“Why It Is So Essential” with Harvey Deutschendorf

We normally think of intelligence as cognitive intelligence, which is measured by IQ. Our emotional intelligence is looking at how our emotions effect everything that we do and think. We feel before we think. When a message comes to us, it first reaches our amygdala or emotional brain, before it reaches our frontal neocortex, or […]

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We normally think of intelligence as cognitive intelligence, which is measured by IQ. Our emotional intelligence is looking at how our emotions effect everything that we do and think. We feel before we think. When a message comes to us, it first reaches our amygdala or emotional brain, before it reaches our frontal neocortex, or thinking brain. When it reaches our frontal neocortex, we are already biased by the our feelings about the message. That is why, as Maya Angelou and others have stated, “ People will forget what we said, but will always remember how they make us feel.” Our cognitive intelligence or IQ is largely set by the time we are in our late teens. Our emotional intelligence, however, is quite malleable and we can increase it at any point in our lives.

As a part of our series about “Emotional Intelligence, I had the pleasure of interviewing Harvey Deutschendorf.

Harvey is an emotional intelligence expert, speaker, trainer and internationally published author of THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success.

He also writes for FAST COMPANY and has monthly column with HRPROFESSIONALS MAGAZINE. Harvey is a TEDx Speaker with TEDx Beacon Street, Boston. In 2015 Harvey was recognized by TRUST ACROSS AMERICA as one of the top THOUGHT LEADERS IN TRUST.

Harvey has overcome major obstacles to get to where he is in life. His passion clearly comes across as he inspires audiences with his stories. More than just studying the topics he teaches, he has walked the talk in his own life. Harvey is a lifelong learner whose mission in life is to help as many people as possible break through their barriers and reach their full potential in life.

Harvey lives in Edmonton, Alberta CANADA with his partner in life Sandra. He enjoys hiking in nature, jazz and blues music, travel, dogs, mountains, the ocean and cheering for the Edmonton Oilers.

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?

My parents came to Canada as refugees from Europe after WW11. They had lost everything during the war and had to borrow money from their church for passage. Most of the family resettled in Europe so we also didn’t have a support network. My parents were not well educated. My father was the one who decided to come to Canada, my mother wanted to stay with family. It caused a lot of conflict and my father was quite verbally and emotionally abusive. I was always a dreamer and wanted more from life than I saw around me growing up. Fortunately I did well in school and was the first one in our family to attend university and earn a degree. I saw education as being my way out of my circumstances to a better and larger life. I was working as a professional and had moved far past what anyone in my family or the world I grew up in imagined, yet I was not happy. My career and personal life did not give me the fulfillment and satisfaction that I imagined. Even though I read a lot of self-help books, I was unable to find the answers to what was holding me back. Then I heard about a book called Emotional Intelligence, Why It Can Matter More than IQ by Daniel Goleman. I picked up a copy and after a few pages I read that intelligence can come to naught when emotions hold sway. That was my AHA MOMENT! I realized that even though I was intellectually smart, I was not smart with my emotions. I started my journey of discovery. I studied everything I could on the subject, started to do my own emotional work through The Mankind Project, an international men’s group. Seeing the need for an easy to read, accessible book that everyone could use to benefit from the powerful tools I was learning, I eventually published The Other Kind of Smart, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success. Spreading and sharing the importance of emotional intelligence became my passion and mission in life.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My mother often told me that I reminded her of her brother Eduard, who followed his passion and led a life that was different from that lived by the rest of the family. She admired his courage and ability to find his own way in life. Even though I didn’t meet Eduard until years later, when I travelled to Europe, he inspired me to also follow my own path in life. Daniel Goleman, through his seminal work on emotional intelligence inspired me to learn more about the subject and influenced my decision to pursue and dedicate the rest of my life to spreading the word.

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?

High school was a very difficult time as there was a lot of conflict at home. I saw education as my way to escape the situation that I was in, I worked at getting good grades. My principal at the time said something in front of the whole class that I will never forget. He said “Harvey, you have a good head on your shoulders, but don’t let it go to your head.” I clung to those words like a life raft. They went a long way towards believing in myself and finding the courage to pursue my goals. Years later I looked up my former principal. By this time he was elderly and I wanted to let him know how he influenced me. We were able to connect and meet for coffee. I gave him an autographed copy of my book, showed him the section in it that I mentioned what he said to me and told him how it had influenced my life. It was a very emotional moment for both of us.

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?

