“Create space for fun, creativity and pleasure”, Heather Marasse of Trilogy Effect and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Create space for fun, creativity and pleasure. There is truth to the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” A life of duty becomes dull and emotionally deadened. There is a reason for play. It releases endorphins, puts us in touch with our inner child, and expands our experience of […]

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Create space for fun, creativity and pleasure. There is truth to the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” A life of duty becomes dull and emotionally deadened. There is a reason for play. It releases endorphins, puts us in touch with our inner child, and expands our experience of beauty and pleasure. Perhaps you enjoy the arts — visit a nearby gallery, sign up for a painting class. Perhaps you enjoy nature — join a running club or a hiking group. Whatever your bliss, find it. It will enhance your experience of your life and expand your emotional landscape.

As a part of our series about “Emotional Intelligence, I had the pleasure of interviewingHeather Marasse.

For 25+ years, Heather Marasse has coached Fortune 500 leaders to develop the emotional intelligence needed to survive and thrive. As managing partner of Trilogy Effect, the leadership development experts, her client list includes Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Proctor & Gamble plus many more.

She is a sought-after executive coach, facilitator and strategic advisor. Heather is known for being grounded, practical, decisive and intuitive. The bigger the challenge, the more interested she is — she sees the inherent potential in situations and helps bring it to light.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory? What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

A Guidance Counselor at my rural Canada high school asked me what my career plans were, I replied that I wanted to be a social worker. I’d always had an instinctive awareness and appreciation for community, social structures, interdependency and communication. He looked at me in horror and exclaimed, “Oh no! Don’t do that!”

I was taken aback! I asked him, “Why not?” He replied, “Oh. Social Work is so depressing! Let’s have a look at your transcript… oh, look. You’re great at math. Why don’t you study business?”

I shrugged and said, “ok!”.

Turns out, his advice was sound. I did study business. I discovered that I loved it, and I was even pretty good at it. In addition, I was able to draw upon the instinctive strengths and the interests I had in communication, community, social structures, etc. As I now reflect on my career, my life’s work really has been social work — in business!

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, where the community was very small and tight-knit. My mother went to work as a legal secretary when I was 8 years old, which was a very unusual thing for a farm wife to do. None of my friends’ mothers worked outside of the home; being a farm wife is more than a full-time job already!

I watched my mother combine the demands of managing a law office, maintaining a household, helping my father work with crops and livestock, all the while also caring for three children.

In my teens I got a summer job in my Mom’s law office and discovered how incredibly professional she was. I learned that she was privy to highly personal information about many of our neighbours which she kept completely confidential while treating everyone in the community with grace and hospitality.

I could see that she was very good at what she did, and that she enjoyed having a career where she excelled and was contributing.

I think that shaped me in many ways. I grew up knowing that being a working mother can be exciting, despite its challenges. I learned that having work that you enjoy provides a sense of purpose and contribution.

I saw that we’re all part of a community and our lives are intertwined. It is important to respect each other, to have compassion for each other’s challenges and to be gracious. You never know when it will be your turn to need help.

And perhaps, most importantly, I discovered that it’s ok to take a different path. In fact, she encouraged me to do so.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I remember once long ago, I found myself traipsing through a hotel lobby wearing nothing but a nightgown!

It was on one of my first-ever business trips, and I was accompanying a senior manager to five cities for all-day meetings followed by long business dinners. I’d come down with bad cold but was determined not to let it get in the way. One night towards the end of the week, I was feeling dreadful with my cold at its worst. I took a dose of cold medicine and crawled into bed. I was jolted awake by the sound of my hotel room door locking behind me. I was sleepwalking and locked myself out of my room!

So, I quietly made my way down to the front desk (thankfully the lobby was empty of guests) and asked to be granted access back into my room. To my eternal gratitude, the two young clerks acted as if seeing a young woman in a skimpy nightgown at their desk was the most normal thing in the world and quickly got me back into my room. I woke up the next morning wondering if I had dreamed it?! Later the desk clerk assured me that, indeed, it had happened, and that my secret would be safe with him!

There were two lessons in this for me. Firstly, people in the hospitality service are extremely gracious and kind. And secondly, when travelling on business always pack sensible pyjamas!

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

My advice to young people who are making important decisions is to ask themselves, “Is this what life wants from me or is this what I want from life?” I think there is a way to honor both.

I learned early that, for me, work is not a chore. I actually like it; I work hard and dedicate myself to doing what I love. This became especially important when my two daughters were born only 17 months apart. With two babies, work had to be compelling if I was going to leave them every morning. It had to be worth it financially, but also emotionally and spiritually.

