Obstacles Schmobastcles

Mike Malyk, has lost over 100 lbs and just finished his first Boston Marathon. Tracy Garbutt is blind but didn’t let that obstacle come in between him and his life-long dream. Joe Tasse has had 2 hip replacements – just a minor obstacle to completing the Triple By-Pass Road Race through The Rockies.

If you think you have a barrier to what you want to accomplish, take some inspiration from this guys, listen in to this week’s Your Life, Unlimited radio show and enjoy Joe’s guest blog post on how you can use Emotional Intelligence to amplify your already great life!

You can listen to the entire Your Life, Unlimited radio show here and enjoy Joe’s guest blog post on Emotional Intelligence below…



What is EI?  A quick overview and why it’s important to everyday life.

EI – ability to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathically; to be able to understand, interpret and respond to the emotions of others

1990 Peter Salovey (psychologist & president of Yale Univ.) and John Mayer (psychologist, Univ. of NH) defined EI as:

The subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s own thinking and actions


Self-Awareness Social Awareness

•Emotional self-awareness ^ Capacity to understand feelings/

•Accurate self-assessment   emotions of others

•Self-confidence ^ Empathy

•Self regard ^ Organizational Awareness

•Self care ^ Social responsibility

•Do we really know who we are?

Socrates (470 – 399 BC) – “We must ‘Know thyself” to be wise”

Self-Management Relationship Management

•Self regulation ^ Developing Others

•Managing impulsive feelings & motives ^ Motivation / Inspiration

•Impulse control ^ Change catalyst

•Thinking clearly and remaining focused ^ Influence

under pressure ^ Conflict management

•Initiative ^ Teamwork / Collaboration


How do our brains get in the way of EI?  I thought our brains were supposed to help us?

  • Average adult has 100 billion brain cells
  • Humans have 23 chromosone pairs and 20,000 – 25,000 genes

Limbic System (Latin limbus — border or edge) – believed to be older than other parts of the forebrain and developed to manage the “fight or flight circuitry” necessary for survival of reptiles and mammals, (ever had a rode rage experience?)

Amygdala (Latin amygdale — almond, tonsil) – two almond-shaped groups of nuclei, located deep and medially within the temporal lobes of the brain in complex vertebrates, including humans; performs a primary role in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions; encodes, stores and retrieves episodic, autobiographical memory (EAM)

How can we improve our EI?

Self-Awareness: Social Awareness:

1.Quit treating your feelings as good or bad. ^ Be aware of body language

2.Seek to understand who or what pushes your buttons. ^ Live in the moment

3.Explore why you do the things you do. ^ Practice listening

4.Seek feedback from others. ^ Practicing sensing the    mood in the room

Self-Management: Relationship Management

1.Take a deep breath.

2.Sleep on it.

3.Challenge your self-talk – our thinking drives our behavior.

4. Just know that more change is coming

5.Work on building trust

6. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings

7. Explain your decisions; don’t just announce them

How Can We Maintain Resonance in Our Leadership, In Our Lives?

Resonance: (from Latin resonantia ‘echo,’ from resonare ‘resound’)

  • In physics, resonance is a phenomenon that consists of a given system being driven by another vibrating system or by external forces to oscillate with greater amplitude at some preferential frequencies.
  • One familiar example is a playground swing, which acts as a pendulum. Pushing a person in a swing in time with the natural interval of the swing (its resonant frequency) will make the swing go higher and higher (maximum amplitude), while attempts to push the swing at a faster or slower tempo will result in smaller arcs.  This is because the energy the swing absorbs is maximized when the pushes are “in phase” with the swing’s natural oscillations, . . .
  • Acoustic resonances of musical instruments and the human vocal tract
  • The cadence of runners has been hypothesized to be energetically favorable due to resonance between the elastic energy stored in the lower limb and the mass of the runner
  • Electrical resonance occurs in an electric circuit at a particular resonant frequency when the impedance of the circuit is at a minimum in a series circuit or at maximum in a parallel circuit (or when the transfer function is at a maximum).
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is the name given to a physical resonance phenomenon involving the observation of specific quantum mechanical magnetic properties of an atomic nucleus in the presence of an applied, external magnetic field. Many scientific techniques exploit NMR phenomena to study molecular physics, crystals, and non-crystalline materials through NMR spectroscopy. NMR is also routinely used in advanced medical imaging techniques, such as in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Dissonance has several meanings, all related to conflict or incongruity

  • Consonance and dissonance in music are properties of an interval or chord (the quality of a discord)
  • Cognitive dissonance is a state of mental conflict
  • Dissonance in poetry is the deliberate avoidance of assonance, i.e. patterns of repeated vowel sounds. Dissonance in poetry is similar to cacophony and the opposite of euphony.
  • Cultural dissonance is an uncomfortable sense experienced by people in the midst of change in their cultural environment.