My office had one of those hard plastic sheets that allows office chairs with roller wheels to move freely without damaging the flooring. One day the chair had inadvertently slid back. When I attempted to sit down, I ended up on my backside on the floor. My door was open to an open work area and many of the staff witnessed the incident. As soon as they realized that I wasn’t hurt, only embarrassed, concern turned to humor. I became the brunt of teasing and ribbing. One of the staff, who was a bit of a handy man, had a wrecked vehicle at home from which he removed the seat beat. When I came to work a few days later I found a seat belt had been fastened to my chair. Everyone gathered around, taking pictures on their cell phones and laughing. I was able to take it in stride and eventually they forgot about the incident and the ribbing stopped.

The lesson I learned is that it is good to be able to laugh at yourself. There was a time in my life where I would’ve become angry and lashed out at the people who were having a laugh at what I would’ve felt was my expense. I learned it is better to have people laugh with you rather than at you.

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?

Never give up on our dreams and never let anyone talk you out of them. Realize that not everyone will support you on your chosen path and you may have to leave people behind as you grow, face and overcome new challenges. Only share your dreams, goals and ambitions with those that support you. Some people will be threatened by and envious of your success. Remember that it is about them, not you. Find allies, helpers and people who will support you and be happy for you. Do not take the easy way out by trying to fit in and doing what everyone expects you to do. You will face times of loneliness and fear. Keep going as you will ultimately find your own tribe. Finding and pursuing your passion in life is not easy, but you will be rewarded at the end of it by not having to face regrets for not having had the courage and determination to do what you really wanted to.

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?

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with Jack at his home in Santa Barbara several years ago and decided to become one of his Success Principle Trainers. His book lays out solid principles that I have used successfully in my own life. I constantly refer to the book and go back to it when I am feeling stuck and directionless. When speaking to audiences on emotional intelligence, I often use exercises that he recommends. The audience always loves them as they breaks up my talks and bring emotional intelligence to life in real time.

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

I have this on my wall in my office where I see it every day. It gives me motivation and inspiration whenever I feel fear and am tempted to give up.

The Challenge

Let others lead small lives,

but not you.

Let others argue over small things,

but not you.

Let others cry over small hurts,

but not you.

Let others leave their future in

someone else’s hands,

but not you.

Jim Rohn

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

I am on the advisory committee of an organization called EQ4Peace. They are a global organization whose ultimate goal is to help create peace by having people practicing emotional intelligence. Another goal is to bring Social Emotional Learning to schools around the globe. Ideally emotional intelligence learning is most effective when taught in schools at the earliest age possible. The more children we can reach, the more emotionally intelligent adults we will have, resulting in a more harmonious, peaceful and caring world.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. Can you briefly tell our readers a bit about why you are an authority about Emotional Intelligence?

I have studied the topic extensively for 20 plus years and am certified to administer the EQi2.0 and 360 assessment tools. My book, The Other Kind of Smart, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success, has been published internationally. In 2015 I was recognized as one of the top thought leaders in Trust by Trust Across America. The most important reason is that I have done extensive work on my own emotional intelligence and have seen the results in my own life. I not only talk the talk, I walk the walk.

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

Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, differentiate and manage our own emotions and those of others in our environment. It is how we show up, to ourselves and to others. The degree with which we use our emotions in harmony with our intellect to lead successful, fulfilling, satisfying lives.

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

We normally think of intelligence as cognitive intelligence, which is measured by IQ. Our emotional intelligence is looking at how our emotions effect everything that we do and think. We feel before we think. When a message comes to us, it first reaches our amygdala or emotional brain, before it reaches our frontal neocortex, or thinking brain. When it reaches our frontal neocortex, we are already biased by the our feelings about the message. That is why, as Maya Angelou and others have stated, “ People will forget what we said, but will always remember how they make us feel.” Our cognitive intelligence or IQ is largely set by the time we are in our late teens. Our emotional intelligence, however, is quite malleable and we can increase it at any point in our lives.

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

How Shaun used emotional intelligence to save his career

When it came to his career, Shaun was his own worst enemy. He managed to sabotage himself at every turn. It wasn’t that he wasn’t talented or had ability. With a university degree and considered bright and talented by those who knew him, Shaun should have had no difficulty in moving ahead in his career. While he had a lot of talent and was ambitious, Shaun lacked emotional smarts and had a habit of saying things in the spur of the moment that would come back to haunt him and derail his career.

