, but your boss doesn't.

Think of the word "mortifying." No one needs to know about your hysterectomy, how well Viagra works for you, that your young wife left you, that you think the new manager stinks, or anything else about your personal life.

You simply are not free to say anything you want to.


Once seated, you must watch the leader to know what to do. It can be the boss, or his or her spouse, whichever one is dominant. Watch what they're doing. Emily Post may say not to eat asparagus with your fingers, but if your boss' wife is, you really need to think about it. In most cases, I'd go ahead and do it along with her. If you don't, you're making a statement. It's that important what your boss and his or her partner do. Don't start to eat until they do. If they don't order dessert, you don't. Monkey see, monkey do.


General conversation while you're being seated will devolve into one conversation dominated by the boss at least for a while, often for the entire meal. Your job is to pay attention. If the boss, sometimes aided and abetted by a crony or colleague, starts in on a monologue, be an attentive audience. Look horrified if something bad happened, laugh if he tells a joke, maintain eye contact, be respectful. It can amount to a performance. It's almost always dominated by males.

There may be lulls in this monologue from the boss. Don't attempt to fill them if you're an amateur. Nowhere does the expression "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" apply more fully.

You don't know this side of your boss. You don't know her sense of humor, what annoys her, what her prejudices are, her religion, or any number of important things that you can step right into if you feel compelled to fill air time. Even the most innocent comment can get you in trouble because it's a very magnified situation - one person talking at a
time to the whole table. What you say will echo and reverberate, all the way to your next performance appraisal.


Timing matters. No choice here. Arrive 15 minutes early and don't leave before everyone leaves.

Don't be the first to complain about anything. No matter how it appears to you, the company (boss) is putting on the affair, and criticisms will be taken personally. Don't send the meat back; don't complain about how hard the chairs are. You're a guest; be appreciative. Save face.

If the boss does complain about something, agree, but be milder about it. Never upstage. If he thinks the salmon is "atrocious," don't say, "I thought it was heavenly," or talk about a time when you got instantly ill with food poisoning over salmon one time. If he's got a big personality, he'll probably announce the salmon won't do and tell the waiter to take back everyone's. If it's more minor than that, say something like, "Yes, I think you're right, but isn't the risotto delicious?"

Conversation is the focus. Comments should never be made about what someone else is eating or isn't ("What's wrong Marcia? Don't you like the XX?") or doing. If someone knocks over their water glass, help them out surreptitiously, but keep the conversation going as if nothing had happened.


If the boss starts a conversation with the person on her side, you may do the same, but be prepared to cease if the boss takes the stage again.

Many people find this practice obnoxious, but the boss is "the presence," and it's their job to hold court. It's work and it's expected. Save any personal issues you may have about this for another time.


All of us know intuitively that the person who isn't nice to the waiter isn't a nice person at all. You are being watched.


Match behaviors. Sedate, or rowdy, attempt to get with the spirit of the thing. Whatever personal idiosyncrasies you may have about food or spirits, keep it to yourself. No one wants to know that you're on a diet, lactose intolerant, in recovery, allergic to chocolate, or a vegan. Order or eat from what's available, without comment.

What to wear? Office festive, which means a muted Christmas pin, scarf or tie, but don't be shouting "Christmas." Stay within the normal range for attire at your office adding only a 'nod' to the holidays. If you don't know the difference between "professional dress up" and "party attire," you're going to flunk. This is not a time for skins, latex, cleavage, a lot of hairy chest exposed, a jingle bell bracelet, or anything remotely approaching a "costume."

You may feel like Mrs. Santa or the Christmas Elf that night, but Monday morning you're going to be HR Director or Senior Accountant, and how can they respect you when they were staring at your exposed breasts across the table?

Sorry, it's one of the most stressful things you can go through. You are trapped for an hour or more of scrutiny, you have to think every moment, and you mustn't relax.

If you're new to this, observe others to know what to do, imitate the person you think is most savvy, and resist all urges to stand out in any way. There's nothing wrong with sitting there, smiling, and saying a little when spoken to. Observe with the intent of learning. Notice what goes over well and what doesn't, and make mental notes for the next time.


You gotta be kidding. You WORK with these people. The Holiday Office Party is 2nd only to New Year's Eve for doing something you'll seriously regret Monday morning around the water cooler.

Don't go there.

FOR INDIVIDUALIZED COACHING ON LIFE SKILLS, TRANSITION, EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE, CAREER, PROFESSION, RETIREMENT, ETC. call me Susan Dunn at 1-817-734-1471. Reduced rates for the holidays for The EQ Course (tm) - just in time for your New Year's Resolutions. $99. email me at and mention this offer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Demographic Trends Predict Greater Need for EQ in Workplace

Demographic Trends Predict Greater need for EQ in Workplace
By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks. She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines. Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.

SUSAN DUNN ALSO TRAINS AND CERTIFIES COACHES IN ALL AREAS. Email her at for more information on becoming a certified coach.

Demographic trends and experiential evidence build a strong case for getting emotional intelligence in your business right away if you want to retain good employees.

There is a demographic trend of which HR personnel, management, and CEOs need to be aware. According to trends analyst, Cheryl Russell, by the year 2005, the most common household in the US will be single-person households. "Never before in American history has living alone been the predominant lifestyle," says Russell, and the time is fast approaching.

According to the American Association for Single people (, the 2000 UC Census reported that 82 million men and women in the United States are unmarried. This figure includes nearly 20 million adults who are divorced, 13.6 million who are widowed, and more than 48 million who have never married.

•More than 48% of all households in the nation are headed by unmarried individuals.
•About 40% of the workforce is unmarried.
•Approximately 36% of people who voted in the last national election were unmarried.
•About 27 million Americans live alone, while about 2 million adults live with an unmarried partner
The Census Bureau has projected that between the ages of 15 and 85, the average man and woman will experience more years being unmarried than they will being married. According to this data, a huge and growing population is choosing to be alone. If you define adults as those over 18, 44% of US adults - that's nearly half -- are singles.

At the same time, more Americans than ever are divorcing. The number of divorced men and women has more than quadrupled in the past 3 decades: 4.3 million to 18.3 million. According to one study, in all but the 55 to 64 age group, 30% or more of the population is single. Of the 18 to 24 age group, 85.9% are single. This is a very substantial change from a generation ago, and this is the group that will be coming your way!

The American Association for Single People (AASP) states its mission as follows: "Because government and corporate policies are often not fair to unmarried Americans, there is a need for an organization to be an advocate for this large and growing unmarried constituency - an advocate for equality and equity. The AASP has done extensive studies of census data and report the following trends:

Single Family households: 1960, 13.1%; 1980, 22.7%; 2000, 25.5%
Married Couples: 1960, 74.3%; 1980, 60.8%; 2000, 52.8%
Unmarried Adults 18+ 1970, 28.3%; 1980, 34.3%; 2000, 40.4%
Their projection for 2010 is that 47.2% of the adults over the age of 18 will be unmarried.

If we assume that this trend continues, and Cheryl Russell is not the only one who thinks it will, what will this mean to the workplace?

I'm going to make two points regarding these demographic trends, and then build a case for bringing emotional intelligence programs into the workplace, and I want you to follow my line of reasoning here.

First of all, there will be increasing pressure for economic, political and legal reforms to accommodate this shift to unmarried adults.

Secondly, it seems apparent that adults are going to be seeking more connection, more social contact, and more emotional expression at work - with nearly half of workers being single.

While living alone does not necessarily mean lonely, it does mean that whatever emotional needs were being met previously by marriage will not be met. It may mean wider social networks, with more expectations that these needs be met at work since most adults work at least 8 hours a day, sometimes many more hours. And those who are unmarried and live alone will, well, go home alone.