Sometimes that meant taking a risk and challenging the “conventional” rules of success. I’ve always found that if I’m working where I can use and develop my talents, then taking chances can lead to great things. Every time I thought I was risking my “professional standing” or doing something that could be a “career limiting move”, it has turned out to be the opposite.

Pay attention to both signals: “Are you being called to do work that you love?” along with “Are you feeling a bit terrified by this opportunity?”.

I’ve used these signals to guide me in business. My career has not been traditional, but for me, that’s been the key to success. Don’t let tradition or conventional wisdom dictate what is true for you.

Is there a particular book, film, or podcast that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

One of my favorite books is called “Falling Upwards” by Fr. Richard Rohr. While it is written by a Franciscan priest, the message goes beyond religion and is much more about the spiritual journey of our life. It is about the two halves of life, which I have found to be a profound lesson for my clients, my colleagues, my friends and for myself.

Rohr explores the phenomenon of our life as two halves: the first is spent focused on individuating, achieving, performing, accomplishing.

Then, usually in our mid 30’s to mid 40’s, something happens that shatters our carefully constructed and hard-won life. Perhaps we lose a loved one, have a serious health concern, go through a divorce or get laid off. Our ego takes a significant hit, and we “fall”.

It’s in this “second half” that we start to realize a broader context for our life and for who we are. We begin to ask ourselves: “What is this all for? What is my life about? Every “thing” I work for will eventually fall away, and what will be left?”

When we face these questions, our emotional and spiritual life expands. New wisdom becomes available. We start looking for ways to be of service. There is more grace and less striving.

In my consulting and coaching business, I often work with people at that point of demarcation. My firm’s clients are often at points in their careers where it isn’t just about achieving the next great thing, it goes beyond producing results. They want more meaning to their life.

There’s great personal fulfillment awaiting when we embrace the second half of life with curiosity, compassion and basic trust in life, and that’s what I learned from Rohr’s book.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“I listen with the same intensity that others reserve for speaking” — Lily Tomlin

I found this quote in my early 30s and was struck by it. There is much value placed on being a great speaker. In business it often looks like competitors vying to make the best points in a meeting. As a result, our world can be excessively “noisy”.

And yet, there is something magical about the power of listening. One of my favorite questions is “what if listening grants speaking?” It gives the power to the listener, not the speaker. It shifts the emphasis from “making points” and moves it towards curiosity and compassion. What if we don’t already know what someone is about to say? What if putting our own agenda and biases aside allows for something significant to be revealed? What if our own silence and receptivity diminishes struggle and promotes contribution — both from others and from ourselves?

This quote has led to a lifelong practice of what my colleagues and I refer to as “generous listening” — listening beyond our habitual internal “filters” to hear beyond words. Often it includes listening for what is not being said. It’s proven, time and again, to be extremely valuable in creating relationships, expanding possibility and fostering innovation.

It’s taught me the value of a pause, the richness in silence, and the contribution that exists in being present for oneself and for another.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

When working at the executive level there is a heightened demand for privacy — due to both legal and professional reasons. It’s a trade-off — we would love to brag about our work, but we can’t put our clients’ privacy at risk. That said, there are some themes that have emerged in 2020 that are very critical to our clients’ businesses, and they are consistent issues across multiple industries:

One issue is that people are starved for real connection. COVID-19 has caused isolation and confinement, along with an excessive workload for many. And, despite the wall to wall Zoom calls, we are missing the casual connection that we had previously taken for granted when passing each other in the halls, chatting before a meet starts, grabbing coffee or lunch together. We miss just being together in physical spaces and accommodating each others’ humanity.

A second trend is that ‘working from home’ easily becomes ‘living at work’. Despite the business impact of the global pandemic, many people are still working and have made the change to a virtual work environment. However, this has blurred the lines between work and life as people juggle their jobs with minding and tutoring their kids, caring for vulnerable elderly parents and taking on all the cooking and domestic chores that had previously been outsourced. This lack of boundaries takes an emotional, as well as mental and physical, toll.

In a related trend, we are seeing mental health issues becoming more prevalent. Using sick days as “mental health days” is something we hear more about, and it’s an important way to manage stress. Taking a day off gives them a chance to breathe, go outdoors, rest and recharge. One leadership team we work with has discovered their best way to encourage employee engagement is to “create space”. They encourage their colleagues to take a day off, have a long lunch break and to schedule in breaks for much-needed physical exercise.

