• I was recently flying to NYC to direct a CEO round table, when on the descent to JFK airport the pilot emerged to say and I quote, “Unfortunately folks, I have some bad news: due to weather in NY, until further notice no planes are taking off or landing at this time. I will keep you updated as information becomes available.”

    Emotional Intelligence mind map, business management strategy
    It’s at these emotional moments in life that our human behavior is on display and a wide variety of actions, reactions and responses unconsciously surface. Frankly, you can learn a lot about a person when they’re introduced to a challenging event and placed under extreme stress and pressure.
    The plane cabin at this point was filled with open dialogue as if we were sitting across from each other around the dinner table. The wide range of confusion, concern and in some cases panic overcame those who were not equipped emotionally to handle this level of change and unknown.
    Emotional IntelligenceI began to think about what Daniel Goleman said in his 1996 bestseller, Emotional Intelligence. In his book, Daniel suggested that EQ: Emotional Quotient (better known as Emotional Intelligence) is actually more important than IQ, our Intelligence Quotient. Why? Because studies show that IQ, a standard measure of intelligence from standardized testing, does not encompass the full range of human intelligence. EQ is a measure of a person’s ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions in difficult times; a behavior that serves us well both personally and professionally. In fact, without getting too technical in order to be Emotionally Intelligent and thus successful in business and in life, it takes the ability to access a certain part of your brain and frankly, that takes some doing.
    Let’s go back to the plane scenario: those who were reacting were using a primitive part of their brain, the one that we access quickly without thinking. You know the part of the brain that tells us to step back onto the curb to avoid an oncoming bus; however, in many cases, this rush of adrenaline compels us to react out of ignorance. Many of my fellow passengers who began to immediately panic, think the worse and make ridiculous comments out loud without thinking were not emotionally equipped to handle the situation.
    When we exercise Emotional intelligence we take the long way around to a part of the brain that evokes thought, evaluation, and consideration. When we respond we respond intelligently. The folks who were breathing, thinking and in many cases saying little or nothing were emotionally strong and in control.

    Here is a quick easy to remember acronym to use next time you’re faced with a difficult, emotionally charged situation:

    the acronym is BRAKE.

    Breathe and be calm for a moment
    Relax and think
    Assess the situation without reacting ignorantly
    Know your choice before responding
    Elect to respond intelligently

    After all the chaos ensued for what seemed to be an hour (which was no more than 10 minutes), a calming presence appeared in the form of a flight attendant telling everyone that this was a routine occurrence heading into JFK and no one was in jeopardy of missing their connections due to the fact that their connections were grounded as well. Moments later, the pilot reemerged telling everyone that the weather had moved on and we were cleared for landing.
    brake-acronymNext time you’re in a difficult situation take a moment stay calm and think intelligently before allowing your emotions to get Hijacked.

  • I remember like it was today the day that my mother died almost 20 years ago.  The eulogy I gave at her grave site was emotional and heartfelt, however, I struggled to write it.  I share this with you today not as a melancholy reminder of the loss I encountered, but rather, to share with you a concept that I believe in and learned more about after reading the best seller by David Brooks, “The Road to Character.”

    Brooks, in his book, talks about the difference between résumé virtues and what he calls eulogy virtues.  While we spend a lifetime perfecting our résumé virtues, it’s those qualities that are discussed at our eulogy that a far more important, however not focused on, throughout our life.  Even our education system and a billion dollar self-help industry give us strategies to achieve career success, not build character.

 So, when I was asked to speak about my mom I was at a loss.  Why?  Because my mom had only an eighth grade education and had few, if any, skills that would even qualify her for employment.  She didn’t even have a driver’s license and struggled with simple math problems.  Yet, she was one of the richest, most successful people I know.  Why?  Because she possessed traits that are and should always be the measuring stick for greatness.

    CharacterIsTheRealFoundationThose traits or behaviors Brooks refers to as eulogy virtues.

 Today’s blog is simple.  I have taken the concept set out by Mr. Brooks a step further by looking at the word ‘character’ and using it as a guide or map to direct your life towards integrity and moral standards that impact your life and the lives of everyone you touch.  These are words that frankly will not show up on your résumé, however were very much a part of my mother’s eulogy.  I have often said that life is like a jigsaw puzzle; while you focus on one piece at a time, the ultimate goal is to see the big picture.

    Let’s take a look at a simple recognizable word and use it as our measuring stick for success moving forward.
    While there are many words that can be included here, starting with this list, the virtues that you would like for those awarded with the honor to present your eulogy will take you on a path that will lead to happiness and success for you and those around you.

  • One of the many great lines in the movie “Apollo 13” came from Ed Harris, playing NASA Director of Operations Gene Kranz.  The famous line was, “Gentleman, failure is not an option.”  He was referring to the three astronauts stranded in space and the importance of getting them home safely.  Motivated by a true purpose was the driving force behind their unwavering pursuit of a solution.  You see, there was something bigger at play here.  The folks at NASA had a really big ‘why’ motivating them to relentlessly figure out how to get those astronauts home.  Here is the simple principle – If you have a big enough ‘why’ in life, a purpose in life, you will always figure out the ‘how.’  A person without a purpose in life is like a boat without a rudder, drifting aimlessly without a direction going nowhere.

    the power of why


    In all walks of life when referring to someone’s success we often hear the words focus and determination.  Merriam Webster defines the word ‘purpose’ as the reason why (there‘s that word again, ‘why’) something is done, a feeling of being determined to achieve an outcome.  There are enormously talented, intelligent people in the world that are unsuccessful because they lack direction.  I read where in World War II if an unidentified soldier appeared in the dark and could not state their mission, their purpose for being there, they were shot without question.  I often wonder if our life depended on identifying our purpose, how much more focused and determined we would all be to reach our destination.  Productivity would soar.  We would take real passionate and meaningful action to reach our outcome.  Whether you’re an individual or a corporation, having a purpose allows you to initiate, evaluate, and refine your talents and abilities helping you find your path in life, ultimately achieving success.

    A friend of mine once told me that the most impactful, motivating speech he had ever heard was just three short words.  It came from his wife when she said, “Honey I’m pregnant.”  He said those few words instantly motivated him because he now had a big WHY in his life, a purpose in his life.  In fact, when your ‘why’ gets bigger you get better because you stop holding back.  You get laser focused and you go all out.  It’s why so often you hear about police officers, firefighters, performing superhuman feats when Failure is not an option!

    Few people if any succeed because they’re destined to succeed.  Most people succeed because they are determined to succeed and that determination is fueled by purpose.

    So as you read this blog ask yourself these questions:

    (1) What drives me each day?

    (2) What gets me up in the morning, and …

    (3) What do I believe so strongly in that I will do whatever is necessary to see it through? 

    You see it’s those who start with ‘why’ that have the ability to figure out how.  The result is that they not only achieve the individual success, but they inspire everyone around them.

    Remember, success doesn’t come from what you do in life; it comes from the power of why you do it.

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