Those adults who live alone will have less emotional support and fewer outlets for emotional expression and meaningful contact outside of the workplace. We have already become aware that among the homeless population, a large number of single mothers rely upon a child for their major source of emotional support which is not adequate, and is not good for either the child or the mother.

And, meanwhile, what is the biggest problem for most employers today? Finding good workers and retaining them. In the same way that the workplace began, of necessity, to accommodate to the needs of dual-working couples, by providing flexible schedules and on-site daycare for instance, the smart company is going to begin thinking about what these demographics mean, and how to provide for what is going to be needed if they hope to attract and keep the best workers.

It seems to me that two forces are going to come together -- a continued need to secure and retain the best employees, and the growing number of single or unmarried adults in the workforce - and mandate bringing more emotional intelligence into the workplace.

And why the call for more emotional intelligence? We're already seeing an emphasis on what were formerly called "soft skills" because of the wisdom of experience. It has become evident in recent years, as downsizing, over-workload, information escalation and accelerated rate of change demand more and more teamwork and shared resources, that IQ, intellect, training, education and expertise are no longer sufficient alone.

The productive and valuable employee, the visionary leader, and the effective manager must also have those competencies which we call emotional intelligence, or EQ. They must be able to negotiate win-win situations, forge teams and work with them, share information, have, use and nurture interpersonal skills to forward projects, lead with integrity and intentionality, be able to handle constructive discontent, be adaptable and flexible in the face of chaotic change, be creative, and remain resilient.

Now let's pause for a moment to consider an example of how intellect and emotional intelligence work together optimally. If times are turbulent now, consider the late 1950s when the launch of Sputnik forced the US into the space race, already a day late and a dollar behind. Our IQ-EQ example will be William Pickering, known as "The Rocket Man". Less than 3 months after Sputnik was launched in 1957, Explorer I was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Pickering was the man behind this phenomenal feat.
He was and is, a central figure in the American space race.

Pickering had all the proper degrees - a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Physics, and he was appointed Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1954, but not solely because of his intellect. Consider who else was around at the time - von Braun and van Allen, for two examples.

As one newspaper article put it, "[Pickering's] rise to the top had to do with both how well he knew science and how well he knew scientists. His role of director was a multifaceted one: not only was his scientific and technical expertise to the fore, but his antipodean diplomacy was required to lead not only volatile and brilliant scientists, but also work with politicians and the military hierarchy during the pressure cooker political environment of the Cold War."

"As lab director, he had to bring Dr. James van Allen and Dr. von Braun, two geniuses, together for a common goal in an incredibly short time frame, while breathing down their necks was [sic] the government, the Pentagon and the patriot demands of the American people." [] Later followed Explorer II and Venus.

Former president of Caltech Thomas E. Everhart said of Pickering: "More than any other individual, Bill Pickering was responsible for America's success in exploring the planets-an endeavor that demanded vision, courage, dedication, expertise and the ability to inspire two generations of scientists and engineers...."

Pickering, then, is a fine example of someone who had both IQ and EQ; the education, expertise and intelligence combined with the ability to unite people and inspire others to work together toward a common goal, and, I would add, the ability to handle a veritable cauldron of emotion. Call it pressure, if you will.

So this is one mandate for emotional intelligence, and the one that exists regardless of extraneous conditions: We are simply more effective when we are able to manage our emotions and the emotions of others, to relate well, to inspire, coalesce teams, motivate, find creative solutions, get along, and lead. Research shows us that we need our emotions and our intellect, expertise, training and skills in order to make good decisions, remain intentional, function with integrity, generate alternatives, solve problems creatively, relate well interpersonally, manage stress, and remain resilient.

The other mandate for emotional intelligence is trend-dependent - a workforce of increasingly single and/or unmarried persons whose emotional and social needs may be pressing, and who may be seeking to meet more of these at work, or at any rate to exercise them.

Let's state it more bluntly: if you want to attract and retain the best workers, a cold, authoritarian, sterile and unfeeling workplace is not going to cut it. A human being can't live alone in the evening and at night, and then work alone all day in an emotionally inert atmosphere. Isolation - literally or figuratively - has been shown repeatedly to be as bad for our health or worse than smoking, high blood pressure, and/or obesity, sometimes combined. It affects both mental and physical health.

But the fact remains, we are simply going to need one another more at work, and need each other in the fullest sense, as working people with emotions and all of our humanity. We are our emotions.

We can begin now to instigate programs in the workplace that allow us to tap further into one of the most powerful of our intelligences, our emotional intelligence. When we experience and manage our emotions and those of others, we work better, we feel better, and we are better. When we treat one another with respect, dignity, integrity, and compassion, we work better, feel better and are better. Developing emotional intelligence gives each individual a chance to increase work effectiveness and satisfaction, deepen relationships, strengthen leadership talents, and awaken creative spirit, and it can be learned. It then becomes a force multiplier.

So, why wait? Let's start learning it now.

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Michael Buble on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos

Emotional Intelligence - listen to Michael Buble talk about "playing to the locals."

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Accents in the US

How we speak -- those accents -- do you want to 'get rid of' yours?

How we speak has so much to do with our emotional intelligence. The tone and pitch of our voice, the accent we do or do not have ... you might even call the accent part of the nonverbal aspect of language.

I moved around a lot as a kid and young adult. I remember when I moved to N. C., adopting that accent -- the long southern drawl -- and then when we moved to San Antonio, Tx, I consciously said "no more," and went back to my neutral non-accent. You know, like an anchor person.

One part of the video that's interesting is when the talk about the California accent, i.e., too hard to say "radical" so they say "rad." Dude. Whatever.

This is a great video. Enjoy!

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Cruise to Alaska

Cruise to Alaska Slideshow: Susan’s trip from Seattle, Washington, United States to Alaska was created by TripAdvisor. See another Alaska slideshow. Create your own stunning free slideshow from your travel photos.
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My Trip to Copper Canyon Mexico

Copper Canyon Mexico Slideshow: Susan’s trip from El Paso, Texas, United States to Mexico was created by TripAdvisor. See another Mexico slideshow. Create your own stunning free slideshow from your travel photos.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Doctors Need More Emotional Intelligence in New Healthcare System

So says an article in the NY Times entitled, "New for Aspiring Doctors, the People Skills Test," By GARDINER HARRIS

Here are some quotes from the article:
Doctors save lives, but they can sometimes be insufferable know-it-alls who bully nurses and do not listen to patients. Medical schools have traditionally done little to screen out such flawed applicants or to train them to behave better, but that is changing.

A pleasant bedside manner and an attentive ear have always been desirable traits in doctors, of course, but two trends have led school administrators to make the hunt for these qualities a priority. The first is a growing catalog of studies that pin the blame for an appalling share of preventable deaths on poor communication among doctors, patients and nurses that often results because some doctors, while technically competent, are socially inept.

“When I entered medical school, it was all about being an individual expert,” said Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, the president and chief executive of the Association of American Medical Colleges. “Now it’s all about applying that expertise to team-based patient care.”

To read the entire article, go here.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Mobbing and Bullying and Emotional Intelligence

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Le mobbing est un poison lent
Mobbing ist ein leises Gift Zuletzt geƤndert
The Germans and the French call it "the slow poison."

“Mobbing can be understood as the stressor to beat all stressors,” says Dr. Kenneth Westhaus, U. of Waterloo, author of “Eliminating Professors.” According to him, the typical mob victim is a good-to-high achiever personally invested in a formally secure job who somehow threatens or shames co--workers or managers who then decide to get rid of him or her.

However, bullying is complex, and there are other reasons.