Many companies are discovering that innovation is suffering. While you can keep businesses operational through working from home and virtual team meetings, innovation is harder to catalyze and sustain. There is something real, yet intangible, that happens when a team can co-create together in shared space. Many of our clients report a concern for their R&D/Innovation pipelines as COVID restrictions continue into 2021.

Lastly, our clients are learning that managing accountability is tough with a remote workforce. There is a delicate balance between holding people to account and micro-managing. Leaders are held to account for deliverables of their entire organization, often with limited sight lines into the workflow and progress of activities. This leaves them vulnerable to unwanted “surprises” or unintended results. Yet most managers don’t want to burden their teams with excessive reporting requirements. We’re supporting our clients in finding their way through this dilemma, but their stress is real and the struggle, great.

Can you briefly tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority about Emotional Intelligence?

Successful leaders are emotionally intelligent, but for most people it doesn’t come naturally. I have coached more than 500 high-level executives and business leaders, helping them to develop the empathy they need to lead their teams through good times and in navigating tough challenges.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked with leaders across a wide range of industries including consumer products, pharma, mining, government, finance, insurance, healthcare regulatory, automotive manufacturing, software development and high tech.

I have decades of professional training combined with first-hand experience as an executive coach. To remain at the forefront, each year I spend five weeks in professional training and skills development. And, because I understand that becoming a great leader remains a work in progress, I have monthly sessions with my own coach who helps me to understand and appreciate my own emotional landscape.

My career has morphed from a 14-year track record in telecommunications marketing into a 20+ year career consulting in human systems, leadership and organizational development. My clients say that because I’ve had a “real job and business career” before moving into this field, I provide a unique blend direct experience and broad industry insight.

For the benefit of our readers, can you help to define what Emotional Intelligence is?

Amazing as it sounds, most of us are not very aware of our emotions. In fact, we are trained from a young age to suppress and deny them to conform and to be accepted. In other words, we abandon our own innate intelligence for fear of being abandoned, disconnected or rejected.

Reclaiming this intelligence requires tuning into our hearts and feelings, to experience the emotions that run through us and to make connections between the inner experience and the outer environment.

When leaders develop this compassionate and sensitive connection to their feelings, they develop fine distinctions with respect to their own emotions and those of others. They start to discern what their feelings are telling them, as well as discerning the information inside of the emotional states of others.

These leaders build self-awareness and empathy. This expands a leader’s capacity to attune to the emotional states of others. It guides them in all aspects of leading, including having those crucial, and sometimes difficult, discussions required for smart decision-making.

How is Emotional Intelligence different from what we normally refer to as intelligence?

In today’s complex, volatile and uncertain world we need to draw upon all the full spectrum of our intelligence. Our body is an instrument of intelligence, but we have been conditioned to trust one type more than others.

The world of business rewards the intellect. Said another way, the intelligence of our “head center” is what gets admired; people who are knowledgeable are revered.

However, we have two other centers of intelligence that have much information to share, and it is to our benefit to pay attention.

We have access to emotional intelligence which is centered in our hearts. This sensitive instrument picks up on the emotional tone between people, beyond words and body language. There is a sensitivity to feelings and relationships, and this information can reveal much beyond the words being exchanged in a conversation.

The third center of intelligence is our gut instinct, or belly intelligence. This is that instinctive sense we have when we enter a room, and something feels amiss. It may feel dangerous, or tense, and our gut tells us what we need to do to stay safe or what’s the right way to react.

Emotional intelligence is the “bridge” between the information available via our intellect, and the information coming from our hearts and bellies. Our emotions help us process all this intelligence to glean the best insight. Staying connected with all three centers ensures we are fully present and well-grounded to perform optimally.

Anyone wanting to learn more about Emotional Intelligence can read Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book “Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ” (1995). While Goleman wasn’t the first to distinguish Emotional Intelligence, his book paved the way to acceptance of the critical role it plays in professional, social and interpersonal aspects of life.

Can you help explain a few reasons why Emotional Intelligence is such an important characteristic? Can you share a story or give some examples?

It’s possible to have a successful career in management without emotional intelligence. Management is about the stewardship of resources to ensure predictable output, process and quality. Ultimately, it requires the reducing risk and uncertainty. You can be successful at this simply by following your gut (“what needs to be done?”) and using your head (“what are the facts?”).

However, being a leader is different because it calls for creativity. It takes imagination, passion and a bit of inspiration. In short, it takes heart.

