Frequently in keynotes and trainings audience members ask me for help.  They typically say, “What’s the emotional intelligence solution to _____(insert complex problem)___?” Or, “What’s the EQ perspective on ____(insert lifelong challenge)____?” It would feel gratifying and really boost my ego to tell them what I think they should do…  but most of the time it wouldn’t work.

wisdom-lives-within

Six Seconds has a set of six core design principles we use to guide our curriculum design and all teaching (and these also form the backbone of our EQ Certification Training).  One of the principles is “Wisdom Lives Within.”  That means our job is to help people reflect and discover their own answers, their own truth. Sometimes I have trouble with this because I get a great deal of positive reinforcement from “being smart” and having “good solutions.”  I guess that’s rooted in my own insecurity; I like being a “go to” person and it feels good to help and to be acknowledged as someone whose expertise is invaluable.  But that ego boost actually creates dependence – undermining what I TRULY want to give!

One of the other principles is “No Way is The Way” which means we can’t give people the easy answer because there isn’t one.  We need to help them craft a solution that’s authentically, powerfully theirs.  But the good news is they already know it! (see principle #1).

Again, a lot easier to sell “the secret to success,” but even if I knew the secret (sigh, I don’t), I suspect it wouldn’t actually work for most people in most situations.  There are just too many variables.

I read this quote from Colin Powell that reinforces these principles:

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

While people WANT “expert answers” that isn’t what they actually need from us as friends, mentors, coaches, trainers, teachers, partners – or even parents.  If we truly want to help people be and do their best, we need to learn to ask great questions instead.

So, that said, here’s “the secret to success my EQ perspective”:

Next time someone asks you for advice, ask yourself this before you answer: 
In the long term, would you rather be the “expert” solving this person’s problems, or have them grow to brilliantly rise to their own challenges?

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Joshua Freedman

Joshua is one of the world’s preeminent experts on developing emotional intelligence to create positive change. With warmth and authenticity, he translates leading-edge science into practical, applicable terms that improve the quality of relationships to unlock enduring success. Joshua leads the world’s largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers.
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