I coach clients on mobbing and bullying, both the abused, and the managers who are trying to identify it early and get rid of it. In my experience, it is often the best workers, serious people, introverts, just plain nice people. When it rears its ugly head, it upsets other workers, demoralizes, demeans, lowers productivity, causes lack of focus, raises stress, and causes increased illness, absenteeism and "presenteeism."

At the human level, it's wrong, wrong to treat people that way. At the corporate level, it can lead to exposure, and if the reputation is established cause current good employees to leave (wouldn't you?) and drive good applicants away. Word gets around, you know. As I was explaining to an HR manager the other day, "No, it is not a 'just get over it' kind of thing."

Has it happened to you? Is it happening to you now? Why does it happen? Read my article, Mobbing & Bullying in the Workplace: Has This Happened to You?

We believe, along with that "Everyone has the right to be respected and the responsiblity to respect others."

Read my ebook: "Mobbing, Bullying and What to Do About It"

Today from BBC -- MPs on the committee which covers the work of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (OPDM) in the UK are demanding action after Deputy PM John Prescott's department was accused of bullying, with one in 10 workers claiming to have been victimised in the past year. We are shocked and saddened.

22% say they've witness unfair behavior.


"The survey results were revealed in the annual report and accounts of the ODPM, which covers housing, planning, local government and the regions.

"The department should take steps immediately to reinforce the message that bullying and intimidation is unacceptable


"The survey found 10% of staff felt they had been bullied in the past year, 8% had experienced discrimination and 6% reported harassment.

"Some 22% of staff had witnessed unfair treatment and a larger proportion of black or black British staff (14%) had experienced discrimination than other staff.

"The survey also found disabled people were more likely to have suffered discrimination and revealed that a third of staff did not know how to report unfair treatment."
The UK and European Union are definitely ahead in the area of bullying and mobbing. There is even a clinic in German that deals exclusively with victims of mobbing and bullying.

To read the whole article go here.

If this is happening to you and you would like some coaching, please give me a call at 817-734-1471 or email me at . When someone's being mobbed or bullied, you can't think straight - that's part of the strategy. It helps to have an objective person to help give clarification and strategy, someone who's in your corner and has your back.

Resources & Information:

Stop Bullying Now

Anger, Forgiveness, Emotional Intelligence and Your Health

FORGIVE NOT 7 TIMES, BUT 77 TIMES, by Susan Dunn, Life Coach, Emotional Intelligence Coach, EQ Coach

Yes, it was a difficult weekend. I had houseguests, and one of them has truly been wronged. Not once, but many times. Not by strangers, but by his own family. Not long ago, but long ago and recently.

It made me angry just to hear the stories, though he told them only as they related to the conversation at hand (“So what happened to your father’s farm?” sort of thing), and there was no rancor on his part. Incredulously, he appears to have made his peace with some real injustices. But then that’s one of the reasons we all love him so much.

My friend is very forgiving, and there’s a reason why: he’s had a lot of practice. Forgiveness is like another EQ competency, Resilience. The good news is you can learn it. The bad news is there will always be opportunity. And you can reverse those two!

So, yes, my friend is very forgiving. I imagine he has forgiven 77 times. If you’re familiar with the Biblical passage: “Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.’”

This forgiving friend of mine is of-an-age, and also a physician. “How could you forgive him for that?” I asked him, about a particularly unjust occurrence. “Because I want to live and preserve my health,” he said. Physicians know about emotions and health.


There’s a story currently circulating the Internet about a Native American grandfather “whose eyes have seen too much,” talking with his grandson. The boy was talking about an injustice that had happened that day that left him enraged.
The grandfather admitted that he, too, had felt such rage. “I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart,” he told the child. “One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.”
The grandfather said, “I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those who have taken so much with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die.”
When he finished talking, the grandson asked him, “Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?”

“The one I feed,” replied the grandfather.

[Go here to read the whole story]

Ernest Hemingway wrote a story about forgiveness. It’s the story of a Spanish father and his teenage son who are at odds, and eventually the strained relationship breaks. When Paco, the rebellious son, runs away from home, his father begins a long, grief-stricken search to find him and bring him back.

As a last resort, the exhausted father placed an ad in a Madrid newspaper, hoping his son would see the ad and respond to it. The ad read:

Dear Paco,
Please meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven.
As Hemingway tells the story, the next day at noon, in front of the newspaper office, there are 800 Pacos, all seeking forgiveness from their fathers.


We have all been wronged. I have been. You have been. Your father has been. The queen of England has been. No one escapes. Some of us have been egregiously wronged and live with rage … for a week, a year, a lifetime. Our anger interferes with our ability to forgive.

And why, perhaps you are asking, should you forgive? There has been incest … infidelity … theft … betrayal … Certainly you’re justified in your rancor after what’s been done to you.

Frederick Buechner, theologian, writes:
“Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
We suffer when we’re angry. It causes physiological reactions that damage our health, and drive others away, leaving us to fester in our own isolated hell. We also suffer because we feel guilty about being angry. And we may feel strangled because we can’t act on it. It’s a complicated emotion.

It is, however, neither good nor bad in and of itself. Emotions just “are.” They guide us. They tell us what to do.

Anger tells us there is danger and we need to deal with it directly. The problem develops when we have not learned Emotional Intelligence and don’t know how to handle this anger. It can live forever in its raw state if not dealt with, undermining our health.

But what if … What if the person who did this is dead? Or estranged, like Paco from his father? … Or virulently poised to do more harm? Or an apology won’t really do, as in “I’m sorry I was drunk for the first 15 years of your life”? Or “I’m sorry I had your father shot by a firing squad in front of your eyes?” What if they absolutely do not deserve our forgiveness? What do we do then?

Being adamantly and relentlessly self-forgiving is an EQ competency. At times it’s even harder to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others, and we stand in need as well.

While we are all Paco, we are all, also, his father. We create our own world, and as we refuse to forgive others, we refuse to allow others to forgive us. What goes around comes around.

Being forgiving – forgiving yourself and others – is highly recommended.
The person you’re harboring the hatred for isn’t likely to be affected by it, but you are which makes you twice the victim, and more the fool. You are demanding from them something they can’t or won’t give, and you therefore remain tied to them forever. They don’t deserve you to forgive them, but you deserve to forgive them.


I’m reminded of Dante’s “Inferno.” In the fifth ring of hell live “the Wrathful.” Says the commentary, “they spend their time here either tearing at each other in anger or …” Yes, that’s being in hell.

But even more fitting is the ninth and final circle of Hell, Cocytus, which is ice cold (those farthest from God’s love).

There we find those who betrayed those to whom they should forever have been faithful, those treacherous to kin, and the image is this — two people are frozen in the same hole so that one can gnaw at the nape of the other’s neck. An apt metaphor for how we can gnaw at ourselves with resentment and anger.

To paraphrase Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., psychoneuroimmunologist, ‘Go ahead and rant and rave, rage, beat your chest, fight! But to the victor goes the bypass.’

For your own mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health, you must learn how to let it go. Work with a coach to develop your Emotional Intelligence. Anger directly affects our immunological system, which is our health, and it is an ongoing part of life for all of us. It’s the price we pay for being human.

About the Author
©Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach and Consultant, Coaching, business programs, Internet courses, teleclasses, and ebooks around Emotional Intelligence for your wellness, success and happiness. for FREE ezine. Put “ezine” for subject line. Susan is the author of The EQ Foundation Course,

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Emotional Intelligence with The EQ Coach

The peaceful moment
A BLOGGER WRITES about a moment of emotional intelligence:
Before the Storm
Sitting in my car watching the sun rise, I’m calm. I just finished a workout at the gym and found a quiet spot on a quiet road to pull over and enjoy my breakfast-to-go. This may be my last opportunity to feel this way for a while.

