Maria Connolly, LPC

Tag: business excellence

When you unlock your potential for precise, non-verbal communication, flexibility and overall performance, you can create a more elegant and powerful appearance as you confidently and easily communicate and build rapport with colleagues clients, friends and family.

Which of These 25 Emotional Intelligence Competencies Will You Master Next?

If you feel lost, unfulfilled and wanting to “find my true self”, it’s vital to mindfully define, in great detail, your emotional intelligence competencies.“What is it you’re really good at doing? What makes you unique?”

Do these questions make you squirm and think, “I don’t know…I’m just me?” Surprisingly, most people struggle with this. They do what they do without much thought. Of course you’re aware of your technical skills, people skills and personal work ethic. Yet, this barely scratches the surface of who you are.

With so many people feeling lost, unfulfilled and wanting to “find my true self”, it’s important to take time to mindfully define in great detail your core values, strengths, and emotional intelligence competencies.

When you do, a magical thing happens. You become empowered to break out of your comfort zone and excel beyond what you ever imagined possible. Like all top performers, you’ll finally know exactly what you’re capable of doing. You’ll know what to improve to achieve excellence. And while no one can master all 25 emotional intelligence competencies, you can significantly improve on some of them.

Daniel Goleman writes about the 25 emotional competencies in his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence. (I really enjoyed this book. You should check it out!) They fall into five categories, under two main headings – Personal and Social – as the following outline shows.

1. Personal Competence – how you manage yourself.

  • Self-Awareness: Know your internal states, preferences, and resources.
    • Emotional awareness – recognize how emotions affect your life.
    • Accurate self-assessment – know your strengths and limitations.
    • Self-confidence – embrace your self-worth and capabilities.
  • Self-Regulation: Manage your internal states, impulses and resources.
    • Self-control – keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check.
    • Trustworthiness – maintain standards of integrity and honesty.
    • Conscientiousness – take responsibility for your personal performance.
    • Adaptability – be able to handle change, flexibility.
    • Innovation – be comfortable with new ideas and ways of doing things.
  • Motivation: Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals.
    • Achievement drive – strive for excellence.
    • Commitment – wholeheartedly support group or organizational goals.
    • Initiative – be ready to act on opportunities.
    • Optimism – remain positive despite obstacles and setbacks.

2. Social Competence – how you handle relationships.

  • Empathy: Have an awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns.
    • Understanding others – sense others’ perspectives.
    • Developing others – actively bolster their abilities.
    • Service orientation – anticipate, recognize, and meet others’ needs.
    • Leveraging diversity – Cultivate opportunities through diverse people.
    • Political awareness – reading power relationships and undercurrents.
  • Social skills: Proficiency at stirring up desirable responses in others.
    • Influence – effectively persuade others.
    • Communication – listen openly and sending compelling messages.
    • Conflict management – negotiate and resolve disagreements.
    • Leadership – inspire and guide individuals and groups.
    • Change catalyst – initiate or manage change.
    • Building bonds – nurture instrumental relationships.
    • Collaboration and cooperation – work toward shared goals.
    • Team capabilities – create group synergy, bring out their best.

Why not copy and paste this list into a Word document and print it out. Then score yourself from 1 (very limited) to 10 (excellent) on each one. But don’t stop there. Ask someone who knows you well to review it and get their viewpoint. It will be an eye-opening exercise for you and give you a basis for where you want to start improving.

And if you want to open your own private practice this exercise will keep you from floundering, because it helps you identify your unique selling proposition (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP) – the things that make you and your services unique. And when you identify that factor, your business will excel.

Would you like me to help you assess your emotional intelligence competencies and give you proven ways of getting out of your own way so you can excel? Then contact me and we can set up an in-person session or one via Skype.

What is Emotional Intelligence and Why Do You Need It to Succeed?

What is emotional intelligence and why do you need it – answer this question and you can hone your EQ skills and become a leader who excels in any field.One of the things I love about my community of women leaders is their passion for finding (and sharing) new resources that help them pursue personal excellence. One of the most important resources you’ll ever find is defining and improving your emotional intelligence quotient. What is that?

Firstly, let me ask you…if you had to pick one over the other, which do you think are the more important skills you can have – learning the “how to” technical skills or the “why do they do that” emotional skills?

