There is a lot of talk in the workplace about two words. Then again, there is a lot of talk about a lot of special words in the workplace. Some words you can say without a problem. Some words are sensitive. Of course, some are offensive. However, these two words are not offensive or sensitive to me but to someone else, the ideas of Emotional Intelligence could trigger a workplace dispute over whether terms like this should be used or not.
To be clear, we live in interesting times. I have sat in meetings that discussed empowerment topics. The main objective was based on wellness and well being proposals to create workshops in the workplace. The intention is to promote personal satisfaction, growth, clarity, interpersonal improvement, as well as to overcome obstacles and above all, to support transformational, personal and professional changes.
For the record, there is no one who starts with a plan to be unsuccessful. If there were rooms for subjects like success and wealth, there would be lines of people looking to attend. If there were rooms for charisma and charm, again, the lines for attendance would be out the door. The reasons for this are obvious because the subjects are desirable. Now, let’s take another subject like mental illness. Let’s talk about anxiety or better yet, let’s use the word depression and failure. How many people would look to attend? How many people signed up to have emotional or mental health challenges and depression or anxiety? Either way, regardless of branding, anxiety is real. Depression is very real and taboo subjects or how we deal with them are not going to go away any time soon.
There are triggered assumptions with the words mental health and wellness. Equally, there can be triggered assumptions that are connected to Emotional Intelligence Programs. Besides, what does this mean?
Put simply, emotional intelligence recognizes feelings and emotions but in the workplace, Emotional Intelligence (EI) programs are workshops that recognize self-awareness, personal regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Although this sounds simple and direct, there are challenges with this. There are challenges, as if the ideas are presumptive, as if to suggest that people in the workplace are not emotionally intelligent or sensitive.
“We have to be very careful of what we say.”
Ever heard this before? Meanwhile, the strategy is to create a better sense of connectivity. But remember, intention and interpretation are not always the same. The idea is to bring coworkers together as teammates; but wait, even this can be suggestive.
“What do you mean? I’m a team player. What are you trying to say?”
It’s true to say there are challenges with programs like this. There are those who stand strongly behind their opinion that workshops like this are a waste of time. Not everyone buys in. Additionally, I never knew how thin the line between progressive and offensive can be.
So, then what does that mean? Do we quit?
Do we say that we can’t promote any self-help programs because this might be sensitive or suggest that someone is“In need”of help?
Do we stop trying to build connectivity workshops and strip the word “Wellness” from our vocabulary?
My answer is no.
Part of the strategy behind my journal entries is to make a basic and easy-to-understand connection between us all. The truth is we are all human. We all have strengths and areas that are in need of improvement. People want the best for themselves and yet, there are challenges and obstacles. There are times when our energy is low. We have workplace stress and home life stress. There are times we submit to our circumstances and find ourselves beaten and drained. Our level of catabolic energy has broken us down to the point where it is difficult to operate at our best.
So, the question becomes how do we turn this around?
How can we boost our anabolic energies and promote growth? Once again, if the statistic is true and that 85% of people are unsatisfied with their job, then at a minimum, how do we find a way to become part of the 15% who enjoy what they do?
By the way, there is no rule that says we have to be miserable.
My aim is to create strategies and plans to create a culture positive sense of unity among coworkers.
But how? More importantly, how do we do this without push back or offending anybody? How do we create the necessary buy-in that can bring people together?
(I laugh as I type this.)
Common decency prevents me from reporting what an old boss used to tell me about sensitivity in the workplace. People have their own biases. They have their own connotation of words and what they mean. People have their own opinions about awareness and wellness in the workplace. And not everyone agrees. Then again, not everyone disagrees either.
As a person who had both the honor and the pleasure of doing college lectures, I begin my lecture by writing the word “Stigma” on the board. I write all of the names I have been called in my life. I start with the word“Loser” and advance to stupid, ugly, bum, lowlife, junkie, drunk and so on.
I begin my lecture by pointing to these words and asking, “Has anybody ever heard these words before?”
Naturally, everyone nods their head because the terms are common.
My lectures are based on finding our commonality to create a better connection to each other. I discuss our nature and our cultural differences but yet, at our core, there is a heart that beats. There are lungs that need air. We all have a pulse. We have a mind. We have thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions. We have desires and there is a unique purpose for us all. My aim is to focus on the motivation of our similarities over the challenge of our differences. The focus on “Self” and personal understanding is what leads to a better emotive IQ.
Since my college lecture is mainly based on one of my books that detail my past experiences with mental health; I ask all of the students, “Why do you think I wrote this book?”
It is interesting to hear their answers. It is interesting to hear their interpretations and what they have to say. I go around the room and then return to the board. I point to the word “Stigma” which acts like an umbrella to the words written below, like the word “Loser” and all that went along with it.
Very simply, I explain the reason that I wrote this book (or any books) is because I am not any of these things. I explain that I understand the sensitivity to words. I know what’s offensive to me. However, in my efforts to improve my life, I had to learn how to become comfortable with times that I would feel uncomfortable. Above all, my aim is to replace my challenges with possibilities. I want to switch obstacles into opportunities. As a person in this world, I want to reach a level of awareness that the words on the blackboard are no longer personally bothersome.
To be clear; my intention is to create and build workshops that focus on emotional intelligence, personal empowerment, how to live better, feel better, work better, and in the end; hopefully, at the time of our completion here on Project Earth, we can look back at what we’ve done and be satisfied with all we’ve accomplished.
Or, at minimum, if nothing else; I want to create working programs that help us avoid being part of that 85%.
Remember: There is no rule that says you have to be unhappy.