On Saturday, I leave for Italy; then one day after returning, board another plane for Malaysia. Frantically preparing for two weeks away from my home & office is all I’ll be doing once I pull away from this calm spot. So I linger - chewing on my bagel - and enjoy the last few moments of quiet before a firestorm of activity kicks in.

This struck me as such a great example of emotional intelligence. This is someone who really knows themselves, and their feelings. And good vacabulary, i.e., he might have said "before the nightmare begins" or "before I go nuts," or dramatic things like that, be shows remarkable restraint in this writing.

These are feelings we can all relate too - the frenetic energy of travel and being away from homw, especially for business.

But how many of us have the emotional intelligence to find a quiet moment and pull over the the side of the road and rest.

Well, I did the other day. I'd been in the car seemingly all day. Well, a drive, then a 3-hour appointment, then an hour's drive, and I arrived at the destination early. It was mid-afternoon, and I've never really wanted to give up my preschooler's afternoon nap, so I pulled off the road to grab 40 winks. Except in this case, I pulled into a large and empty church parking lot, because I thought I'd be safe there. I was way over by the dumpster, and there were just a couple cars way over on the other side.

I laid back the car seat, opened the windows, and leaned back to relax. Several minutes later there was a knock on the window. Some man was concerned about the daycare there and not wanting the children to ... you know. The knock on the window scared me and took away all the good effects of the rest.

So - remember - it's emotional intelligence but alsological/intellectual intelligence, i.e., next time I won't choose a church parking lot!

And back to our friend, above. I feel sure he handled the travel well. He sounds like that kinda guy.

Call Susan Dunn the Emotional Intelligence Coach for help in increasing your emotional intelligence. I offer online courses, email support, phone coaching, and in addition, I train and certify coaches internationally. Don't wait. Do it now. Before the firestorm of activity begins. Again. or 817-734-1471.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Emotional Intelligence better predictor of success in life than high grades in high school

The Huffington Post has an interesting new article about emotional intelligence. You can read it here.

A few quotes:

"School is a place where former A students teach mostly B students to work for C students."

High school grades were never designed to assess the qualities that make you a success in the working world -- like single-minded drive, creativity, and the ability to read people accurately.

Over the last decade, [psychologist James] Parker has been testing first-year students at Trent [University] for social and emotional intelligence, qualities such as understanding of themselves and of others, plus the ability to adapt and manage stress.

So what was the difference between A students and the ones who struggled or even dropped out? It was emotional intelligence, especially the ability to adapt and manage stress.

If you'd like to increase you emotional intelligence (EQ) or learn how to teach others how to increase theirs, by being a certified EQ Coach, email me at .

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, offers a long-distance, Internet program to train and certify emotional intelligence (EQ) coaches. The course is based on empirical data and research and consists of reading material on the Internet, email support and weekly phone calls. For more information contact Susan at or visit her on the web. Susan Dunn has trained and certified coaches all over the world in this highly effective, affordable program.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

How to Talk to a Woman - LBJ talks to Jackie Kennedy

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Lyndon G. Johnson (LBJ) pushed through a lot of important legislation. If you listen to his tapes, which are available on you will get an idea of behind-the-scenes, and what a great persuader he was.

And if you listen to his conversation with Jackie Kennedy, gentlemen, you will see how he was able to "seduce" people to do what he wanted. He was just "flirting" - he mentions his wife, mother, sister. But these are the things most women tell me they want to hear. And especially that you have time for your lady.

Look here.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Avoid Nigerian and Malaysian Romance Scam Artists Using your Emotional Intelligence

A sad new scam is becoming very prevalent on the Internet - romance scam. Generally the romance scam artists are from Nigeria - though lately from Malaysia as well. They are operating out of Internet cafes, and often correspond with 10-11 woman at a time, hoping to make the kill.

How does this relate to emotional intelligence?

First of all, that you need to have keen instincts when you are dating online. The Nigerian scam artists use the legitimate sites, such as and, and they also will stalk you down on facebook. You can go to DATING COACH BLOG to learn about the common modus operandi. Bad grammar and poor spelling are the first clues (for instance, "I work on the buildings been built). They use the same phrases over and over, one of which is "age is just a mare [sic] number." They also are vague on the details about their supposed hometown (i.e., live in San Antonio, but go blank - get offline when you mention the Alamo). They do not answer your more pressing questions. They often "brb" at important times, or will say that their Internet connection went down. (Either they don't want to answer the question, or they are IMing with another woman/other women). They ask you to go to yahoo IM right away - and yahoo does their best to warn you to be careful who you let chat with you. Read more clues on the Dating Coach Blog.

So, use your INTUITION. If something seems odd, or you get a funny feeling, or something just doesn't seem right, go with your instincts. I've had a lot of experience with this with clients -- sadly -- and can help you ferret out the Nigerian scam artists. And keep Malaysia in mind as well.

Secondly, these Nigerian romance scam artists and Malaysian romance scam artists are psychologically astute. Remember how I've told you that you need to learn EQ because if something can be used against you, you need to know all about it?

They prey on the kind-hearted, the woman who does good deeds, the woman who mentions she is lonely, the woman who says there are no men in her life (to stand by her), the ones who appear a little desperate, and the ones who respond emotionally.

They prey on women who are constantly available -- it's a clue.

They use reassuring phrases all woman want to hear, such as "I'm here for you," "I've got your back," "if XXX happens, just call me," "I will never abandon you," "Call me any time." (Actually they will prefer to place the call, but you get the gist of what I'm saying.

They will peruse your profile and glom on to your interests -- if you're a dog lover, so are they. If you give to charities, that's what they're doing right now.

They are often "engineers" and "project managers," because they know this is a field few women know anything about.

If you say you don't have any money to send them, they will say you are lieing. (You are, and we all hate to be called 'liars'.) They will call you a hypocrite for saying you loved them and not being willing to "help" them.

They will get emotional and put pressure on you, right where you can take it the least.

Knowing you don't trust men, they will give you the names of women to call for verification. These are accomplices, usually in the US, with names like "Candace" and smooth voices.

Nigerian Romance Scammers and Malaysian Romance Scammers -- just another reason to hone up your emotional intelligence.

These guys make their money because they know more about emotional intelligence than their poor victims do! Online dating scams are beoming as prevalent as the email / lottery deals and the Nigerian 419.

Most of all, remember that "if it seems too good to be true," it is. This is a photo often used by scammers (bear in mind the real man in the photograph is not the offender). Now isn't he just too good to be true? He has gone by Gabsy Fisher, John Armstrong,
Mark Braxton, Mike Smith, Scott Smith, Kevin Williams ... and more. (They generally choose very Anglo names.)
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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

11 things Not to Do on Your New Job

We are intensely territorial at heart. Our reptilian brains are keyed to be suspicious of "intruders," and to fear what we don't know. Your first few days in a new job, you're being scrutinized under a microscope and are only tentatively welcome. Use your Emotional Intelligence to survive the first 100 hours! Here are 11 things NOT to do.


If you do nothing else, remember people's names. When introduced, wait expectantly for a cue. If they stick out their hand, shake it. if they don't, just smile and say the usual.


Take it easy bringing your "things" to the office. Save the photos and personal items for a while. Place your yogurt discretely at the back of the refrigerator. Don't grab any old cup from the coffee room, or start making the coffee until you see how it's done. It's a reptilian, territorial thing. You're moving into THEIR turf.


Keep your conversation light, neutral, and just enough to be friendly. Sure as you get loose, you'll step on someone's toes. You don't know yet who just got divorced, who's married to an Italian, and who's opposed to daycare. As soon as you say, "Well personally I hate..." the next person who comes in will have that, do that, like that, or live there.

Use "neutral" language and tone of voice, like the anchor people do. Avoid any slang or colloquialisms in this new country. The King's English: what you learned in school.


