Integrating Emotional Intelligence & Stoicism for Professional Growth [Video]

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How does the misunderstood philosophy of Stoicism integrate so well to EQ development?

Editor’s note: This is part three of a six part Emotional Intelligence Series. Please find Part 1: It’s Never too Late to Create a Bold Self-help Plan & Execute It  and Part 2: Addressing Emotional Career Challenges When So Much Is at Stake

“CEO’s are hired for their intellect and business expertise and fired for their lack of emotional intelligence.”

This quotation is a powerful theme taken from Daniel Goleman’s groundbreaking book called Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ. Alas, for all the tools businesspeople rely on to climb the corporate ladder, what happens when technical competence is overshadowed by bad conduct? Consider the consequences when your colleagues, direct reports, and boss have had enough of your questionable behavior. Since its publication in 1995, Goleman’s book prompted an abundance of work on this newly introduced social science. Since then, hundreds of books and thousands of publications have followed.

Driven by an embarrassing moment in my career, I committed then and there to learn how to regulate my behavior when trapped under the weight of enormous pressure. Hereafter, the subject of Emotional Intelligence had an enormous impact on me. Although I was clueless when I stumbled on the concept while climbing the corporate ladder, I was dumbfounded how long it took to discover its importance.

Through the years I became a lifelong student of EQ and teach it at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Engineering It is the perfect companion to my communication class and a critical part of our Professional Development and Leadership program. After each class, many students ask, “Why did I not learn this subject in college? It would have helped me to stay calm under the weight of parental, employer, and societal expectations.”

When I reflect on my college years, the lack of EQ in my curriculum was undoubtably the biggest gap in my formal education. Learning finance was straightforward. Dealing with people was not. I had neither roadmap nor a set of guiding principles to deal with angry, frustrated, and/or out of control people.  If only I could dial the clock back given what I know now about managing my temperament, I could have some myself further humiliation.

Consequently, I’ve dedicated my second career to coach executives and teach college students the importance of Emotional Intelligence; for home and work life. As I refined my teaching methods and kept studying everything EQ related, I still felt something was missing. While I learned to measure the four domains of EQ: self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management, it felt incomplete. I was behaving better under the weight of pressure but felt I could do better.

Through a series of interactions with colleagues and students, I was inspired to read a book called MEDITATIONS, written by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. As it described a philosophy called STOICISM, I was dumbstruck. The integration of a Stoics’ guiding principles was the perfect juxtaposition to Emotional Intelligence. While I never studied philosophy in college and ignorantly wrote it off as useless, who knew? What I discovered is that philosophy helps us meet life’s daily challenges as we learn to deal with disappointment, loss, and grief.

How does the misunderstood philosophy of Stoicism integrate so well to EQ development?

Here are three insights to helps us consider that in every circumstance:

  1. It is not events that disturb you, but how you choose to interpret those circumstances that matter.
  2. There is only one thing on this earth you can control…yourself.
  3. How you choose to react in those situations can be conscious and intentional Rather than responding from impulse, Stoicism teaches you to react thoughtfully using a guiding set of principles.

As you think before you speak, consider the power of your mind to act and react in a way that is calm, cool, and collected. Emotions are never something to eliminate. However, as with any subject matter, you can learn to deploy EQ tools to ensure your behavior comes from a place of empathy and understanding, not impulse or irrationality. How to act and react are subsequently determined by these thoughts and beliefs.

Watch the video

 

The MOMENT THAT DEFINES YOUR LIFEWhere do those attitudes derive? From the philosophy of Stoicism. If you are curious and would like to learn more, my recently published book The MOMENT THAT DEFINES YOUR LIFE was written to bring the integration of EQ and Stoicism to light and provide a practical tool kit for behavioral development. The best part: The lessons offered will continually help you prepare for life’s occurrences next time something unexpected and potentially frightening happens to you.

Chuck Garcia is the founder of Climb Leadership International and coaches executives worldwide on public speaking and emotional intelligence. He is a motivational speaker, author of A Climb to the Top, and The MOMENT THAT DEFINES YOUR LIFE, and teaches at Columbia University Graduate School of Engineering. He is also a passionate and accomplished mountaineer who has scaled peaks all over the world. He formerly spent twenty-five years in leadership positions at Bloomberg, BlackRock, and Citadel Investment Management.

Related content:

Part 1: It’s Never too Late to Create a Bold Self-help Plan & Execute It

Part 2: Addressing Emotional Career Challenges When So Much Is at Stake

Execution Quotient (XQ): Your Most Valued Career Currency [Video]

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