Election Day: 6 Emotional Intelligence Skills to Make it Through the Day

Vote today!

Vote today!

Emotions are likely to be high today. No matter which candidate you support, you may be anxious, optimistic, fearful, angry, and on edge, curious, or distracted plus many more emotions.

Today let your emotions inform your decisions and your actions. Channel your emotions into productive, not destructive, actions.

Because of course, so much is at stake in this election. When there is a lot on the line, people get very emotional and that’s exactly what we’ve seen this year on the campaign trail. When emotions are present, it does mean something matters and we are all deeply attached to the outcome of this election so no wonder emotions are present. They are healthy and are a way to communicate our beliefs.

Problems and conflict occur when emotions are uncontrolled and drive destructive, disrespectful and divisive words and actions. Emotions then drive people instead of people being able to control their behavior.

If you want to be part of getting people to work together again and be civil to each other, it’s your responsibility to vote and use your emotional intelligence as you interact with others.

There are six skills I believe will help you be more focused, present and effective today and in the days following the election.

  1. Optimism* – Our country has been through many dark times and although it’s been messy and in some cases devastating, we’ve always made it through. Tap into your sense of optimism by looking at the big picture that we will survive.  Look at what is working in your life, your career, and your community. Yes there are a lot of things that need to be fixed. By looking at what is working, it will open us up to new solutions.

I’m not saying you should look at life with rosy-colored glasses and pretend problems aren’t there. Of course they are. Approaching today with optimism means that no matter who wins, we as a country have the ability to make it through, and you as a citizen have the power to take action that matches your beliefs and influence outcomes.

  1. Assertiveness – Do your part to make sure something good happens. When you are appropriately assertive, you communicate your feelings, beliefs and thoughts openly and defend your personal rights and values in a socially acceptable, non-offensive and non-destructive manner. The offensive and destructive voices from these campaigns are overly aggressive which is causing a lot of chaos.

To use assertiveness, first vote, then do something to help other citizens like make calls, drive someone to vote, write a blog post, any kind of action that makes you feel like you can do something to make a difference.

This also boosts your self-regard and is a good use of your social responsibility, both which increase your emotional intelligence.

  1. Impulse Control – Take a breath before you argue or make sweeping generalizations. Impulse control is a mature way to address differences and conflict. Using impulse control, which is resisting or delaying the impulse to act, can help cooler heads prevail today and in the days following the election.

Using impulse control doesn’t mean you shouldn’t express your opinion, to recommend keeping quiet would violate your right to free speech. The difference is how you express your feelings, thoughts and beliefs in an appropriate way.

  1. Emotional Self-Awareness – This skill is so important I’ve included the whole definition from Multi-Health Systems – “Emotional self-awareness includes the ability to recognize and understand one’s emotions. Also includes the ability to differentiate between the subtleties in one’s own emotions while understanding the cause of these emotions and the impact they have on one’s own thoughts and actions and those of others.” Using this skill is the foundation for the core of your emotional intelligence.

When we are not present to our emotions and let them drive us, we lose our ability to be rational and take appropriate actions.

Take time today to reflect on your own emotions. Mine are a messy mix of hope and fear for the future, curiosity about what will change, anger about all the hatred that is being unleashed, and frustration. I’m also working to be more optimistic that we can make the country better, and tapping into my own use of assertiveness to reach out to potential voters through calls to encourage people to vote.

  1. Reality Testing – this can be tough if you experience a lot of difficulties in your life, especially on a day like today. Doing your best to be objective and see things for how they are can help you manage your emotions. Managing your emotions helps you stay productive and effective.

Fearing the worst keeps you from fully being present to your family, your job, co-workers, team members, and employees. Fearing the worst can paralyze your thoughts and actions and you can spiral into a downward spin into negativity and at its worst, depression.

Mentally or on paper, list the worst fears you’ve had and then notice which ones actually happened. Hopefully it’s none or less than the good things. This exercise helps you create a stronger sense of realistic thinking.

It is easy with all the media coming at us to mentally construct gloom and doom scenarios in our head. All the analysts, political commentators, talk show hosts and social media posts drive us to conclusions that may not be in our best interest.