Maybe everyone leaves at 5:31 on the dot; maybe they don't. Keep a low profile and pay attention to what others are doing. You're moving into an established culture and they have a set way of doings things whether they're mindful of it or not. You want to fit in, not stand out. Remember the saying, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."


Save the designer stuff and status symbols. Appearing "better than," in any way, will backfire on you later. If you drive a brand new expensive something or other, park at the back of the lot, and don't advertise it. If you just got back from a barefoot cruise, or just bought a new home, save it for later. You don't know the circumstances of those around you. The person you're telling may have just filed bankruptcy.

And speaking of parking ... one first day on a job, with uncanny bad form, I actually managed to park in the boss' unmarked, but definitely claimed, parking place. "How lucky," I thought. "I can park right in front of the door."


They don't trust you yet. "Get" that. Don't volunteer to make the coffee or make the nightly run to FedEx. You could poison them. You might never make it to the FedEx office. (I am not kidding.)


Pace your initial tasks. If you start out blazing, you'll be held to that pace forever, or you may threaten others who do what you do. If you go too slow, you might not be there long. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

8. Don't SAY 'NO'.

If you're asked to join them for lunch, pitch in for a baby shower gift, "grab the phone," or do a task for someone, say "yes." If something goes against the grain (and there's always one person in an office who tries to make life hell for the new guy it seems), file it for later. First you need to find out how disputes are handled.

The good manager, the one with the high EQ who knows people, and knows HER people, will tell you, "If so-and-so gives you any trouble, just be nice. Then come tell me and I'll take care of it." The inept manager won't know, or isn't willing to deal with it, and you'll have to figure it out for yourself. How do you do this? By having your antennae out. Observe and process.

EXCEPTION: Occasionally in an office you're ignored for the first few weeks, except by the loser, who will ask you to join him or her for lunch, trying to build an alliance. In that case, you come up with an excuse ("Sorry, gotta run to the bank at noon.")


You'll notice things that could be done differently and better, but if you speak at this point it will sound like complaining or criticizing. If it's too hot or too cold, for instance, wait it out. The "new kid on the block" isn't entitled to anything. You can straighten the place out later.


You watch the Discovery Channel, don’t you? Well, picture the troop of monkeys, i.e., if you’re not the alpha male, you’re just one of the pack, so start grinning and grooming the others.


In physics it’s called “sensitive initial conditions." It means the way “it" (any system) begins makes a huge and permanent difference. Think of what you say and do as being broadcast with a loudspeaker into a cavern which will reverberate and echo for months. There’s not such thing as an “innocent comment" when you’re new, and if you show up in a bright print dress when everyone else is in neutral and pants, you’ll reinvent the term “sticking out like a sore thumb."
The onus (hard work) is on you. They will be ADJUSTING to you. You must ADAPT to them (a far stronger concept). When in doubt, get coaching! You want to get off to a good start.

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The Politeness Pundit

by Susan Dunn, Coach

Is that you? If so, huzzah, you’ve found a fellow champion (and I, you)!

Do you walk around shaking your head these days, wondering why it all has to be so nasty? Do you listen to someone cop an attitude to someone else (beyond the age of, say, 18, where copping an attitude is expected) and have that ‘nails on a blackboard’ feeling? Do you watch someone go after someone else at work in a perfectly awful way, seemingly just for the sport of it, and shudder? Do you wonder where the politeness has gone? And why?

If so, you may wonder, as I do, what their childhood was like that they failed to rise above the stuff of childhood. Now, I’ll admit I had the perfect childhood for exploring my own nastiness and the limitations of the rewards of same. I had a twin sister (as well as other siblings). Twins spend an inordinate amount of time together. It’s the ultimate test: get along or die.

We fought like cats and dogs. Mother would banish us to separate rooms and we’d cry to get back together again (so she said). What’s a mother to do? Eventually she gave up, smart woman that she was, and let us sort it out.

What was I to do? My twin took my necklace, slopped her things all over my side of the room, took MY Snicker’s bar, occasionally lost her temper and said nasty things to me, and sometimes (when Mother wasn’t looking, which was most of the time) even slapped me around a bit. And she was always there! That’s the thing: it doesn’t go away.

On the other hand, I never had to start school alone. I could take her Snicker’s bar, as well as borrow her necklace. I never had to wake up alone in the night. And we could gang up on someone who was nasty to one of us.

I can’t say I “struggled" with this; it was just a fact of life, and in some muddled child-y sort of way, I figured out the good outweighed the bad, and that I’d just have to figure out something.

It was helped by an act of fate: my father’s latest promotion landed us in a new high school of 4,000, not knowing anyone but each other. I think we both decided it might be smart to get along with one another.

While we weren’t that crazy about one another at that point, we were all we had. And there’s a sense in which that’s true of all of us, no?

There in that office where you work is this little group of people you’re stuck with all day long, like it or not. So why not get along? Would it be so difficult? No, it would not, and it brings nice results. If you’re the egocentric type – it helps your health. If you’re another type – you’ve learned by now, I’m sure, that sugar works better than vinegar, or however that saying goes.

I’m struck with the irrelevant things people blame their nastiness on – I can’t stand my manager, they don’t know how to do things around here, she gets on my nerves, they don’t appreciate me … and then the I have a headache, backache, teenager at home, PMS. Who doesn’t? That’s an excuse, not a reason.

It isn’t all about you. And check out your premises. Who said you have to like someone to get along with them? Who says you have to be feeling good to behave in a civilized manner?

It’s the same with marriage – barring true pathology on the party of the first part, or the second, you’re going to encounter the same set of bowling pins at the end of every bowling alley. Things are not, nor will they ever be, arranged for your sole satisfaction.

Because we live and work together, we have etiquette (or used to): the rules of how to behave in public. It may be experiencing a comeback. Some of us would be relieved to see more of it.


·Pollyanna walks through the usual stress-filled office with a big smile on her face and Scrooge says, “Why are you smiling? Are you on drugs or something?"
POLITENESS POINT: If you’re so unhappy you must stamp out all signs of it in others, get therapy.

·Mario turns a corner and runs into someone who snarls at him.
POLITNESS POINT: Since when did we stop walking (as we drive) on the right side (not the ‘correct’ side, the right-as-opposed-to-left side) of the hallway? The rules are what make orderly life possible. You see how many squabbles could be prevented if we did something like this?

·People walk in without greeting one another, which not only makes it impossible for the phone receptionist to know who’s there, but puts a surly tone to it all. POLITENESS POINT: Didn’t your mother instruct you to say “Good morning. Did you sleep well?" when you came to the breakfast table? COROLLARY: Whether you meant it or not. That’s sort of the point.

·Flick hands Flack a phone message, who takes it, grunts, turns oh his heel and walks off.
POLITENESS POINT: What happened to “Thank you" and “You’re welcome."

·Curly, Larry and Moe head out to lunch, not inviting the 4th member of the department to join them, for whatever reason, and saying nothing.
POLITENESS POINT: “We’re going to have lunch to talk about our part of the project. I know you’ve had enough of it, so you don’t have to come."

·Playing the game of “let’s get the new person."
POLITENESS POINT: Frat hazing is for frat boys. Grow up.

·Someone comes from another culture/dresses weird/is known to be a stamp collector/takes punctuation a little too seriously so let’s mob up on them and make their life miserable.
POLITENESS POINT: Very astute, Sherlock, that they’re different, but if you need to make someone else feel small in order to make yourself feel big, get therapy.

·Mary’s bored so she starts a rumor about Harry.
POLITENESS POINT: Isn’t there some work you’re supposed to be doing?

·You’re the boss, it’s your shop, you fought and scrambled to get there, so now you’ve earned the right to act like a petulant two-year-old.
POLITENESS POINT: Life is long. What goes around comes around.
COROLLARY: Do you have any idea what you look like when you’re acting that way?