While, many people think that having a high IQ (intellectual smarts) is the most essential skill set for excelling in business and life, successful business leaders are proving to be those who nurture their EQ – Emotional Quotient or Emotional Intelligence. This applies to the solo entrepreneur and the leaders of huge corporations – emotional competence is twice as important as purely cognitive abilities.

Why is emotional intelligence so important? Being in business means you’re dealing with thinking, feeling people not inanimate objects. And if you want to motivate a person to do something, you need to make an emotional connection, not necessarily an intellectual connection.

What we’re taught in school about business and leadership is incomplete. They left out the more important skills, which are often termed people skills, soft skills, character building, or personality development. In today’s business world, these skills are now considered the new measuring rod for success. The higher a person’s position is and the more responsibility he or she has, the more emotional intelligence becomes crucial.

But what is emotional intelligence exactly? Happily, it’s a set of skills that anyone can acquire. It’s an essential ingredient for reaching and staying at the top in any field.

“Emotional Intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”

This quote is how Daniel Goleman, who coined the term emotional intelligence, defines it. I’ve just finished reading his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence. I highly recommend it to you. He uses real life case studies of star performers to compare the importance of emotional intelligence with intellectual, technical competency. Here are some major takeaways from this book that you can apply immediately to your own life…

Understand how the brain works. Daniel Goleman explains that intellectual intelligence is based on the neocortex, the most recently evolved parts of the brain. This prefrontal area gives you the ability to pay attention to, remember and apply vital information when making good decisions.

Emotional intelligence occurs in the lower or inner brain, the more primitive sub-cortex, specifically the amygdala. Here is where our emotional, preprogrammed “primitive” impulses, “gut feelings” reside. It also stores our accumulated life experiences.

What this means for you: When the mind is calm everything works normally. Your prefrontal lobes introduce your power of reason, judgment and appropriate social behavior and, at the same time, control your emotional impulses. However, when a perceived threat arises, the central, more emotional part of the brain takes over. Worry, panic, frustration, anger, or irritation can kick in.

If you don’t have a high level of self-awareness, these powerful emotions can hijack your rational mind and cause you to explode in ways that you typically wouldn’t. Like when you lose it and yell at your spouse or children. Or you get stage fright so badly you can’t give your presentation. Out-of-control emotions can make the smartest people act crazily.

But the good news is, when you understand how the brain works, you can learn to control your emotions. How?

Researchers are discovering that people who are excelling in leadership roles today have a high level of non-judgmental self-awareness, which leads to controlling their emotions. This is such an important topic I’m starting a series on how to deepen your emotional intelligence. Be sure to visit my website each week so you don’t miss out on any of the articles.

Would you like a head start to honing your EQ skills? I’d love to give you one-on-one support as you fully discover your personal emotional intelligence. Please contact me and we can set up a convenient time for both of us to start working together.

Read related information on Emotional Intelligence:

Women in Leadership Who Excel Have High Emotional Intelligence

Which of These 25 Emotional Intelligence Competencies Will You Master Next?

How to Use Emotional Intelligence Training to Be an Influential Leader

How to Succeed at Anything – Master the Five Stages of Your Inner Game

How to succeed at anything – if you desire, you can succeed at anything when you master the five stages of your inner game, aligning your body, mind and spirit.Would you like to succeed at anything? Often we look to experts to guide us and help us master a new goal. But the truth is finding an expert doesn’t always work. Being told by someone what we should do doesn’t necessarily help because it’s too easy to forget the advice and revert back to old habits.

In order to reach your goal what you need, beyond expert advice, is to master your own inner game. As a life coach I’ve discovered that my clients already know how to succeed at anything, they just need the right kind of support.

To illustrate this point: Tim Gallwey, a tennis coach, discovered a novel approach to helping his struggling students. Instead of telling his students to “keep their eyes on the ball”, he would ask the player to say “bounce” out loud when the ball bounced and “hit” out loud when they hit it. And it had amazing results. The players improved without a lot of effort because they were naturally keeping their eye on the ball without consciously trying to do so. The inner game of ‘bounce’ and ‘hit’ made their outer tennis game so much better.