We can use our minds just as easily to focus on good outcomes. Spend a few minutes today picturing good outcomes to our society, our economy and our country as a whole. It can get better.

  1. Interpersonal relationships – You won’t agree with some people, however, if they are significant people in your life and you want to stay in relationship with them, use impulse control – think carefully before you speak.

Speak your mind respectfully and after you have, respect their right as a citizen to vote as their conscience and heart speaks to them. This will go a long way to preserving your relationship.

While not measured as an emotional intelligence skill, courage will be important. There are so many forces out there that want us to stay in fear or incite fear and panic in us that we will lose our in us that we will lose our country. Some of the fear is real, and some of it is not. Use courage to discern for yourself what is real for you and then take action.

Thank you for reading this. I’m going to make some calls now to encourage people to get out and vote.

For your voting locations visit www.iwillvote.com.

* All definitions and emotional intelligence skills mentioned in this article are from Multi-Health Systems EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Survey. Kathy Garland is a certified provider of EQ-i assessments. Click here for more information on emotional intelligence.



Why I Love to Travel

Kathy and Tour Guide at Coliseum 2015I love to travel. My travel adventures make me happy, feed my desire to learn and explore and give me a sense of freedom that is not tied to my everyday responsibilities.

Travel is as necessary for me as water and air. Without it I start to feel like I’m missing out and not experiencing life to the fullest.

The photo above is of me listening to our tour guide at the Coliseum on a recent trip to Italy, Greece and Turkey. It was one of my favorite trips because of the rich history and the magnificent art.

What travel does is light up my spirit – that part of me that is creative, energetic and so alive.

Other things that evoke the same feeling are having a great response from clients when they’ve made positive changes that affect their livelihood – I really feel like I’m making a difference.

Of course, being with family brings that connection to who I really am and where I can make a difference.

What fuels your spirit and your true essence?

Is it creativity?

Is it making things happen?

Is it connectivity with people?

What I’ve noticed is that so many of us have forgotten who we really are and do things we think we should do, or that other people think we should do. We have obligations to our jobs, our families, and our outside activities. There’s nothing wrong with this unless it doesn’t make you feel more alive.

So just for today, do something that makes you feel like more of you. One thing I did recently was to create a short video for my grandson and email it. It only took a few minutes and it was fun.

Make time for fun, for music, for a short walk, call a friend, spend a few minutes planning your next trip, or visit an art gallery. Just take one small step toward being more of who you love to be. If you make this a practice, you’ll be surprised at how much more you are available to your life purpose and to the people in your life.

What are your passions? Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.



3 Strategies to Strengthen the Leader in You

TeamIn the past week, I’ve been discussing with some colleagues the concept of leading from the inside out. In other words, the outward actions of a leader are internally motivated.

People that lead from within usually have a sense of purpose and have a vision for the company that influences their approach to work. Here are three strategies you can see in internally motivated leaders. You can cultivate these skills easily to expand your abilities as a leader.

Ask Great Questions – Leaders that lead from within have an internal sense of curiosity and desire to create the best outcomes. Their curiosity brings out creative solutions and insight that might otherwise stay hidden.

Use Influence instead of Authority – Leaders who are driven from within don’t rely heavily on their authority to get things done. They understand the art of influence and know how to use it wisely to get things done. In addition, a strong leader influences others when she or he understands what motivates team members and is able to translate that into communications that influences action.*

Learn something new each day – Leaders who lead from within know that part of the secret to success is to continually expand their world. Leaders who focus on growing themselves in the areas of their professional expertise and in their emotional intelligence are able to inspire and motivate their teams. They are also more creative and open to new ideas. Continual learning increases self-regard and well-being, which are essential emotional intelligence skills for leaders. **

* For information on improving influence skills for you and your team, contact me  for a complimentary assessment call. 
** Self-regard and well-being can be measured through the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey, for which I am certified to administer and coach.
© Kathy Garland, 2015.

For other insights on leading from within, read these posts by my colleagues:

Emerging Leadership:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/emerging-leadership-sharon-jenkins

The Responsibility of Leadership: http://robbbraun.com/blog/the-responsibility-of-leadership/

Qualities of Creative and Successful Leaders: http://cherivalentine.com/leadership/

Kathy Garland works with women leaders to improve results through strengthening their influence, emotional intelligence and relationship-building strategies. She is an executive coach, mentor and speaker and specializes in working with women with technical and analytical backgrounds. She is certified in the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey as well as 360 Management Skills Surveys.