·When you were climbing up the ladder Attila the Hun was nasty to you, so now it’s your turn.
POLITENESS POINT: Instead of “turn about is fair play," how about getting your knuckles off the ground and treating people the way you wish you’d been treated and weren’t? In addition to giving you a delicious sense of righteousness, it could also save your health, not to mention that of those around you.

·You can’t control yourself because you’re under too much stress/have more to do than everyone else/produce the most/are special.
POLITENESS POINT: Give me a break.

· You don’t like something about someone so you’re rude.
POLITENESS POINT: If you aren’t past the point of logic and reason, did you ever consider they probably don’t like something about you as well, so that’s not a reason!


Etiquette and good manners sort of level the playing field in your head. It means how you act regardless of whom you’re with. Therefore it shows more about you than about the other, i.e., Dave Barry’s quote that someone who’s nice to you, but not nice to the water, is not a nice person.

And BTW, the point of being nice isn’t to be popular; it’s about smoothing out daily interactions. Etiquette eliminates a lot of the friction that drives us all nuts. We can all be little beasties. That’s why dinner manner developed … there we all are with sharp instruments in our hands.


1.If you haven’t figured out yet that you have a choice how you feel, act and think, and that they affect your health, do some reading, get some coaching, get enlightened.

2.Your Emotional Intelligence, your ability to manage yourself and your relationships (of all kinds), affects your success, happiness, and health.

3.Learn where the silverware goes. One reason people are nasty is because they feel inferior, and there are books you can read and courses you can take that will get you to a level where you’re comfortable. Here, I can tell you in one sentence something that will help: “Work the silverware from the outside in." (There’s more, but not a whole lot more.)

4.Say “please," “thank you," “you’re welcome," and “I apologize." (I apologize is great, BTW, because that you can always do, while you may not really “be sorry" in the strictest sense of the term. (Hey, I’m a pundit!)

5.Ask permission. You may intend to take a cell phone call during the lunch one way or another, but politeness dictates you ask (“I’m expecting an important call I must take. Do you mind?"). The beauty is politeness will dictate they respond, “Why no, I don’t mind at all." See how it works?

6.Read Emily Post (in its 16th edition). Would it help persuade you to know it’s listed on ?

7.Pay attention to the small things. Walk on the righte side, let others in front of you in line when you can afford to (it’s good self-discipline), smile, use people’s names, pass the salt and pepper, offer to get something or do something for someone else once in a while.

8.Don’t put people who use good manners in the penalty box. There’s a creeping sentiment these days that someone who says please and thank you is a lightweight.

9.Keep some boundaries. It used to be not everyone wanted to hear about your sex life, religious preference, forms of medication you use, or political persuasion. Nowadays there are 50 additional things not imagined 25 years ago that we don’t want to hear about. Save it.


Reduced friction. Less stress.

Studies show repeatedly that money is not the top reason why people stay at jobs. They want an environment of respectfulness, and to feel meaning and purpose in what they do. Etiquette accomplishes both. If you’re in a respectful situation, you respect the situation. Get it?

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Successful Aging: Emotional Intelligence and Transitioning to New Roles

Successful Aging: Emotional Intelligence and Transitioning to New Roles
Your most-valued new role amounts to why you like being alive.
By: Susan Dunn
"I don't know how to do anything. "

My friend who retired last year from years on Wall Street tells me, “I have to watch very carefully how I spend my money. I don’t know how to do anything.”

We Identify With Our Roles

One of the reasons people find retirement challenging, is also the solution to the problem of better aging: we identify with roles in our lives. Worse than that, we enjoy them. They’re what our life is all about or we wouldn’t have been doing them in the first place.

Now my friend certainly knows how to do things. He can cook his breakfast, he’s an attentive father, he knows how to mow the lawn. But to his way of thinking, now that he’s no longer a broker, he “doesn’t know how to do anything.”

Whether it’s being a manager, a doctor, or a mother, a recent study confirms we do best when have control over roles we value, and that this is more important than a sense of control over life itself. ["Role-Specific Feelings of Control and Mortality," Neal Krause, Ph.D., and Benjamin A. Shaw, Ph.D.; Psychology and Aging, Vol. 15, No. 4.]

What does this mean to you and me on a daily basis?

In the study, conducted over 6-7 years, participants were asked to name the roles they valued most in their lives, including such things as parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, friend, homemaker, provider, volunteer work, church member, etc.
In the follow-up study it was found that participants who were able to maintain a sense of control over the role most important to them were less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors (smoking, drinking, obesity) and less likely to die prematurely. And, the research found, it was only the most important valued role that correlated with decline, not choices two and three.

By “having a sense of control,” I imagine they mean being able to continue doing that. I also would imagine, unless your life has been different of mine, there’s no sense assuming control over life in general. You’ve learned that by now!
Your most-valued role amounts to why you like being alive, or what makes life worth living. In other words, what matters to you.

Psychological Coping Abilities Decline With Age

The researchers suggest that psychological coping abilities “decline” with age. I suggest they can be bolstered, even increase by studying EQ, and a look ahead is an emotionally intelligent thing to do.

In my coaching work with clients in transition, the “transition” often amounts to the fact they’ve lost or been ousted from a role they enjoyed. Some were fired, some forced into retirement, others lost children prematurely, others are between parenting and grand parenting, and not “needed” by anyone in that special nurturing role.

How can you cope better? While life is about losses, it is equally about gains and wins. While you may be dumb-founded by an immediate loss, with time and Emotional Intelligence competencies, you can make the next step and find a new role.

Resilience is one of the many EQ competencies and it means being able to bounce back after loss, failure, and defeat, while remaining hopeful and enthusiastic.

Somewhere there’s a baby crying … a group that needs managing … an account that needs balancing. How you define your role is up to you. It’s personal choice and that’s what EQ is all about. You may no longer run Coca-Cola, but you can run the volunteer department of the local children’s shelter.

We’re so busy when we’re young, and so many of the roles are proscribed, we can forget it’s an open and flexible system.

Lamenting my “last baby,” I was reminded by an older friend that she went weekly to the neonatal unit at the hospital and sat and rocked the newborns.

On a recent flight to Seattle, I met an 80 year old woman with her foster baby. She took newborns to their adoptive parents, usually a plane ride. There she was with infant seat, bottles, diaper bag, and the whole thing. How she did it physically I don’t know. It must’ve been the drive of her heart, the satisfaction she got, and the physical condition she had to be in to do it. The heart will motivate.

Re-Creating Roles Is One Thing You Can Do For Better Aging

Emotional Intelligence involves flexibility and being able to generate new solutions. Just as the teenager must one day have her first job, you will one day have to move into new territory. Re-creating roles is one thing you can do for better aging. If you are “stuck” on a certain definition and in the “yes, but” mode, consider something different.

CLIENT: I miss so much being a mother.
ME: Then go mother someone.
CLIENT: That’s not the same thing. That’s not being their real mother.
ME: Says who?

I have had, when working at the children’s shelter, a child tell me, “I know you’re my real mom.” Yes, it’s heart-rending. Yes, that’s part of it. Wasn’t it part of it the first time round?

As a volunteer director, I relied on many people who were starting new roles, and the more they considered it their job, their real job, the more helpful they were to me.
Managing the kitchen of the shelter can be as much a real management job as you make it, and if you think it isn’t “real” and isn’t needed, on what do you base your judgment? Does money have to change hands? There are other things to work for, and other rewards, and if being important is one of them, you will, if anything, be more important, because many volunteers call in at the slightest whim to cancel, or don’t show up at all. They don’t take it seriously. Taking things seriously is a personal decision and totally within your control.

