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Banal Comments And Your Reactions

January 2nd, 2020

Over at Pluralsight I just turned in my 35th course, which will be titled Leading with Emotional Intelligence.

I have to be honest, I was excited to do this course… but I didn’t realize how much doing this course would impact me. I had a stack of books about emotional intelligence on my desk, I had dozens of tabs open with articles about emotional intelligence, and I watched a lot of videos on Youtube. I was immersing myself in what others were talking about so I could formulate how I could really share.

A friend offered to come over and chat about emotional intelligence, as she teaches about it weekly at a high school. My wife and I spent a couple of hours with her, getting a brain dump, which was fascinating and way more interesting than any research I had done so far. I took pages of notes, learning about the five pillars of emotional intelligence, and understanding how impactful EQ really is in this world. A couple of weeks ago I tweeted this:

I am convinced that the world would indeed be a better place if leaders, and everyone, had higher EQ. That is, we were more aware of our own reactions and triggers, and we “self-regulated” better, and we were aware of and genuinely cared about others. (those are only three of the five pillars of emotional intelligence, but just those three would have a huge impact!!).

Back to banal. In a recent course I delivered I got a comment from someone that it was banal. Banal isn’t a part of my every day vocabulary (although I’ve thought the word daily since :p), so I had to look it up. It is at the Shakespearean-insult level:

– so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.
– lacking freshness or novelty
– implies a lack of any significant or convincing quality.
– devoid of qualities that make for spirit and character.

Synonyms include trite, inane, sophomoric, dumb, stupid, bland, and vapid.

Yeah, so, banal is not a compliment.

If you put yourself out there, you need to take the good and bad. I’m fine with that.

Years ago I wrote a post about or to career center employees because they didn’t support, recommend, or get JibberJobber. Individually many did, but it was so disappointing to not get the support I thought I deserved.

My coach wrote me a multi-page email telling me to never do that again, and that if they didn’t get it, it was really my fault. It was a scathing letter, and he was 100% right. Lesson learned.

I reacted.

This year, in 2020, we will have plenty of opportunities to react. The Pluralsight course I just did was a deep dive on emotional intelligence. Reacting is a big part of that…. starting with self-awareness (what sets me off? Why do I feel certain ways in certain situations, or because of certain people?) and then going to self-regulation.

Self-regulation. Or, self-control. When we regulate our emotions and feelings (not the same thing). When we have more control over what we do, think, say, express. When we are in more control, and more intentional about what and how we communicate.

I took a few days to think about how to respond to the comment about my banality. Then I left a very short, kind response. And I walked away. That’s it.

I’d rather spend my time building up people than fighting and arguing. I don’t need to be right, but I know some people need to feel loved. And that’s what I’ll work on in 2020.

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