The Heart Behind It

I have attempted five degrees and not finished one. When I finished high school, I simply couldn’t narrow down every single interest of mine into a single degree. So, for eight years, I have been playing the game of process of elimination! I have worked full time, part time, two jobs, no jobs, studied the whole time, volunteered across numerous areas (and applied to volunteer for a trillion more) and let’s not forget my portfolio of projects that I like to have on the go – just in case I get bored, as well as still maintaining a social life and hobbies.

My argument has been that I don’t want to be an “average Joe”, so I have justified running on the treadmill even when I needed to get off. My justification for continuing to study meant that I could hide behind feeling embarrassed about my lack of a cool career to say “oh, but I’m becoming someone great!”.

Forward to three weeks’ time and I will finish my sixth attempted degree in business. It is an absolute miracle and only by the grace of God! I am absolutely stoked, and yet, the last couple of months the question of what I’ll hide behind next year is slowly creeping up from my subconscious into a loud insecurity. It has continued to bring me back to the question of who I am and why I do what I do (which truthfully, I am grateful is being exposed by this insecurity!). I have the ability and the opportunity to reflect, observe and listen – and then choose – how those emotions and thoughts are reflected in my behaviour and thought life.

So, why, Elyce? Why is this important and what’s it got to do with emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

  1. Emotional intelligence skills may not proceed a healthy self-image, but a healthy self-image combined with a maturing emotional intelligence skill-set will likely increase your capacity to work efficiently, love well, and serve others. On the days, or weeks, or months, that I take responsibility of my self-confidence and self-talk to be in a healthy place, my ability to align my self-awareness, communication, relating with others and even ability to hope about my future becomes more effective in loving myself and others well. We’re designed to thrive, and a healthy self-image is key in this.
  2. As children, we have needs. These are major needs that if not met will hinder our development later in life. One theory, or goal post, is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pictured below. When we experience a deficit in any of these areas, we can carry this into our adult life and it has the potential to impact many areas of our lives.

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{We are imperfect and wonderful creatures; please don’t hear me saying that imperfection will create chaos in your world. Unhealthy behaviours will create chaos in your world.}

Sometimes as a way of coping from our areas of lack of deficiency, we create unhealthy behaviours. I need to be aware of the fact that when my insecurities around my identity are triggered, my unhealthy behaviour can be to pick up projects or go looking for opportunities for validation, and get ‘back on the treadmill’.

Action Points

  • Deal with your stuff. Have a think about insecurities that come up in your work environment, in your family life, in your relationships – you may recognise a pattern. Listen to your self-talk, it will tell you something. Notice how you feel after you speak things over yourself.
  • Often, we are not aware of something others can plainly see. If you’re brave enough, consider asking people that you trust in your life about what they perceive. What do you get defensive about?
  • What is your default emotion (Ie. The emotion that appears to be your first emotion in conflict) and ‘why’?
  • Are you aware of your needs, and can you ask for what you need? Reflect on whether asking for your need gives you more or less energy.

Resources

  • Podcast: Carey Niewhof Leadership Podcast | ‘CNLP Bonus 016: My Advice for Young Leaders and Developing Your Character with Doug Smith’
  • Book: ‘Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication and Boundaries’ by Danny Silk

Keep a healthy heart.

Elyce

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The Role of Resourcefulness

Dear Millennial Young Professional,

Your boss (regardless of how implied, expressed or communicated this is) values your resourcefulness. It makes their life easier, and yours. It reflects self-efficacy and self-leadership. Your resourcefulness exhibits your ability to not be overwhelmed by problems. Do everything in your power to develop this soft skill for the benefit of your career, your daily life and your relationships.

Anger, conflict, boundary, time, project, relationship and self-management are illustrations of situations where the ability to be resourceful plays a critical role in problem-solving.

“Resourcefulness is a broad collection of cognitive-behavioral self-control skills that an individual uses to cope with stress and perform healthy behaviors.” (Rosenbaum, 1990Zauszniewski, 2012).

So, what does resourcefulness actually look like?