After years of frustration, Shaun signed up for an emotional intelligence course. He learned that his emotional outbursts could be managed by practicing a few simple techniques when he felt his emotions slipping away. He practiced these techniques in situations where there was nothing at stake. Unemployed for nearly a year, he finally received a job offer from a large organization in one of their small satellite offices in a town outside of the city he lived in. After a few months on the job he found out that he would be doing some work that the company had not mentioned in the job offer. The work was something he considered to be administrative, beneath him and not something using his skill set. Feeling himself becoming angry at being misrepresented by the organization, the old Shaun would have had an angry emotional outburst. Instead he immediately went into the technique he had practiced. Instead of an angry outburst he heard himself telling his supervisor that he recognized it was work that needed to be done. It was a small office and staff had to pull together and do various tasks they did not have to do in the large centers. Shaun’s goal was to get a transfer back to a larger office in the city that he lived in. To do this he realized he needed a positive reference from his supervisor. Whenever Shawn found something not to his liking, he automatically went into his emotional control mode and never let anyone know he was angry or upset. Just as his year was coming to an end he applied for a job at the office in his city. The job he applied for was also a promotion. As he was going to his supervisor’s office to ask her a question he could hear her on the phone talking to someone about being a good team player. Seeing him approach her open door, the supervisor looked embarrassed and closed the door. After a few seconds it dawned on him that she was talking to someone in the large city office about him. Sure enough, in a few days he got a call from the human resources department in his city offering him the job. He was ecstatic. However, Instead of shouting out in joy, he was aware that his colleagues in the regional office might misinterpret his excitement as being happy to get away from them. As a result of increasing his emotional intelligence he became more aware of and sensitive to the feelings of others around him. Despite him not wanting to work there, his coworkers had treated him well and he had to be gracious and thoughtful on how he brought up his transfer and promotion. Inside however he felt the joy, excitement of knowing that the demons that had held him back for so long were now under his control, and he held the key. When he left, the office threw him a heartfelt going away party and he graciously thanked them for all the help they had given him to allow him to move up in the organization. Shaun was on his way and never looked back.

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.

In my life I have experienced family and others I was once close to being jealous, resentful and unsupportive of my efforts to pursue my dreams and better myself. I have had to disassociate with these people and because of these experiences in my past and would become triggered whenever I sensed that someone was trying to diminish my achievements. Because of my work on my own emotions, I became very aware of that trigger and learned to question its’ validity. Just because I felt criticized, judged or questioned, did not necessary mean that is what the other person intended. It could be a misinterpretation or overreaction on my part. At my last high school reunion I sat at a table with a former classmate that I had not seen since we graduated from high school 40 years earlier. To start the conversation, I asked him what he had been doing with his life. He said that he wasn’t travelling all around the world speaking. Apparently the word had spread that it was what I was doing. I immediately felt an emotional reaction, wondering if he was taking a shot at me. I didn’t react and carried our conversation as I wanted to find out more about him. What I discovered was that he didn’t mean it as a dig, that he really admired what I was doing and felt that he wished he had the courage to do more things than he had in his life.

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

Richard Branson is well known for his struggles with Dyslexia and how he used it to motivate himself. His self-awareness, empathy and openness have enabled him to reach out to others with dyslexia and support Made By Dyslexia a charity to support those who struggle with it. He recently wrote a blog to his younger self which provide insight into why he is so successful.

Dear Ricky, I know you’re struggling at school and I wanted to give you some advice on how to become the best you can be, even when it’s difficult and you feel like the world is against you… I know you have problems with reading, writing, and spelling and sometimes find it tricky to keep up in class. This does not mean you are lazy or dumb. You just think in a more creative way and struggle to find the relevance in school. Just make sure you turn your frustration with education into something positive. Find things that interest you and pursue them doggedly. This passion is what will keep you going when things get tough — and life is always full of challenges. Your alternative ways of thinking will help you see these challenges as opportunities…

Elon Musk, after a rash of accidents at Tesla, sent out an email stating that he wanted to meet every employee after they were injured to find out how the injury happened and would work on the task they were injured on in order to figure out how to make it safer. He asked to be notified directly after every injury. Musk uses strong emotional language in his emails such as “how much I care” and “it breaks my heart.”

Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi went home to visit her mother and found a stream of people coming over to thank her mother for raising such a wonderful, successful daughter. She became aware of not having thanked the parents of her executive team for raising such wonderful adults. When she got back home, she used this self-awareness and empathy to write letters to the parents of her executive team, thanking them for raising such successful adults.