Succeeding by Changing the Game

Game ChangerWe just saw the movie, “The Imitation Game” that told the true story of Alan Turing, the prodigy mathematician who broke the Nazi Code during World War II. Turing was extraordinarily gifted in his intellect and so devoted to his studies that no focus was given to developing his social and interpersonal skills. As I watched the movie, it was difficult to imagine anyone more shut off from people and more into his work.

He led the team of mathematicians, however, his personal style and focus created a divided team that fought daily. They made no progress toward deciphering 159 million bits of code. The task felt impossible for Turing’s team.

Turing himself had a clear vision of a machine that could decipher the German Enigma code. His problem was that he didn’t share it or accept any support from his team.

Turing’s genius eventually made a profound difference in WWII and the Allied success. How did that happen? He changed the game.

A young woman mathematician on the team was able to influence Turing to start showing a little caring for the team. His first action was to bring each person on the team an apple. It was enough to repair some of the damage created by his isolationist and elitist attitude.

Little by little, his team started getting on board with his vision and his approach. Eventually, while they were having fun on a night out, a solution was found that broke the code.

By using just a little emotional intelligence, Turing was able to change the game and find solutions that, according to historians and post-war analysts ended the war two years sooner and saved approximately 14 million lives.

Pretty impressive don’t you think? What results could you create by improving your interpersonal skills? Where can you influence powerful changes through the power of your relationships? What vision do you have that could become a reality by tapping into the power of your team and your networks?

If you would like to affect change, be more influential and maybe become a game-changer, sign up for my free series, “Lead Like Dorothy, Power and Influence along the Yellow Brick Road” which contains tips to increase your influence and ability to build strong personal relationships.

Kathy Garland helps mid-level leaders drive results and get to the next level through increased influence, strong relationships and effective communication within teams and across the organization. She is certified to deliver emotional intelligence and 360 management skills assessments.
(c) 2015 Kathy Garland

Thanksgiving Greetings

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to  prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not  coincidence. – Erma Bombeck

At our house we are making preparations for Thanksgiving dinner as well as plans to watch the Thanksgiving Day Cowboy game.

There is a lot of love and work that goes into a Thanksgiving meal  so we can be surrounded by family and friends and enjoy each  other’s company. Over the years, I’ve changed my approach to how that dinner has to be put together, from preparing everything from scratch (or ‘fixing’ as we say in Texas) to gathering the best of prepared food and mixing in a few family favorites prepared from scratch. I also am happy for guests to bring something as well.

What I’ve done is softened my belief about traditions and looked at other ways for us to have an enjoyable meal together. I’ve found that I enjoy Thanksgiving more when I don’t spend that eighteen hours in the kitchen and I more thoroughly appreciate the people at the table with us. And I don’t fall asleep during the football game because I have more energy.

Remember what Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

May you have a Thanksgiving full of warm memories, happy feelings and a waistline that stays the same!

 © Copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding women leaders and their teams to a more collaborative and successful work environment. Working together to be innovative, productive and successful requires understanding the key principles of communication, influence and relationship-building. Kathy’s individual programs and workshops are designed to build these attitudes and skills within teams, especially for technical, financial services and sales teams.


Inside Out Thinking on Reaching Your Goals

Reaching Your Goals“…better to be approximately right than exactly wrong.” – Edward Tufte, Yale professor and master of information design

When I heard that quote last week, all sorts of excuses for my biggest project just vanished. I have allowed my fears on this goal to slow me down. Approximately right – what a great concept!

So today I want to talk to you about reaching goals. In order to fuel our soul’s growth and work through our life’s lessons, it is essential to set goals and have something to work toward, whether it be professional or personal. The human mind and heart is wired to move forward and setting goals is a way forward.

Yet some of us (including me at times) are fearful of setting big goals out of a self-limiting belief that we will fail or one of my fears – not meeting mine or others expectations. Or also the concern that my reputation somehow will be diminished.