The thing is our hearts are temperamental. They thrive in safe environments only. In emotionally risky situations, the heart center of intelligence can shut down, and when it does innovation suffers. Systems start to decline. Competition catches up. The best talent leaves. When emotional intelligence suffers risk is significant and strategic.

Right now, some of our clients are struggling with this issue because of the pandemic. What worked to keep innovation in motion in the early months of the pandemic is not sustaining it. They are finding new ways to co-create and innovate when they can’t be together physically. They are working harder to create those connected, emotionally safe, co-creative situations where innovation emerges.

Years ago, I coached an R&D executive known for his brilliant intellect and sharp, incisive mind. He was in his first executive level role and was responsible for a team of engineers, product developers, designers and scientists.

Lacking in emotional intelligence, he soon ran into problems as a leader. His people felt disenfranchised at best, demeaned or even humiliated at worst. The team’s creativity plummeted, and the innovation pipeline started to dry up.

The first step in his leadership development plan was conducting a 360-degree review. It included his team, his colleagues and his line managers who were invited to provide commentary on his performance as a leader.

He was devastated by their feedback. He felt completely misunderstood and unappreciated! Yet, he accepted that people need connection, respect and appreciation and he worked to be able to show how much he cared and to be there for his team. This became a journey of vulnerability and courage for him. First, he learned about his own emotional landscape and to develop a broader emotional vocabulary. Next, he started checking in with people on a regular basis and to listen without defensiveness.

Before long, his connection with his team grew stronger and closer, and together they were innovating, creating new opportunities for growth and the company was back on a trajectory for success.

Would you feel comfortable sharing a story or anecdote about how Emotional Intelligence has helped you in your life? We would love to hear about it.

A lot of people are uncomfortable sharing their emotions, and for much of my life I was no different. But that all changed for me several years ago, when my mother and I visited family in Ireland.

The trip was a pilgrimage to visit the home my grandfather had left some 80 years before when he emigrated to Canada. We met dozens of cousins who welcomed us with open arms, happy to share stories about our family history and helping us to understand our roots.

At one poignant get-together, a cousin shared with us the story of how, several years before our visit, her 14-year-old daughter had fought and lost her battle with cancer. As my mother and I sat with our cousins, witnessing the tear-stricken grief at the sad memory, I became increasingly uncomfortable. I found myself wondering, “I’m actually in love with these people right now. I feel ok with this level of emotion. So, why do I feel on edge?”

That’s when I realized that I was feeling my mother’s discomfort. It was an “aha” moment because it struck me that I’d been influenced by my mother’s discomfort with shows of emotion for pretty much my entire life. But the truth is, I welcome my emotions. They are essential for love and connection.

It began my journey to reclaim what is true in my own heart. I’ve learned that by embracing my own emotions, I deepen my bond with the people I care about.

Can you share some specific examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help a person become more successful in the business world?

To be successful in business, and in life, you need to “get out of your own way”, and as you become more intelligent emotionally, you’ll start to do just that. You’ll start to recognize when you’re being reactive and will learn how to get back on track before things go wrong.

Our emotions are governed by the amygdala. It’s also known as the ‘lizard brain’ which gives us our fight, flight or play dead impulses. When emotions run high the amygdala can hijack our brains! We lose self-awareness and can behave rashly or selfishly.

It takes emotional intelligence to recognize your triggers and then be able to pause before reacting. It’s in this pause that you regain self-awareness and create the space you need for resolution.

Leaders take on big things, and they ask big things from the people they lead. Those who drive for change without considering the emotional impact of their words and actions are rarely successful in today’s business. Over time, the resulting low employee morale and mental health issues will have a negative impact on business performance. It causes destruction that is difficult to recover from.

When leaders are aware of people’s emotional experiences, it equips them to interact with sensitivity and effectiveness.

For example, we worked with a leader at a Fortune 100 company who was heading up a newly acquired business. He resisted comparing the employees of this scrappy, entrepreneurial team to the global talent pool he was used to, and instead spent months getting to know them.

He learned how they had taken a single product formulation to a multi-million-dollar portfolio of products and to becoming a favored consumer brand. He grew to appreciate and respect their hard work and hard-won success.

As a result, the newly acquired business realized accelerated growth; its team felt heard and appreciated. They were in no hurry to leave (which is the more typical case following an acquisition).

At the other end of the emotional intelligence spectrum is the “brilliant jerk” leader. In this example, we see the elevation of someone who is smart as a whip, quick to deliver outstanding results and is a standout among his or her peers in commanding attention.

