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 sdunn@susandunn.cc 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: newyorker.com

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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 sdunn@susandunn.cc 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:- http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/3-steps-happier-you?page=2.

"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, http://www.susandunn.cc . 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. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for more information or free ezine.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Processing the Holidays

It's mid-January, the holidays have settled in the dust, and it's a good time to process what went on.

This article by Susan Dunn is called "Dysfunctional Family Christmas"


The articles are starting to appear in print and on the Internet about how to cope with the holiday family get-togethers and the word 'dysfunctional' will be bandied about.

This article is about another way of looking at things I hope will be helpful. 'Dysfunction' refers to something that doesn't function the way it should; something that doesn't do what it's supposed to. 'Dys' means 'bad' or 'difficult.'

Now, unless you're a flaming extravert with a staff of 10 to help you, it may well be 'difficult.' Whether it will be 'bad' is another matter.

Thank heavens for Positive Psychology! Barring extremes, why not assume your holiday is functioning normally, that is, like everyone else's ' it isn't perfect, but it's functioning just fine.

How so? The reason we talk about 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' at Christmas is because it's an ideal. We pray for it because it exists so rarely, in brief moments only, or maybe a state of the heart. It's the song the angels sing.

Let's put a new spin on this by looking at the function of a family. The function of a family is to nurture, but it's also about learning to relate and deal with emotions. It's about imperfect you learning how to co-exist with imperfect others in an imperfect world, and it's the proving ground for getting out into the real world. It's where we learn many life lessons.

Some of them are what to do when we don't get what we want, how to fight and make up, how to share and how to get our share, how to comfort or soothe someone else or ourselves, what to do when other people are angry or when we are, and how to keep loving someone when we really don't like what they're doing. In other words how to deal with the ins and outs of interpersonal relating with resilience.

And what better place to experience this than at the family get-together? It will all be there. It always is.

The only totally calm, uneventful Christmas I participated in, where there were no tiffs and sputters and frustrations, everyone was numbed from a recent tragedy and simply going through the motions. We could've been in bed asleep, except we were sitting up, walking around, and talking. No one had the energy for either joy or anger. Perspective did not allow us to be upset that year that the gravy was lumpy.

Emotions are energy. They're part of life. The only thing worse than the ones we don't like, would be having none at all.

But even that was a functional celebration. Grief-stricken, we were together for support, and we were doing what we could about Christmas, which seemed an ugly charade, and some of them will. It worked. It won't be featured on the front cover of 'Saturday Evening Post,' painted by Norman Rockwell, but it will remain painted in our hearts.

Positive psychology refuses to focus on what's wrong; it looks at what's right, strong, and going well. If your family is together and your sister and brother are fighting again, well didn't they always? Isn't that what siblings do? Surely they have the sense to temper it a little in light of the occasion, but if they don't, ignore it, send them outside with the dogs, use your sense of humor and EQ, and get on with your own celebration.

If you start your Christmas get-together saying, 'It's Christmas, couldn't we all just get along for an hour or two? And Mother, will you please stop crying?' think about what you're requiring. Is your household one in which it's implicit that certain emotions are not welcome (anger, disappointment, fear, sorrow)?

Of course no one in their right mind would begin by saying, 'Okay, everybody fight! Get ready, get set, Go!' But toy with that notion for a moment. What do you think would happen if you did? By welcoming it, you take away its power. Even if you said this to two preschoolers, they'd probably giggle.

It's traditional in my family that the kids are always sick at Christmas. We live in South Texas; it's allergy time. However, it has traveled with us as well! This is the one thing we can count on. It's also traditional that some of us are tired and overwrought, and the more highstrung ones will be decompensating. Some of the kids are this way too.

I remember one Christmas when I was a kid when my folks just suddenly brought the whole thing to a halt and put us all to bed for a nap. That's sensible!

There are other 'traditions' I won't go into, but let's just say people don't leave their regular personalities at home when they venture out at Christmas time.

It may be the tradition in your household that Granny will complain about the commercialism of Christmas (she always does), Uncle Fred and Aunt Mary won't be talking to one another (they never do), and Candee will be dressed inappropriately (just to embarrass her parents). Is the further tradition that you worry about these things or in some way try to prevent them happening? That might be one tradition you'd like to change this year. You might as well try and stop the tide, and you'll only make yourself miserable about being miserable.

You could also rid your mind of the 'nevers' and 'always.' People do surprise us. It has been said 'you can't go home again' because things change. It won't be there when you get there. Maybe this year Granny will have made her peace with commercialism. Ya never know.

Am I talking about extreme circumstances and crises? They can happen too. In our minds Christmas Day is something special, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a day when things that happen on any day can happen. I know several people who, sadly, had a relative die on Christmas Day, one even right at the dinner table.

The only thing you can control ' better to say 'manage' ' is your response to things that happen. You can't control what happens.

If things are really bad, you know it, and you need to do something about it, and I hope you will. Get therapy, prescribe therapy, don't show up, go with your loving partner on a cruise, or don't invite the cousin who needs to be in rehab and tell him why and pray for him.

But if it's like it is for most of us, somewhat unpredictable and nutty enough to be real, I hope you have a great, albeit imperfect Christmas, and keep your expectations flexible and low and your emotional intelligence high.

I'm thinking of the first Christmas after my son died. 'Have a Christmas,' one of my sensitive friends told me. I did. You can too.