This experience led Gallwey to a groundbreaking formula. He distilled his wisdom into a book, The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance. I highly recommend you read it. It’s found its way into the hands of NFL players, politicians and even world strategists. And the impact has been remarkable! (Click here to see how NFL Coach Pete Carroll used it to help struggling football players.) Anyone who wants to excel at something can use his formula and get great results!

It’s made up of two simple steps…

  1. Stop giving instructions.
  2. Start asking awareness-raising questions to discover for yourself what works and what needs to change.

For example: The first stage in this process is to set a goal you want to achieve. Maybe you want to cut sugar out of your diet. So, you keep a food diary to see what you’re eating. Then you ask awareness-raising questions such as: “What am I doing when I stay away from sugar? What makes me crave sugar?” This enables you to discover for yourself what’s changing in your mind and body. Perhaps you see that going for a walk every day keeps you motivated to eat more healthily. Or you see that a stress-filled relationship causes you to binge on ice cream. Once you see the cause and effect you can make the change to achieve your goal. In this example, you could learn new stress relieving techniques that don’t involve sugar.

There are five stages to make the Inner Game Principles work for you…

  • Increase awareness of what actually is. Really see and feel what you’re doing.
  • Learn naturally with imagery. Visualize what you want to do. Rehearse the process in your own mind, and then let your body perform naturally. Don’t struggle to remember the instructions. Just do it.
  • Develop a concentrated mind. Be in the zone. Become focused, leaving no room for thinking how well you’re doing. Let your body and mind act as one.
  • Use your own knowledge to grow. You know how to do it so don’t over think it. And don’t interfere with the learning process by trying to look good to someone else. Stay focused.
  • Learn from experience. Make discoveries along the way, rather than struggling to prove or remember something. When you discover something new, adapt to it instead of struggling against it.

Once you master these stages of the inner game, you’ll know how to succeed at anything. After all, don’t we intuitively know what we should be doing already? We don’t need someone to tell us. We just need to unlearn the habits that interfere with the process and let it happen. That means getting out of our own way. And that’s how we get really good at our inner game.

If you need more clarity on where to start first, click here to download your free copy of The 7-Point Wellness Assessment – Create Change Through Awareness. It will help see areas in your life that you personally want to work on. And if you’re ready to “up your game” in business or life, I would love to partner with you. Please contact me and we can work out the best options available to you.

Feeling Trapped in Life? Master Your Inner Game to Free Yourself

If you’re feeling trapped in life, don’t give up, because you CAN free yourself by mastering your inner game, being focused and learning to trust yourself.“There is always an inner game being played in your mind no matter what outer game you are playing. How aware you are of this game can make the difference between success and failure in the outer game.” ~ Tim Gallwey

Do any of the following statements describe how you’re feeling right now?

  • I’m feeling stuck in a rut.
  • I feel trapped in my job.
  • I’m feeling trapped in a relationship.
  • No matter how hard I try nothing seems to go right.
  • I used to be really good at this, but now I just can’t make it work, so I end up trying too hard and second-guessing myself.
  • My fear of failure makes me default to “I can’t” before I even try.
  • I thought I was over that, but it keeps resurfacing again and again to gnaw at me.

The good news is…YOU don’t have to stay feeling trapped in life. You CAN free yourself from these negative mindsets and limiting beliefs. And while it does take some effort, it really isn’t that hard. Especially when you realize you already have the skills, you just need to make the connection between your two selves.

What do I mean by saying you need to connect your two selves in order to free yourself from feeling trapped in life?

Along my personal and professional journey, I discovered a book that helped me transform my inner environment to one that is more nurturing, supportive and all in all more conducive to learning and growing. It’s The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance. The core message of the book is that in tennis like anywhere else in life we usually play two games, an outer game with our opponent (self 1 – some people describe it as the body, which acts), and an inner game with ourselves (self 2 – some people describe it as the mind, which instructs).

We get into trouble when Self 2 (the mind) tries to tell Self 1 (the body) how to do something the latter already knows how to do. This disconnect spirals into second guessing yourself, trying too hard and feeling like a failure (In my opinion, the only failure is giving up. Nothing else is a failure. It’s simply a life lesson).

For example, when you learn to play tennis, your instructor tells you to “keep the eye on the ball” and your brain instinctively positions your arm and moderates your stroke speed to lob the ball back over the net. Later you forget this advice and start missing, so you think your form is off. To compensate, you swing harder or hold the racket differently, and it just makes it worse. Whereas, if you would go back to keeping your eye on the ball and let the brain do its thing, you’ll be better than ever.