As a young professional myself, it is my responsibility to take every opportunity to upskill, grow, mature and refine my skill set. To do this, I might seek out mentors in my industry or healthy leaders that are much further ahead than I, to learn from (ladies, I recommend reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book, ‘Lean In’, she covers the topic of mentoring brilliantly). I might ask my boss what areas I could develop in – and then seek out books, read articles or ask how to work on strengthening that area!

Perhaps the situation is less career management, but more a personal issue of being overwhelmed in your personal life around managing your commitments, passions and relationships. Resourcefulness might look like asking for help. This is not asking for help with all your commitments to continue the cycle, but asking for help on how to set healthier boundaries, learning how to say no and perhaps even asking around and finding people who you feel do this well (though, no one does this perfectly!). Resourcefulness may even look like you seeking out counselling to find out why you might find yourself stuck in this pattern (real talk: counselling is a resource and nothing to be ashamed of).

Important note on resourcefulness: growing in humility is key to this skill flourishing. Resourcefulness does not mean you have the ability to solve every problem under the sun (in fact – quite the opposite). It means you need people. You need other people with stronger skills. It means you need resources. Together, collaboratively, you can work towards solving the problem.

YPs, you got this. Keep hustling humbly and being resourceful.

Elyce

“I”nstagram

Wow.

What has our social-media-crazed world created?

In particular, my thoughts centre around the aggressive focus of physical appearance (of women) on all media platforms- but in particular social media. (Because we all know that’s where the people are!).

Who decided we all have to look a (very) particular way to be deemed as physically acceptable, let alone attractive?

When did it become the norm for everyday-people to feel the need to have plastic surgery to achieve these unattainable beauty standards?

Why has the need for apparent success and beauty become so rampant in the focus of our modern culture?

How do we make a difference in this (ironically intolerant) so-called “tolerant” culture, when voicing these concerns to anyone, feels like screaming with your mouth taped shut?!

Where did we go wrong?

I don’t assume in the slightest, to have all the answers to these questions. Far from it. In fact, I’m mostly just asking them.

Renowned makeup artist Alex Box, wrote a short poem on this exact paradigm:

“HAIR extended
BROWS bladed
CREASE cut
NOSE shaded
LASHES lifted
LIPS injected
IMAGE graded
LOOK at what we have created.”

Of course, there is the ever-probable conclusion we can draw, of the money-motivated marketing behind products and brands to convince the everyday woman aimlessly scrolling through her social media feed -that she needs to have this. And she needs it today. No wait, she needed it yesterday.

But I actually think the reason we don’t see right through this, is because at a deeper level -we don’t know who we really are. We don’t know just how valuable we are. In turn we are endlessly reaching for acceptance from a world which will never fully give it. Expectations that are actually impossible to reach, like a rat stuck on a wheel- feeling that they’re making progress but of course, getting nowhere.

One of the worst symptoms of this perilous trap, is that in order to to try and reach this acceptance, our focus turns inward. “I” am not good enough naturally. How can “I” look better? What do people think of “me?” How many followers do “I” have?

Looking inward is a guaranteed way to misery.

However, looking outward– to bettering the lives of those around us, is fulfilling on numerous levels.

And the most important, in my opinion – is looking upward. Looking to God, our creator. To speak to us directly, of our worth and value. To tell us who we are. We are His. Fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. Loved and adored by Him. And His love and acceptance is absolutely unconditional. Absolutely attainable. (1 John 4:9-11)

Only in this state of knowing who we are, unconditionally loved by God – can we clearly see the perils of the warped expectations that society demands of us.

 

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Hailing from Perth, Lauren currently resides in the Hills of Sydney with her husband Grant. With an innate awareness of her surroundings – she has run an interior styling business for almost a decade and is now also branching out into a long-held passion with a global organisation, Alpha.

Self-Awareness: Knowing Who You Are and Who You Aren’t

Before I walk into a meeting room or an event full of potential, brewing conversation, I already know five things.

  1. The culture I want to bring is one of inclusiveness.
  2. Regardless of what any conversation brings, my default will be to respect you and I will do everything I can to reflect this in my actions.
  3. My emotions will not dictate how I treat you.
  4. I want my behaviour to reflect that I believe at the core of my being, that each and every person has inherent value.
  5. I thought I had five when I wrote five above, but I only have four.