About the author: ©Susan Dunn, MA, Personal Life Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Offering coaching, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional development. Relationships, career, emotional intelligence, transitions. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for free EQ ezine. Become a certified EQ coach. Email for info.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Elephant Rescue - Limbic Brain

From Susan Dunn's THE EQ COURSE(tm) which can help you increase your emotional intelligence. Email sdunn@susandunn.cc to find out how to sign up for this online course, self-paced, adult learning. Individual emotional intelligence coaching also available.

We share the limbic brain with all mammals. The limbic brain is what enables this sort of behavior.

This video called Elephants Have Friends Too, is about an elephant in distress and other elephants come to its aid. This is the limbic connection at work. We share the limbic brain with all mammals.

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Otello, a story of emotional intelligence gone bad

Susan Dunn the EQ Coach talks about Otello (Othello) the story of emotional intelligence gone bad

Is one of your New Year's resolutions to improve your emotional intelligence? If so, please let me help you. Email me at sdunn@susandunn.cc to learn about the numerous products, services, programs and tools I offer, along with personal coaching.

here is Niun Mi Tema, Verdi, from the opera Otello

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Emotional Intelligence, Marriage and Your health

10 Questions to Ask When You're Considering Marrying Someone from the EQ Coach, Susan Dunn

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what are we going to do about anger?

Susan Dunn, EQ Coach, talks about anger

Want to work on your anger in 2011? Email Susan at sdunn@susandunn.cc for information on courses and long-distance programs to help you improve your emotional intelligence. Take THE EQ COURSE and improve your success in the coming year.

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How Emotional Intelligence Contributes to Success

Great emotional intelligence - EQ - videos

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Notes from an interesting article on Emotional Intelligence and folks over 60 years of age. See the full article HERE.

Emotional Intelligence Peaks as We Enter our 60s Research Suggests is the name of the article.

Older people have a hard time keeping a lid on their feelings, especially when viewing heartbreaking or disgusting scenes in movies and reality shows, psychologists have found. But they're better than their younger counterparts at seeing the positive side of a stressful situation and empathizing with the less fortunate, according to research from the University of California, Berkeley.

Thus begins the article.


-- research was by UC Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson

-- changes as we age can give older people an advantage in the workplace and in personal relationships.

"Increasingly, it appears that the meaning of late life centers on social relationships and caring for and being cared for by others," Levenson said. "Evolution seems to have tuned our nervous systems in ways that are optimal for these kinds of interpersonal and compassionate activities as we age."

-- older people are better at reinterpreting negative scenes in positive ways using positive reappraisal, a coping mechanism that draws heavily on life experience and lessons learned.

-- younger participants were better at using "detached appraisal" to tune out and divert attention away from unplesant scenes

-- this approach draws heavily on the prefrontal brain's "executive function," a mechanism responsible for memory, planning and impulse control and that diminishes as we age

You can see this is a fascinating article. Check it out.

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Why We Lust and Why We Love

"I never knew until we were married."

from Susan Dunn, Dating and Relationship Coach

Probably the most important decision you will ever make in your life is the person that you marry, and from all reports, making a good choice in this area appears to be getting even more complicated. Our 50% divorce rate speaks to this. And, more dour, is the fact that this rate is raised due to the VERY high rate of failed second marriages, i.e., those who can't choose right the first time (or create a lasting relationship) fail to do so the second time.

I just finished reading a book that claims your strongest attraction (let's call it lust) is for someone who reminds you of a relationship you had with a parent. They contend this does not always make for someone you can comfortably live with.

The other choice, according to the authors, one of whom is a psychologist, is to choose someone for which the attraction is not so strong.

These are two options, yes, but I take issue with one of the premises.

If you've ever been around dog breeders, you will know the phrase, "Nature knows a good niche." This is an explanation for why some female dogs will not allow male dogs to breed with them. The gist of the saying is that the female knows that male dog isn't going to make good puppies for her.

Studies show that many of our mating patterns and courtship patterns are hard-wired. They do not relate so much to nurture (your parents, or reason, or words, as they do to hard-wired evolutionary things. I think our strongest attractions ("lust") are for those where, well, nature is knowing a good niche, i.e., perhaps this might be nature's way of telling you who you might make good kids with. Whether or not you buy that theory, the question remains -- Is this a reason to marry someone?

No, it is not.

There has to be a certain amount of physical attraction, obviously, but you have to think hard about who you can live with -- daily. And with whom you can raise those kids.

Lately in doing dating coaching, I've heard more men say that they divorced (or were divorced) "because we fought over the child-raising."

It's a good idea to check out the other person's values, and observe how they live their lives and treat other people before you take that big step. Time is one crucial ingredient, and then seeing the other person in a variety of life situations.

One male client of mine married a woman of another faith, let's call it XX. He said, "The funny thing is, I didn't even know she was XX until we had kids. Then suddenly all our friends had to be XX, everything had to be done the way XX's do things."

Can you tell this sort of thing before? Well, it helps to get some consultation. Call me for coaching - relationship, dating, emotional intelligence, transitions, decision-making.

Choosing a life partner, spouse, or mate is serious business. When you're dating and trying to choose a spouse, let me guide you. Call me at 817-734-1471 or email me at sdunn@susandunn.cc and let's start the new year off right.

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