We must quiet Self 1 (the body) and let Self 2 (the mind) do what it knows how to do. The best way to quiet the mind is not to tell it to shut up or force it or criticize it. What works best is learning to focus it. Focus means mindfully paying attention to only the aspects of a situation that are necessary to accomplish the task at hand. This requires that you become an observer of your own behavior.

There are four important steps to connecting your two selves:

Step 1: Observe in a non-judgmental way, simply seeing the situation as it is, rather than judging it to be good or bad. Being judgmental only leads to self-doubt and anxiety.

Step 2: Visualize your desired outcome.

Step 3: Trust yourself.

Step 4: Observe the outcome and results in a non-judgmental way. It’s neither right nor wrong. You did your best at this point and time, and that’s good enough.

Learn to be aware of your feelings and your body’s responses so you can overcome the self-doubt, nervousness, anxiety and lapses of concentration that keep you from performing at your best. Master athletes and business professionals know that they can’t win the outer game if they lose the inner one. They know the value of having someone coach them as they Master the Inner Game. If you’re ready to make the commitment to a richer experience in life, please contact me. I would love to partner with you as you learn to get out of your own way to let your best game emerge.

Develop Leadership Skills in Women Who Want to Make a Difference

Learn five ways to develop leadership skills in women who can make a difference in our quality of life as they learn to apply embodied leadership techniquesToday women in leadership roles are shaping a better world. As nurturing and empowered women, we are becoming a local and global force for good. However, due to the lingering negative perceptions from the gender gap, women often work twice as hard in order to achieve the same recognition as men. That’s why I’m so passionate about this subject! Now, more than ever, it’s vital to develop leadership skills in women – both in ourselves and the next generation of leaders.

Women, particularly business owners, are innovating new pathways and contributing to society in countless ways. They’re more likely to reinvest their profits in education, their family and their community. Since these are differences that fly under the radar, traditional ways of measuring economic development and business performance don’t capture transformational benefits such as these. Yet, don’t you notice a more open and supportive spirit in today’s business world?

You may or may not consider yourself a leader. But you will benefit by strengthening your leadership skills so that you can confidently step into your role as a mentor and role model for younger women.

Here are five ways to develop leadership skills in women that you can use to improve your quality of life and make a difference in the lives of others…

  1. Ongoing education. Beyond a standard education, young women need to be trained in leadership skills such as, public speaking, writing, negotiating, conflict resolution, and networking.

In addition, an embodied leadership education teaches you to be self-aware, self-regulating and self-confident under the high stress demands of your newly acquired position.

  1. Broadened experience. With the world becoming increasingly interdependent and communities become more integrated, exposure to other cultures and ways of thinking is vital. Women must become willing to go beyond what’s comfortable and seek solutions in unfamiliar settings and experiences.

Through awareness, you can develop the ability to see opportunities everywhere. You can then seize these opportunities by creatively solving problems and innovating new paths.

  1. Mentors and role models. Instead of independently going it alone, women seek out supportive mentors and coaches that help them progress through the different stages of career development.

Look at the top 100 powerful women and you’ll find role models who can inspire you to greater things. Learn to embody the kind of people they are through cultivating greater emotional intelligence and admirable characteristics such as generosity, courage, and integrity. If they can do it, so can you.

  1. Shift attitudes. From an early age, girls need to know they’re capable of doing anything they want. And boys need to learn this message, too. Over time, even the most closed society or culture can make this mindset shift.
  1. Build relationships. Rather than competing out of ego, women who embody leadership graciously advance and support the efforts of other women and men. Making an impact on the lives of others allows women to live with purpose. Rather than one person at the helm, women form a network, showcasing the unique talents of each member.

It’s never too late to pursue your heart’s desire. Maybe you don’t want to change the world, but you dream of doing something more fulfilling and meaningful. Please, don’t settle until that dream is realized. I would love to partner with you through this transformation. Contact me and we can work together in person in Ashland, Oregon or via Skype. Your possibilities are endless.

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I invite you to learn more about me and my coaching and counseling services. Please contact me to schedule an “It starts with you!” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me, in-person, by phone or via video consultation, so we can explore our partnership.




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