Molly has “adopted” her niece and nephew by-marriage, who are very young and going through some very difficult times. Notice these people are not even related to her. With a newborn in the house, their toddler has been diagnosed with a heart defect, possibly terminal, and requiring lots of care, while one of their parents is also dying. No one told them Molly wasn’t their mother. And believe me, no one asked for her credentials when she showed up at the door of this overwhelmed young couple.
Somewhere there’s someone who needs you in the role you value most, and if you haven’t found them, you’re being lazy. Don’t be lazy. You’re needed. Get out there!

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Saturday, May 07, 2011

Mother's Day


My mother - first on the left.
Her mother is on the far right.

Your mother ...
No relationship is so fraught with ambivalence.

She loved you, yes,
but she also took things away (those enticing scissors)
made you eat things you didn't like (squach!)
made you do things you didn't want to do (go to school)
babied you when you didn't want it (as a teen)
failed to baby you when you wanted it (as an adult)

for those who are with their kids, and those who are not

My favorite --
if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have
one. (e.e. cummings)

And some more quotes:

No one in the world can take the place of your mother. Right or wrong, from her viewpoint you are always right. She may scold you for little things, but never for the big ones. ~Harry Truman

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers. ~Jewish Proverb

Life is the fruit she longs to hand you,
Ripe on a plate.
And while you live,
Relentlessly she understands you.
~Phyllis McGinley

Because I feel that in the heavens above
The angels, whispering one to another,
Can find among their burning tears of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore, by that dear name I have long called you,
You who are more than mother unto me.
~Edgar Allan Poe

The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks. ~Carrie Latet

A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest. ~Irish Proverb

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Mechanics of Fear of the Unknown

From "Overcoming my Obstinance" by Joshua Freedman, 6 seconds

Good stuff

Zooming into the neurobiology, in a sense we have a tug-of-war between the striatum and the amygdala, between opportunity and risk. The striatum is part of the basal ganglia, a “bump” at the lower-back of the brain implicated in many aspects of decision-making as well as balance and navigation. Interestingly, this center seems to manage balance both in terms of physical motion and in terms of wisdom. The striatum, specifically, is tied to reward, novelty, and forward planning. When we’re looking ahead, anticipating with pleasure, and innovating the striatum is active.

However, when we’re anxious or uncertain, activity here decreases. For example, a team of neuroeconomists at Caltech ran an experiment with decision-making; as uncertainty increased, fear centers in the brain became more active while there was decreased activities in the striatum (Ming Hsu et al 2005).

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Susan Dunn's Favorite Communication Operating Principles

Favorite Communication Operating Principles
by Susan Dunn

Virginia Sapir, a psychologist and pioneer in family counseling, wrote: "Once a human being has arrived on this earth, communication is the largest single factor determining what kinds of relationships he makes with others and what happens to him in the world about him."

With this in mind, I present some my favorite Communication Operating Principals.

1. "In order to understand what another person is saying you must assume it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of."
~ George Miller ~

2. "The first law of communication is: Assume you have been misunderstood."
~ Source Unknown ~

3. "Men can take up to 7 hours longer [than women] to process complex emotive data. [They] will not know what they feel at the moment of feeling and will take longer to figure it out. [They] may not be able to put their feelings in words - if they choose a verbal strategy at all."
~Michael Gurian, author of "What Could He Be Thinking" ~

4. "Verbal confrontation is as natural to men as walking or breathing, and as unconscious."
~ Suzette Haden Elgin, author of "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense" ~

5. "There is a libraryful of research to indicate that logic is almost useless as a way of convincing people of anything."
~ Suzette Haden Elgin ~

6. "Never use Hedges ('I know you'd never let me, but . '). They are exactly equivalent to wearing a big sign that say 'Please kick me - I would love to be a victim.'"
~ Suzette Haden Elgin ~

7. "If a man truly wants to communicate with his wife, he must enter her world of emotions."
~ Gary Smalley ~

8. "For parlor use, the vague generality is a life saver."
~ George Ade ~

9. "The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said."
~ Peter Drucker ~

10. "Sympathetic people often don't communicate well. They * back reflected images which hide their own depths."
~ George Eliot ~

11. "If you can always be taken by surprise because you have no idea what verbal aggression is or how to spot it, you are an ideal target."
~ Suzette Haden Elgin ~

12. "The genius of communication is the ability to be both totally honest and totally kind at the same time."
~ John Powell ~

Whether we're communicating at work, socially, or in an intimate relationship, and whether we're communicating thoughts or feelings, it's a strategy, a choice we make in an effort to accomplish something. And, it's good to remember - if you're there, you're communicating SOMETHING, whether you mean to or not.

Interpersonal skills are part of emotional intelligence and can be learned. Become aware of your communication style and work to improve it.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Emotional Intelligence

Great speaker on emotional intelligence
Keynote motivational speaker, Rachel Green, on emotional intelligence & self-confidence

Susan Dunn, Emotional Intelligence, can help you improve your emotional intelligence. Email me at for programs, coaching, and resources.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Matters

This could be the most important article your read this year about emotional intelligence, love, relationships, dating, and success.

What the science of human nature can teach us:

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Friday, January 14, 2011

How to Attain Happiness in 2011

How to Attain Happiness in 2011?

First, as my father, the lawyer, would say, "Define your terms."

Happiness. How elusive it is for us. How do we define it? For many it is about "peak experiences" - getting that girl to marry you, or getting a big promotion at work.

For others it's worse - it's about having everything you want. All at once. Forever. Or else you refuse to be happy.

For most of us, it has to do with self-esteem. Happiness is ... well, UNhappiness is when you feel like a loser or a failure. It is difficult for us to avoid comparing ourselves to others, and/or comparing ourselves to former times when we were (richer, happier, better, healthier, thinner, prettier ) or to our own dashed, or not-yet-met expectations. There are also the parental edicts that we try to live up to.

Let's take a look at some of the latest research out of Duke University, which just makes sense. It is also one of the EQ competencies I teach in THE EQ FOUNDATION COURSE(tm) and in coaching. What is the key to happiness? Take a fresh look. And remember it next time you (1) lose another bluetooth; (2) get rejected by the man of your dreams and think you must have done something wrong; (3) make a poor decision; (4) snap at an innocent person out of anger; or otherwise behave like the imperfect human being that we all are.

If you want to add improving your EQ to your list of new year's resolutions, I'm here to help. Email me at for more information. New classes starting weekly, all long-distance, affordable
and effective. Individualized instruction, with unlimited email support.

3 Steps to a Happier You is the name of a great new article by Meg Lundstrom appearing on
webmd. You can read the full article here:-

"For greater peace of mind, learn the secrets to self-compassion" is the subtitle and it begins

"High self-esteem has long been touted by psychologists as the key to happiness and success. But these days, experts are questioning self-esteem's status as a personal cure-all - noting that it's hard to acquire, even harder to hang on to, and can lead to arrogance and narcissism."

It goes on to talk about what DOES create a "healthy, resilient psyche," (wait a minute ... is THAT the definition of 'happiness'?) and guess what it is? The old emotional intelligence competency we know as "BE ADAMANTLY AND RELENTLESSLY SELF-FORGIVING."

Step No. 1 is "realize that you're only human."
How many times we poor souls need to hear this. It never seems to sink in that we are -- like all humans -- fallible. We will make mistakes.

Keeping this in mind, and cutting yourself some slack, says the latest research from Duke University (which has done some great research in this field) - it's where the doctor works who wrote "Anger Kills") will make you feel "less anxious, depressed, and angry" which will, in turn, help you to recover faster.

If you raise your self-awareness (the cornerstone of emotional intelligence), and listen to your self-talk, you will hear how horribly you talk to yourself.

I often hear this from a client on the phone. "I'm so stupid. I just can't ever remember..."

