Friday, October 23, 2009

EQ and learning from my kids (all of them)...

On Wednesday I attended a really useful PD seminar on Emotional Intelligence (EI or E.Q. for emotional quotient). A Queen's researcher discussed the connection between EI and student success. Apparently, colleges do a much better job of embedding EQ skills into curriculum than universities do; certainly our program has made a conscious effort to build emotional and social learning into every course. One of my favourite courses to teach is Teamwork and Leadership to year ones. We do a number of personality 'inventories', including EQ. I then put students through real and contrived stressful situations throughout the term (including such things as completing complex tasks with like- and non-like-minded teammates, and in one instance, springing a pop quiz announcing it will be worth 25% of final grade.) The fake pop quiz example is very revealing. Students who self-reported high EQ's have to check their scores against how they actually react in these types of situations. Were they aware of a physiological response (rapid heart rate, flushed skin, shallow breathing) and what did they feel?? Interestingly, last year two of my mature international students reacted exactly as a "High EQ" individual would; they were calm, and they tried to calm others. With many other students (and maturity IS a factor), there was near hysteria. They were unable to calm themselves.

Research now shows that EQ can be a much more important predictor of success than IQ. Author Daniel Goleman, who coined the term and provided much of the early research synthesis, describes EQ as, "The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships." Surely in marketing, as in most fields, these skills are paramount.

Coincidentally, my youngest son Cameron attended the workshop with me. We talked about EQ and I reflected that of all our kids, I think he has an innate EQ possibly beyond that of his older sibs. Yesterday tested that theory.

Cameron had a spontaneous injury in a part of his anatomy that required emergency treatment and surgery. Basically it amounted to seven or eight hours of waiting, not knowing, and anticipating things unknown to him, including ultrasound, needles, general anaesthetic, manual torsion (ouch) and surgery. Cameron taught me a few things about EQ; about composure, about grace and humour under pressure, and about accurately labeling feelings, (at one point he said to me, "first I was nervous, now I just feel overwhelmed"). Throughout he kept me posted about how he was feeling and asked lucid, logical questions. He reacted to everyone who poked and prodded and asked him the same questions repeatedly with respect, and he was treated similarly. (He's doing just fine now. Thank god for quality Canadian healthcare. Don't let anyone tell you differently).

In short, he reminded me of my successful students. They are all my kids! And I learn way more from them than they ever do from me.

A lovely blog post in the NY Times by Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence on being happy: Test your own E.Q.! (This is the site and research resource shared with us from the Queen's Learning Strategist, Elspeth Christie)

Now go and hug your kids!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Doodling at home with sick kid....

Hanging in my treehouse...doodling men with guitars, covetous objects, and summer as the leaves my windows.

Friday, October 16, 2009


I'm having a lot of fun teaching a Career, Placement and Portfolio class. I've hypothesized that students don't need a lot of the traditional job search tools (resume, cover letter, etc....) IF, (and yes, this is a big IF) they really, really, REALLY work their networks. I've given them some time-intensive tasks around building their networks, mining them, maintaining them. And the results are impressive. For those who have really embraced the exercises and put the time in, there have been some fantastic surprises; students who had no clue about the business connections in their own seemingly small circles. But most of us aren't trained to ask.

So I'm asking you...have you ever landed a job based solely on your network? I, personally, have never used a traditional resume. It's always been referrals and word-of-mouth.

Is this the exception or the rule??

Love to hear from you on this one....