Most of you know I’ve taught goal-setting for years. I have a specific process for setting goals and making them very clear and tangible. You also know how to set goals.

So what is the big deal? Why isn’t everyone excited about setting goals and moving forward? Mostly because there are some emotions and limiting beliefs involved. Literally we can let our emotions hijack our behaviors and actions.

We all have many life lessons to learn, blocks to clear and more of life to experience. Let’s make it a little easier – sound like a plan?

Next time you are dreaming about a big goal or something you want to do, accomplish or become, notice your emotions. That may be difficult at first. You have to slow down. Emotions are part of the human experience, whether we want to acknowledge that or not.

Ask yourself:

1. What’s at stake for me if I do this/ or become this?

2. How do I feel about that?

3. Does this goal support who I want to be?

4. What is the background or story that has contributed to fearful or blocking emotions that would cause you to hold back?

For me, writing a book is my biggest goal right now. I’m really busy with clients, projects, family and travel so it is easy to put the book on the back burner. I can justify by saying I’m so busy.

However, I have done some work to look at the limiting beliefs and emotions involved in what’s at stake for me if I do write and publish a book. Taking a dive into what limiting beliefs and emotions were keeping me stuck has been extremely helpful in moving me forward.

If you are a woman with big dreams in your heart that you want to make happen, I want to invite you to attend my Heart and Soul Women’s Retreat, January 23-25, 2015. We will focus on overcoming limitations of stress and the emotional roller coaster that keeps us stuck. You will get clear on what you want to accomplish in 2015.

Check out the details here or contact me.

 © Copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding women leaders and their teams to a more collaborative and successful work environment.

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision-making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.



Reframing Your Problems

Every so often, I get stuck. And I mean stuck. Like I don’t want to move forward. Generally something has happened that triggers some emotions in me.

This is a basic human response that happens to everyone.

I hear from a lot of clients that time management is an issue:

“I don’t have enough time…”

“I don’t take time for myself”

“I don’t have time to exercise”

Time is relative. Last week two of my clients realized that they wanted to take some time for themselves during the week, yet felt it would be unproductive.

Reframing is looking at a situation from a different point of view. Very often with this process, people find a different way to look at their circumstances.

Once they were clear on why it was important to set aside time for themselves, both clients found time in their schedules – not because they changed what was there, they simply changed what they were looking for.

Once they found value in taking time for themselves, the time showed up on their calendars. The time was always there, they simply reframed their thinking around taking time for themselves and then they were able to see what they couldn’t see before.

Any time you want something and you feel the struggle of not being able to have it, try reframing your mindset – what is it you really want and how could you look at your situation differently?

And if you are stuck, please call me. I have learned a lot of tools over the years to get unstuck and I help clients every day move through challenges. Contact me and we’ll set up a time to talk on the phone.


© copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential. 

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.



Use This Tip Now to Improve Your Results

This week I was reading an email from a friend who was sharing some goals with me. As I read it to absorb what she was saying, it occurred to me that she could do better.

I don’t mean I disagree with her goals. They were realistic and even optimistic. However, her email set my mind in motion around what I know about goals and going for what I want.

Think of the last time you set a specific goal. Chances are you either finished right on or pretty close. When we set a goal for something specific or ask someone for something we often get what we asked for or sought, that is, if we are committed and take action.

What if you could have even better results than what you declared in your goals?  

Next time you set goals add a few words at the end:

“…or something better.”

Adding this to your goals, dreams and plans expands your consciousness around your goal. It increases your awareness of what else is possible.

Let’s look at some examples –

1. Typical goal: 2 new consulting clients per month

Revised goal: 2 new consulting clients per month or even better. What if by only declaring two you leave yourself out of the picture for a new type of business or client?

2. Typical goal: I have <x> people on my mailing list by June 30.

Revised goal: I have <x> people or more on my mailing list by June 30.

Do you see how the energy of your goal feels more expanded? Improve your results with this simple tip.

I’d love to know how this works for you.

© copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential. 

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.


Struggling with the pressure of commitments?

Do you feel like you have more commitments than you can handle? It seems to be a condition of our lives right now. The last six weeks have been a period of transition for my family and some close friends so I’ve temporarily moved some projects to the back burner. So now I’m putting pressure on myself to get the things done I put aside during the last six weeks.

