On EQ, Financial Planners, and Mindfulness

In our CORE training at the Financial Transitionist Institute, we talk about Daniel Goleman’s five components of EQ as described in his seminal book: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.
  1. self-awareness
  2. self-regulation (emotional control)
  3. self-motivation (internal motivation)
  4. empathy
  5. soclal awareness
Emotional Intelligence springs from awareness. Recognition of one’s inner states as well as what’s around us is key; research has shown that this translates into client satisfaction.

You Are Potentially 50% of Every Conversation

Think about it. You work hard to know your clients. You want to listen and hear their needs. You want to understand what they’re about so you can provide value.

But what about YOU?

It’s lovely that you try to understand others and meet their needs, but what about you and your needs and goals? What’s your intrapersonal relationship like? How’s it going? Figuring out what others need and improving your communication and listening and empathy are all worthy goals–crucial even. But what’s your self-talk like? Do you listen to your body’s wisdom? Do you have self-compassion? Do you think you know what your core values are?

Do you realize that half of what occurs in any conversation between you and someone else occurs inside you, and there’s more you can do to understand yourself than you can do to understand anyone else?

Enter Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

You may have heard that MBSR has been demonstrated to:

  • decrease chronic stress

  • decrease pain

  • enhance well-being

  • increase happiness

All of that is fantastic, and I see it in the MBSR classes that I teach. However, a less-raved about benefit, which I would put at the top of the list, is self-awareness.

Self-Awareness and Knowing Your Audience

Self-awareness has a marketing problem. It’s just not that interesting of an idea for most people. And I think that has a lot to do with the reality that most people think they’re already self-aware; they don’t think it’s something to be learned. Therefore, if you lead with self-awareness as a benefit of mindfulness, it’s not compelling.

Meanwhile, real-time reporting from an actual MBSR class frequently includes not just the reduction of stress as a negative experience, but also surprise by the increase in self-awareness. The reporting usually sounds something like: “I didn’t realize how self-aware I wasn’t until I started practicing mindfulness!” The truth is that the entire MBSR curriculum is about cultivating self-awareness; all of our responses are skillful or not based on the level of awareness we bring to them and what we then do with that information.

Waking Up To Your Life

It’s no fun realizing that you’ve spent much of your life lost in thought and that you’ve created your mind and your habits by accident. And it’s also no fun when you learn there’s no pill for unlearning your habits of thought and behavior and creating new ones.

On the upside, when you’re surrounded by a bunch of people, virtually or in-person, who are all in the same position, the vibe can go from mortified to relieved. It’s a relief to find out that, just like you, no one taught them how to focus or self-regulate or even listen. It’s a relief to learn that others find it difficult to sit for even five minutes without their minds wandering incessantly. It’s a relief to hear that you’re not the only one who’s wording a perfect retort when you should be listening.

Join Me  . . . 

If you think you’re up for getting to know yourself on a different level and being able to serve your clients in a far deeper way, join me for the full 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course, or the 6-week course I designed based on it called Mindfulness for Financial Planners. Both begin on Tuesday, August 18. If you have any questions, contact me at: mary@suddenmoney.com or +1 561-776-8987.