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

Jack and Linda set aside time every week to ask each other the question. “How full is your love bucket?” If it is not 100% full the next question is, “What will it take to bring it up to 100%?” This weekly ritual lets them increase their self-awareness of one another, increase their empathy for each other and allows them to recalibrate their relationship to keep it healthy and vibrant. Their relationship has stayed strong, loving and resilient through difficult times for 40 years.

Jeremy and Alisha spend time every week increasing their listening skills. One of them would speak about something that has been bothering them for 3 minutes. The other will actively listen and at the end of the 3 minutes will repeat back what they heard the other say. This practice has made them better listeners not only with each other, but with their children, their employers, friends and everyone they interact with. They credit this with keeping their marriage strong, while many of their friends have divorced.

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

Emotional intelligence people focus on the positive and are more optimistic. This allows them to become more resilient and stay mentally healthy during difficult times, as we are experiencing during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Their ability to form and maintain strong, healthy relationships provides them with sources of emotional support, allowing them to cope with stress. In times of high stress, such as during the pandemic, they will reach out to family and friends to provide and receive emotional support.

Ok. Wonderful. Here is the main question of our interview. 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.

To increase empathy we can watch a movie with family or friends and after discuss how the characters in the movie felt and why. Barrie and Katherine do this all the time with their children Kristen and Connor. They find that it is a fun exercise that brings them closer together and adds enjoyment to their movies.

To develop self-awareness Kari spends 10 minutes each day sitting still and getting in touch with her feelings. She goes through the day and recounts events that happened and remembers her feelings about each event. She considers what she feels went well and what she could have done better, especially when it comes to how she responded, or failed to react emotionally. She feels this continual improvement process makes her happier, less stressed and increases her coping ability.

Robert is a very successful salesman who has developed a habit that allows him to develop strong connections with most people. When speaking to someone he remembers things about them that he knows are important to them. Since he can’t remember everything he makes a few notes in his cell phone right after talking to the person. These include things such as family events, illnesses, celebrations, and news that the other person is very happy and excited about. When he is about to meet the person again, he quickly brings up the notes and mentions something that he remembers about the person. This simple act makes a difference for people and in turn, feel closer and connected to him.

Melanie was finding that she was becoming stressed by the demands of her job. To cope she found herself eating and drinking more. After talking to a counselor she decided to go for long walks every evening in the nature trails close to her home. She signed up for an aerobics class several nights per week and started opening up to her friends. One of them she found was going to a support group and asked Melanie to join. She used all of these activities and supports to physically and mentally release stress, allowing her to have better sleeps and feel more rejuvenated at the beginning of each day.

Anna struggled with her assertiveness for most of her life, being afraid to ask for what she wanted and saying no. When eating out at a restaurant she would not want to be a bother and complain about food that there was something wrong with, or even the wrong food. With the support of a close friend she began to mention to the serving person that something was wrong with her food. Instead of prefacing it with, I’m sorry to bother you, or I hate to complain, she just politely stated what was wrong. It was difficult at first and she felt very uncomfortable. Her friend, who did not lack in the assertiveness department, was a great support and Anna soon began to say no to work that others would try to pawn off on her. Realizing that it was not as difficult as the stories she was telling herself made it out to be, she soon realized that she was feeling more comfortable with becoming the person who she always wanted to be.

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?

Yes, our educational systems can do a better job of cultivating Emotional Intelligence. There are some school districts that are already incorporating social emotional learning. One of the largest organizations that support this learning in schools is the RULER Program established by the Centre for Emotional Intelligence at Yale Even if schools do not have the time, finances or ability to incorporate programs into their schools, teachers can do a few simple activities daily to help their students cultivate emotional intelligence. One such program I have witnessed used is called Fill Your Bucket. At the beginning of the school day students are asked what they did to fill someone’s bucket. They could only fill the bucket, not take something out. To fill their bucket they would share what they did for classmates, teachers, parents, bus drivers or anyone that would be helpful, considerate and kind. This made the students more aware of the effect that their actions and words had on others.

Ok, we are nearly done. 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.

I am involved in a movement called EQ4Peace whose mission is to create a more peaceful world through people practicing emotional intelligence. The movement is also promoting Social and Emotional Learning through school systems around the globe.

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 🙂

Arianna Huffington She is leading a revolution to redefine success and bring meaning, fulfillment, purpose and joy back into our lives. It is very crucial work at a time that we desperately need healing and a change of direction from the strife and division that threatens to engulf us.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can follow my Fast Company articles by going to my website scrolling down to HarveyonFastCompany and clicking on it.

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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