I suspect that these are things you would never think of saying to someone else, and yet you allow YOU to say it to YOU.

One way to counteract this is to pick up a mantra such as, "That's funny, I'm usually very competent and remember where I put my keyes.'

See how much better you feel?(And how more realistic it is?)

Such harsh self-talk is evidence of what Freud would call "a harsh super-ego" and it is generally learned from how we have been talked to by our parents and other authority figures in our youth. Think about it. Now it's YOUR turn to take over.

Step 2 they call "Feel your pain." Don't push the bad feelings down, but don't dwell on them either. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.

Psychology professor Kristin Neff, Ph.D., of the University of Texas at Austin, says, "...if you simply allow yourself to feel the emotion and let it run its course - which is often a wave that builds and tapers off - it dissipates much more quickly."

(Remember that our goal in emotional intelligence is - re: those negative feelings - to get there less often and more slowly, to stay there a shorter less intense time, and to recover more quickly and more completely - see THE EQ FOUNDATION COURSE[tm])(Who needs tips on handling the positive, pleasant emotions??)

Then there are those old things we KNOW we should do, and FORGET to do - taking deep breaths, focusing on bodily sensations, and the like.

Step No. 3 is about talking to yourself with kindness.

The article ends with: "Learning to be more loving toward yourself also brings a less obvious but equally important benefit: You'll soon find yourself extending that compassion to others and, in the process, making the world a kinder place."

Now THAT'S happiness.

Learn more about these and other tips for RESILIENCE and EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE with coaching or by taking THE EQ FOUNDATION COURSE(tm).

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The New Staffing

The New Staffing by Coach Susan Dunn

If you've ever been in marketing, you know it's in your blood, and it never leaves. It's also innate to most successful business owners and managers; that constant monitoring of what's going on, with the eyes, ears, nose and throat of the consumer. I'm reminded of Conrad Hilton's wife who said she refused to travel with him. The founder of the Hilton chain, he couldn't enter a hotel without taking mental notes and giving a running commentary.

Having spent a number of years in marketing in my earlier career years, I'm the same way. I never walk into a store, hotel, or restaurant without moving into my "observing ego position" and noting my reactions as a consumer. In other words, I notice things.

Now, bad management is a no-brainer -- waiting 30 minutes for an appetizer, or being insulted or ignored by a sales clerk. But it's often the smaller, more subtle, mistakes that will cumulatively sink a business. When doing marketing for a living, I never took on an account without visiting the place and looking it over, preferably unannounced and incognito. It reveals a wealth of information you can't get from spreadsheets, intellectualized marketing plans, or conversations with "suits" located in a headquarters' office thousands of miles from the scene of the crime, as it were. It's crucial to be able to put on a "consumer" hat and find out what it feels like to walk into your organization or place of business and see how you're treated. Note: This is NOT the same as announcing that the CEO is coming for an inspection or a visit.

Many businesses are having problems these days with staffing and I saw a unique solution the other day. Establishments that run close to 24/7, and experience "peaks" and "lulls" face a particular challenge. Some have switched to offering 4- and 6-hour shifts to employees, but this had a new spin on it.


I happened into my favorite cafeteria the other day after not having been there in a month or two, and it was like walking into a completely new place. I enjoy eating at this cafeteria now-and-then, for all the reasons people like a good cafeteria. I try and avoid peak times there, but I've hit them often enough to see what a challenge they have when people are lined up winding around to the door.

I usually go at an off-time, when there may be only 2 or 3 of us in line, and here's what happens. The 2 (or 3) of us grab our trays and then stand there. There's someone down by the vegetables, but obviously the salad isn't their thing. Eventually someone comes from the back (the kitchen) or the side (takeout orders) and gives us a salad. They disappear back to where they came from, and we move down to the meat, where there is again, no one. The vegetable person calls someone from the back. And so it goes.

When we get to the register at the end, there's no one there. This person may be out wiping tables, or in the kitchen filling those little plastic containers with horseradish. Later, when it's time to pay, it's the same thing. The person who should be at that register is not.

Therefore, paradoxically, it can take longer for me to complete the meal process at a lull time than at a peak time.

Last week I walked in at a lull time and couldn't believe what I saw. I loved it! Now - consider that as a consumer statement. The change was palpable and grabbed my attention and I knew, intuitively, it was a good one. Wouldn't you like that to happen in your place of business?

There were 5 fresh young faces behind the counter and they were smiling. I would say these teenagers serving the food were at the minimum legal age of hire. Those of us in line had smiles on our faces as the "kids" dished up the food, asked impossible questions, passed things the wrong way, and didn't seem overly concerned. My feeling, as a consumer who sometimes will complain to a manager, was "Now who am I going to yell at? Not these kids. How could you fuss? They don't know any better. And besides, they're pleasant"

Many consumer these days would trade a "pleasant" experience, to an "efficient" one.

Later when it was time to pay, there was another surprise. A gentleman sat solidly at the register slowly and carefully counting out the money offered him by the person in front of me, while being quite gracious. He had trouble telling a quarter from a nickel, but it all got worked out. He must have been over 70 years old. He looked sharp in his uniform shirt. My reactions, as a consumer, and concerned citizen of the US, were these, in no particular order: So many people can't live on social security or busted 401Ks these day, isn't it wonderful they hire seniors? This is going to be slow, so I might as well calm down. I don't want to put pressure on him, it would rattle him, and he'd go even slower."

A person of any age can have this sort of demeanor and aura, but one finds it more in seniors. After all, they've seen a real emergency, they know that most things work out, and they aren't about to fall for your "hurry up" vibes, because they know that "haste makes waste. So who am I going to yell at?

"Yelling at" is a figure of speech here. As a consumer, I expect certain things when I walk into an establishment hoping to spend my money there, and if it doesn't occur, I'm miffed. Sometimes I say something to the manager. Occasionally I'll write the corporate, though not just for a free gift certificate as some do, and I'm more likely to do it with praise than with criticism. Criticism is best addressed at the local level.

Most often I do what every business owner dreads. I express my dissatisfaction by never returning. They don't get a second chance. (Savvy managers love to hear customer complaints; that's how you learn what's working and what isn't, and, paradoxically, it's also how you get loyal customers. During my former years in public relations, I knew when I had a protestor on the phone, I had at least a 60-40 chance of converting them to a real fan.


From the minute I walked into the place, the atmosphere was different. What do you imagine was the difference in attitude and behavior in a staff consisting totally of people under 20, and people over 65? What would you think would be the pros and cons to yourself as manager or owner, and to the consumer? Here are some of the positives:

. Consumer expectations are radically changed. . Two age groups available for peak staffing and short shifts. . Two age groups grateful for work and often willing to work for less. . Two age groups not at the peak working years, so less likely to be in a state of current of pending burnout. . No one behind the counter is complaining that their feet or back hurt from standing for hours. . No one at the register is complaining that it's "confining" and "boring" to have to sit on a stool for hours. . Two age groups which really enjoy socializing and may prefer jobs with opportunities to visit and chat with co-workers and customers. . Two age groups which are generally more focused on the moment so, therefore, are less likely to be in a hurry or impatient with customers. . Two age groups the 35-50 year old consumer will relate to with nurturing instincts - they see their child or their parent behind the counter. . Two age groups not so likely to get "hired away" from you. . Two age groups that don't have small children at home.

Today's business demands require thinking outside the box, and I'll give this manager an A+ for innovation. I think he or she found a plan that will work.

About the author: ©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, . Helping individuals and businesses improve their emotional intelligence for more success and wellness. Coaching, business programs, diversity, Internet courses and ebooks. I train and certify EQ coaches. Fast, affordable, comprehensive, no-residency program training coaches worldwide. for more information or free ezine.

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