Personal Renewal to Avoid Dissonance

As leaders or just as individuals, what are some essential components of personal renewal in our lives?  How do mindfulness, compassion and hope allow us to pursue personal renewal?  We are all leaders in some way.

How are they important to combating stress that is cumulative in our lives?


From:  Resonant Leadership, Renewing Yourself and Connecting With Others Through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 2005

The Sacrifice Syndrome:  The Neuropsychology of Power Stress and Renewal

  • cumulative stress of crisis and threats overtake us and affect how we influence others

(from Boyatzis and McKee)

Leadership requires the exercise of influence or power – having an impact on others, making things happen and taking responsibility for the organization.

  • Charting new paths
  • Inspiring people with clarity of vision and optimism
  • Exercising constant self-control
  • Experiencing daily crises

Leaders experience power stress.

Emotions are contagious . . . and can lead to organizational dissonance

Leadership effectiveness requires the regular exercise of self-control, placing the good of the organization above personnel impulses and needs, which is stressful.

Neurology of Power Stress

  • Brain focuses on the neural circuits necessary for survival
  • Right prefrontal cortex (RPFC) is activated more so than the Left prefrontal cortex (LPFC)

^ Other RPFC exciters:  fear, disgust, depression, unpleasant engagement    with the environment, adrenalin always pumping, always in a       physiological state of high alert, action-oriented all the time

^ Stress = overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS),       allowing us to act quickly in the short run, fight or flight . . . but the parasympathetic        nervous system (PSNS) is suppressed, responsible for recovery and keeping us at basal    levels at rest, i.e., releasing hormones that lower blood pressure and strengthen the     immune system, slows breathing, induces calm

^ Common diseases are believed in part attributed to overactivation of the sympathetic      nervous system (SNS), e.g., hypertension, MI, chronic infections, peptic ulcer disease,     autoimmune disorders, obesity, cardiac arrhythmias, heart failure, diabetes,       susceptibility to cancer

^ Our bodies suffer from fatigue, illness or neglect, judgment becomes impaired

  • Cortisol is secreted from the adrenal gland, causing dysregulation of inflammation in part by decreasing the body’s ability to fight infection by suppressing cell-mediated immunity; excites neurons and inhibits potential growth of neural tissue through normal neurogenesis

Cycle of Renewal:  Hope, Mindfulness, Compassion (three keys to renewal)

  • During the experience of hope, mindfulness and compassion, it is believed that a person will have more neural activity through the LPFC than the RPFC, exciting neural circuits relating to happiness and amusement and experiencing neural activity similar to feeling excited, enthusiastic and interested.
  • Hope

^  Enables us to believe that our vision of the future is attainable, and to move           toward our goals while inspiring others to reach their dreams as well

^  We need to have dreams and aspirations, be optimistic, and see the desired          future as attainable

  • Mindfulness

^ Starts with self-awareness; trying to see yourself as others see you

^ Listening to that quiet voice inside and the subtle clues from others and the         environment

^ Living in the state of full, conscious awareness of one’s whole self, other people       and the context in which we live and work

  • Compassion

^ Understanding people’s wants and needs and feel motivate to act on our concern       — empathy

^ Caring relationships = associated with lower blood pressure, enhanced         immunity, overall better health

^  Developing trust

^  Social networks = decrease mortality rates in humans; in primates, nurturing          bonds between parents and offspring increases the length of survival of the parent for      both males and females; cardiac patients with pets to care for live longer, due to      decreased activation of the SNS.

You may be in the zone of the “sacrifice syndrome” if you feel:

  • Working harder with less result.  Getting home later or leaving earlier for work earlier each day.
  • Feeling tired, even after sleeping.  Having trouble sleeping.
  • Finding less time to do enjoyable things.
  • Not caring what you eat or whether you eat too much or too little.
  • Not exercising as much as you used to.
  • Frequently thinking about how you can “escape” your present situation.

Or if you:

  • Have frequent headaches
  • Routinely take over-the-counter antacids or painkillers
  • Feel as if no one understands how much you work or the load on your shoulders
  • Sometimes feel numb or react to situations with inappropriate strong emotions

Or if you’ve noticed changes in yourself or your relationships such as:

  • No longer confiding in your spouse or good friend
  • Your children have stopped asking you to talk or attend games or functions
  • Not smiling or laughing with people as you used to
  • No longer attending your place of worship or finding time for quiet contemplation

Joseph M. Tasse, FACHE (Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives) can be contacted at 586-255-1070.



Stephanie Staples, CSP* is the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, and the recipient of the 2014 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur Award for Contributions to Community. Stephanie empowers audiences & clients across North America to bring their ‘A’ game to work and to life. Stephanie has a special interest in working with and empowering nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home. You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management and happiness in general, as well as find out more information about her coaching and speaking services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca.

* Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), conferred by the National Speakers Association is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform proficiency. Less than 10 percent of speakers have earned this credential and are recognized as some of the best in their fields. Stephanie was one of only five professional speakers in Canada (and the only woman) to attain this designation in 2013.


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