However, behind the scenes, this type of leader is also known for the damage left in their wake. They bully people to meet their deadlines. They use politics to prioritize their projects. They are skillful at getting credit for other people’s work. They perform well “up” and “across” the organization but the people below them suffer as they are objectified in the process of getting things done.

Sadly, the bad behavior tends to be tolerated or even promoted because of the brilliant jerk’s unquestionable performance.

One of our clients had inherited an organization that had several “brilliant jerks” in the senior positions. He soon learned there was a lot needless competition among them and that employees felt suppressed. The situation resulting in a lack of focus and forward momentum for the business.

Our client made a commitment to developing this leadership team to enhance and deepen each member’s emotional intelligence. He knew that by becoming better leaders, the business would become more productive and overall team performance would improve.

Soon these ‘brilliant jerks’ learned how to get out of their own way by developing emotional intelligence. Their relationships deepened and employee engagement improved. Overall job satisfaction increased, and the employees became far more empowered and productive.

Can you share a few examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help people have better relationships?

Nobody likes conflict. By nature, we are social creatures. We want to get along with each other and to experience harmony in our lives. But conflict is inevitable in business. There will always be disagreements, hurt feelings and arguments.

Our emotional intelligence allows us to notice our feelings and to pause before reacting. We an then take the time to ask ourselves: “What am I feeling? Why? Have I felt this way before? When? Is this history relevant to today?”

Taking time to cool off and sort through emotions allows us to reset and gain a better perspective. From this more grounded place, we can plan to resolve a conflict while preserving, or even enhancing, a relationship.

Another relationship benefit relates to acceptance of human emotion. In most workplaces, there’s a narrow band of acceptable emotion. Being pleasant is expected, and anger is OK in short displays as long as there’s little clean up required. Humor and joy are tolerated as long as they don’t distract from the “real work”. Passion and enthusiasm are encouraged and rewarded, but don’t overdo it for fear of becoming too “over the top”.

What results is a superficiality to working relationships that eventually wears thin. Then when the proverbial stuff hits the fan, there is little room for expressing and communicating. People go to ground, fingers start pointing and progress stops.

Acceptance can stop this destructive cycle. When leaders are willing to accept a full spectrum of emotion and create a safe place for people to own their feelings, the energy shifts from self-protection to mutual support.

Recently, I witnessed an extraordinary moment between a client and his boss. He’s sensitive and cares deeply about his team and his organization. He also tends to be a perfectionist and can be hard on himself. The discussion’s purpose was to set his leadership development goals. The boss shared his view of my client’s strengths, and also where he’s falling short of his potential. Visibly disappointed in himself, my client tensed up.

To my surprise, his boss then said, “You know I love you, right?”. My client lightened up immediately, chuckled, and said, “I love you, too.” Then, without skipping a beat, they discussed next steps.

My client’s chance to reach his full potential grew exponentially in those few seconds. My heart was full, and I know that the other two hearts in that conversation were connected too.

Can you share a few examples of how Emotional Intelligence can help people have more optimal mental health?

Anyone who’s ever witnessed a toddler’s tantrum knows what unsuppressed emotion looks like. Yet, it’s from this early age we are conditioned to shut down, deny or invalidate our emotions. Soon tantrums are replaced with conversations, negotiation and compromise.

Emotional regulation during this early development stage leaves residual “beliefs” that some emotions are good and others, bad. We subconsciously suppress bad feelings while allowing the acceptable ones. Dulling our emotional expression means we can’t enjoy the full spectrum of our feelings, and this can impact our relationships.

Emotional intelligence helps us unlearn the habits of a lifetime. We give ourselves permission to ‘feel’ more fully which deepens our empathy, compassion and love.

The impact of ignoring the emotional demands of work on our mental health is real. Depression and anxiety are common among business leaders.

To numb our emotions, people form “addictions” and whether you’re an alcoholic or a workaholic, the consequences of addiction are inevitable — a cycle of behavior that negatively impacts our lives and relationship — all just to avoid our own feelings.

A healthy practice of traversing our inner emotional landscape allows us to experience our own humanity to its fullest. As we build this emotional capacity for ourselves and others, we become better leaders.

Can you recommend five things that anyone can do to develop a greater degree of Emotional Intelligence? Please share a story or example for each.

Practice Mindfulness. In the Buddhist tradition, there is an expression that “the root of all suffering is resisting what is”. We are attached to our memories. We idealize the way we want things to be. We worry about things that may happen, and we try to hold on to what we have. All of these habits take us away from being in the present moment, and from accepting what “is”. A daily mindfulness practice like meditation, yoga, tai chi, martial arts, meditative walking will create the necessary distance between “having your emotions” and “being your emotions”.