How do these convictions play out when I walk into that room for me personally? I’m willing to engage with anyone who may look socially uncomfortable. I’m willing to ask questions; what do you do with your time? Do you enjoy it? Do you have hobbies? This engagement reflects and communicates that I am interested in your life, I am willing to find value from what you have to share. How is this person’s behaving as we have this discussion? What does their body language say? Better yet, what does my body language communicate?

This understanding comes from having an awareness of how people impact each other. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “no man is an island” – and this is true! We do not live isolated, and we have an ability to set a culture by our behaviour and actions. Self-awareness is the first step in developing this: understanding who you are and who you aren’t, because you’ve probably noticed by now that you surround yourself with people that are similar to who you think you are and what you think your values, beliefs and convictions are.

I feel it’s important to note that if you’re anything like me and this value for self-awareness and loving people well can somehow dance (somewhat gracefully) across the line into hypervigilance, it’s important to develop the skill to rest and have healthy boundaries (if you’re not sure what healthy boundaries are, go right now and buy Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend’s book ‘Boundaries’). Self-awareness means knowing that even when you’re not at your best, your desire to express how you value others can manifest in a number of different ways (and does not mean not loving yourself well enough by not getting the rest you need).

So, I leave you with these questions: who are you before you enter a room? Have you decided who you will be regardless of external factors? Do you know how you might handle someone disagreeing with you? What five things (or four) do you know about who you are before entering a room?

Elyce

We Need Emotional Coaches

Emotional intelligence (EI) has changed my life. It is a lifelong discipline to undertake developing and strengthening your ability to regulate your emotions, to learn to recognise your needs and the needs of others, to empathise, to be self-aware, to healthily manage interpersonal relationships, and to realize all of this is just the beginning of a highly underrated area of health and intelligence.

EI can be defined as:

“The ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions [and to] recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.” (The Institute for Health and Human Potential, 2018) 

I could, and I will continue to study the areas of emotional intelligence, social intelligence and relational intelligence for the rest of my life – and how could you not?! Our ageing and growing workforce is becoming increasingly complex. Employers seem to be requiring candidates to hold higher and higher qualifications to find the rose amongst thorns (don’t worry – I personally believe you are all roses), but there seems to be an underlying expectation, or hope, for our Gen Ys and Gen Zs entering the workforce, and it’s this: “Please, oh please, let this person have some communication and relational skills!”.

Cadman and J. Brewer concluded that “the importance of emotional intelligence as a criterion for the selection of students and in achieving improved quality clinical nursing outcomes should be recognized”, in their 2001 Journal Article. Sure, you may not be a nurse, but maybe you’re an accountant? The results of a study of the importance of emotional intelligence in recruitment and retaining staff in the finance industry came to the conclusion that employees displaying emotional intelligence had higher job satisfaction (Glodstein, 2014)!

Perhaps you’re not a Nurse or an Accountant, but perhaps you’re just human and within the space of 24 hours, normally come into contact with at least one human being. These skills are vital for loving the people around you. They are vital for recognizing toxic relationships and setting boundaries. They are vital for ending cycles of addiction. These skills are worth investing in.

If this is something you’d like to grow in, stick around. I have some stories, resources, vulnerable moments and insights that I’d love to share with you.

Elyce

References

Cadman, C. and Brewer, J. (2001), Emotional intelligence: a vital prerequisite for recruitment in nursing. Journal of Nursing Management, 9: 321-324. doi:10.1046/j.0966-0429.2001.00261.x

Goldstein, D. (2014). Recruitment and retention: Could emotional intelligence be the answer. The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends, 12(2), 14-21. Retrieved from http://libproxy.murdoch.edu.au/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.murdoch.edu.au/docview/1649108375?accountid=12629

 

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Elyce is passionate about young people being equipped with communication skills, relational skills and growing their emotional intelligence. Elyce works in Higher Education whilst studying her Postgraduate Business degree (though, she would much rather be sitting in a library with coffee and too many books to count).