Hi EQ Super Stars–

Right this moment, in Atherton, California, people just like you are filing into a sunlit classroom for their first day of the introductory Six Seconds certification: Unlocking EQ + Core. They likely feel a range of emotions: nervousness, hesitation, skepticism, curiosity. But I only feel one: unbridled excitement for them. One year ago, I was one of them: A student filing into a sunlit classroom, not knowing what to expect. I hadn’t a clue how profoundly that week would change my life.

I always sat in a particularly uncomfortable chair while working at home, something I didn’t realize until attending the Core certification last year. I knew this chair strained my back, but it was the only chair by a desk– and I needed a desk to do my work. Whenever I sat in this chair, I habitually ignored the pain radiating from my back, doggedly focused, instead, on the task at hand. I barreled through the screams from my back, devotedly finishing that one last call, filling out that one last form. My cheeks glowed hot and red, my chest a tight knot of angry coals. But I ignored these signals of frustration— powering through until my to-do list, and my back, were completely finished. 

This pattern of prioritizing others’ needs above my own extended well beyond the blue, scratchy seat of that wretched chair. In those days before the Core certification, my life was that chair.

The Core certification gave me the tools, framework, and measurements to realize three things about this chair (and, thus my life):

1. I feel frustrated when I use the chair, but I don’t change it because I prioritize work over my wellbeing. I feel frustrated with my life, but I don’t change it because I prioritize others’ needs and goals over my own.
2. I could choose a different chair. could choose a different life.
3. I don’t want my back to hurt every day, and I don’t want to hurt every day, either. I have a purpose in life, and I’m going nowhere by staying in that damn chair. I need to choose a different chair. I need to choose a different life.

And thus, my personal journey with emotional intelligence began. Every day, I strive to choose a different life for myself. Sometimes I succeed in creating new patterns, and sometimes I fall back into old patterns. It’s all a long journey that I’ve just begun, but one part changed almost immediately. I got rid of that chair.

To what extent are you choosing your goals, your purpose, and your priorities in life? How can emotional intelligence help you choose a different chair?

Here is an artful tool I pulled out of my notebook from last year’s Six Seconds Core certification that will help you identify your goals, your obstacles, and your tools:

1. Draw a big circle, then divide it into four parts: Work, Community, Family, and Self. Write down what you would like to experience under each category. For example, on mine for “Self,” I wrote “guidance of purpose, grounding sense of self, sense of safety.” These are your goals.

2. Next, draw another big circle with the same four parts: write down any obstacles to achieving your goals for each category. You want these obstacles to include your own stuck patterns. For “Self,” I wrote, “pattern of self-criticism, anxiety/ fear, lack of commitment.” These are your obstacles.

3. Lastly, draw a third circle with the four parts: what you are learning/ what are the tools that will help you move through these obstacles? I wrote down “TFA, mantras like ‘I am safe,’ and meditation.” These are your tools.

You have your goals, your obstacles, and your tools. I took one other VERY important step to choose myself that week; I crafted a comprehensive plan for growing my EQ. I called it my “Stronger Self Project”. Next week, we will use your goals, obstacles, and tools to create your very own emotional intelligence plan. (And, of course, if you really want to dive into this profound world of EQ, get yourself into a certification!)

What emotions did you feel writing down your goals, obstacles, and tools so concretely?

Toward which of the categories on your circle do you feel most drawn?

What patterns did you write down about yourself? How are they helping or hurting your efforts toward your goals?

What kinds of plan have worked for you in the past? Think about how you can leverage this knowledge for next week.

PS– Did you know that Six Seconds’ introductory course, Unlocking EQcan be completed online from anywhere in the world? It has live + non-live elements, but all of them can be done online, from the comfort of your home or office 🙂 Find upcoming Unlocking EQ dates and times here.

PPS- I decided to choose myself at the Core certification, but I couldn’t have done so without the inspirations from facilitators Lynette Vaive + Josh Freedman. Thank you for preparing the ground so these seeds could grow!

Illuminate is a weekly e-mail series that provides practical tips + galvanizing inspirations for practicing an emotionally intelligent life. In our time together, we’ll operate from the assumption that you have all the wisdom you need inside of yourself + that you have a purpose the world needs to see. We will explore the tools + techniques to illuminate your own inner wisdom and purpose. If you’d like to receive this free gift of goodness in your inbox every week, subscribe here.

Maria Jackson

Maria Jackson

Program Manager at Six Seconds
Maria Jackson enjoys writing about the personal side of practicing emotional intelligence. Her noble goal is to “nurture inner illumination,” and she feel grateful to work and live in a world where she can practice daily. She shares stories, tips, and inspirations for living EQ in Illuminate, a free, weekly e-mail column (6sec.org/illuminate). She'd love to hear from you at [email protected]
Maria Jackson