Create space for fun, creativity and pleasure. There is truth to the old adage, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!” A life of duty becomes dull and emotionally deadened. There is a reason for play. It releases endorphins, puts us in touch with our inner child, and expands our experience of beauty and pleasure. Perhaps you enjoy the arts — visit a nearby gallery, sign up for a painting class. Perhaps you enjoy nature — join a running club or a hiking group. Whatever your bliss, find it. It will enhance your experience of your life and expand your emotional landscape.

Invest in your ongoing development. Learn a new skill, take a personal development course. One of our clients was in a job that required regular trips to Asia. He had long hours on airplanes (pre-COVID!) and he wanted to break up the time. He decided to learn Mandarin. He combined a love of learning with opportunities to practice his new skills when he reached his Asian destinations. It made the long flights feel more like time for his own growth and development, less of a chore and his customers were pleased he made the effort.

Cultivate your spiritual growth. We are more than our bodies; we are spirits too. There is no need to “get religious” if it doesn’t appeal. What is more important is the practice of appreciation and inquiry — “What is this life about? What am I grateful for?” Find sources that inspire you, and that help guide you on your inner journey.

Build your Life Team. Life can be a wild ride, so we may as well have support along the way. Gather people in your life (i.e. mentors, coaches, physical trainers, spiritual guides, counselors/therapists and friends) who are on your team. These are trusted advisors upon whom you can lean, to whom you can open your heart, share your emotions, process your losses, etc.

Do you think our educational system can do a better job at cultivating Emotional Intelligence? What specific recommendations would you make for schools to help students cultivate Emotional Intelligence?

Definitely! I think educators have a herculean task and they are often underappreciated and lacking in support. There is no easy solution, but I would start with the following recommendations:

Provide teachers/staff with developmental resources; access to the same coaches that are available to corporate leaders, access to emotional intelligence developmental tools and frameworks, allow time in their schedule for self-development and reflection. By building their own emotional intelligence, teachers can support their students in doing the same.

Use tools like the Enneagram to help kids build self-awareness. It’s a framework of nine distinct personality types that helps you understand how you see and react to the world. It’s an easy, safe and fun way to learn about yourself and others.

Invest more in the education system. Alongside healthcare, COVID has laid bare the chronic funding shortages in education, and it has demonstrated how precious schools are for our society’s health and well-being. It’s hard to develop emotional intelligence for oneself, let alone guide the development of it in others, when we are in a chronic state of threat for our survival.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Our company tagline is “Being Human is Good for Business”, and that is the movement I want to inspire.

It certainly inspires me! The world of work can be dehumanizing and soul-sapping. The relentless push for deliverables, results, performance can be exhausting if this is the sole focus of a business. I know too many people who have burned out, retiring in bitterness and feeling like their contribution didn’t matter. It doesn’t have to be that way!

Our work is all about creating connection and remembering that every person comes to work committed to contribute and make a difference. In fact, I’ve never met one single person who came to work to screw up or sabotage the company. People want their life to matter, and if we can remember that about each other, it will sustain us through both the challenges and successes of our careers. This is the essence of emotional intelligence — staying connected to our hearts.

My movement is about being kind to one another. To reclaim our ability to listen and really see, hear and understand each other. To understand that every moment we share is precious whether we are at home or at work. Being human is good for business. It’s good for life!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to have a private lunch with American fashion icon Eileen Fisher! She’s a modern-day business leader who started with little and built a retail empire based on simplicity in style, social responsibility and compassion.

She succeeds by prioritizing humanity. She’s an excellent example an emotionally intelligent leader who innovates while caring deeply for her employees, the environment and the community.

I met her once at a conference and you can just feel her depth in the way she interacts with people. She is a visionary, and she walks her talk by using many emotional intelligence tools and techniques across her organization.

I listened to her being interviewed recently where she declared “We will come out of this pandemic, landing on our knees.” I was so moved by that statement! It felt so profound. If there is anything we can learn from this experience, it will be to remain humble. I think Eileen Fisher connects to the bigger picture for humanity and she is playing a global, strategic game in her business. I’d love to ask her about her predictions for corporate America in the post-COVID era.

How can our readers further follow your work online?


Being Human is Good For Business Podcast


Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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“Celebrate and reinforce your positive emotional connections”, Elad Katav & Helaine Fischer of Cupixel and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

by Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated
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