Hourglass photoI wouldn’t trade the time I spent with family and friends for anything, yet at times like these I see the sands of time slipping through the hourglass and feel out of control. It’s a struggle when I make commitments and life events pose a challenge to keep moving forward. To prioritize my time, I focus on the commitments I make to others and put commitments to myself aside. That’s a topic for another time.

If you are experiencing pressure and stress around the commitments you’ve made, you can do something about it. To reduce the pressure you feel around your commitments, it’s important to get a clearer picture of what obligations you personally accept. Synonyms to the verb commit (www.dictionary.com) include accomplish, achieve, act, carry out, complete.

That’s where the struggle is. When I make a commitment, I have full intention to complete it. Because I can’t predict the future, I experience stress over my inability to complete all of the commitments I’ve made when something unexpected happens, which of course it always does.

So I’ve taken a look at things I have done to help and things I want to do to get better at to manage the pressure of commitments. Here is a good place to start if you want to get better at managing your commitments. Identify your:

1. Regular commitments – examples: work, clients, exercise, and family commitments

2. Short-term commitments – examples: participating in mentoring certification, planning a family vacation, contributing to a joint venture project

3. Long-term commitments – examples: raising your children, your business/career goals, and your fitness goals, writing and publishing your book

In following posts, I will take a deeper look at the challenges of keeping commitments and more tips on what to do differently.

For a complimentary consultation on managing your commitments, contact me and I will connect with you to schedule a phone appointment.

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential.

© 2014 Kathy Garland


Fear is the seed of something great

I am a big fan of “The Wizard of Oz” and still hold onto my VHS copy of The Wizard of Oz. It is such a delightful story. Although when I was a kid, I remember being terrified of those parts of the movie that are supposed to scare you, especially when the Wicked Witch of the West and those awful monkeys show up.

A vivid memory of the movie is the point where Dorothy, Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow are admitted to see the Wizard for the first time.

Kathy GarlandThey have been happily traveling on the path of the Yellow Brick Road and easily reach the Emerald City where they think they have it made. However, theWizard is more than they bargained for. The Wizard, as you remember, is very intimidating as he shows up as a larger-than-life shouting apparition spitting fire and smoke.

Dorothy and her friends must confront their fears and step up to the Wizard to ask for what they want. Moreover, as if that wasn’t enough, The Wizard demands even more from them – the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom.

Of course, the Great Oz knows that each one will find what they are looking for by doing the thing he asks. Dorothy will find her way home; the Tin Man will find a heart, the Lion his courage, and the Scarecrow his brains.

How often, on our own path, do we let the journey ahead look frightening to us, whether it is changing a job, moving to a new city, making a speech, going back to school, finding a relationship, starting a business or traveling alone? Whatever the fear is, it can certainly hold its grip on us and even though we haven’t met some scary Wizard who can grant us or not grant us our wishes, there might as well be.

I somehow think it would be easier if there were a nasty ol’ Wizard out there. It would give us a reason to stay safe and comfy, wouldn’t it?

However, everything you want is on the other side of fear. Usually your most important breakthroughs are on the other side of your fear.

What could be more frightening than killing the Witch to get her broomstick?

And it is something we need to get through. Like Dorothy and her friends on a mission to get the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom, we all have our own journey to find what we are driven to seek.

Where are you holding back because of fear? What are you not contributing or giving to the world because you are afraid?

A few years ago, I visited the Georgia O’Keefe museum in Santa Fe and on a plaque was the following quote from her:

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keefe

So the only way to get over your fears is to go through with the thing you fear the most.

Think of the art that Georgia O’Keefe has contributed to the world. Had she stayed in her fear, we would not have seen nature and colorful Southwest landscapes through her eyes.

Remember that any thing in your mind that causes you fear is the seed of something great.

Dorothy found her home, the Lion found his courage, the Tin Man found his heart and the Scarecrow found his brains all after they confronted their fears.

What will you discover about yourself when you step into and through your fears?

For a complimentary consultation on overcoming fears, contact me and I will connect with you to schedule a phone appointment.

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential.

© 2014 Kathy Garland