Emotional Intelligence: The Fastest Way to Improve Your Life

I don’t believe in shortcuts to success, but what I do believe in is knowing which skills and mindsets have the greatest return on our time investment. After spending 18 years investing in my own growth and helping others for 14 years, I have seen that emotional intelligence (EQ) is the place everyone should start if they want to take explosive steps towards change.

No matter how high your EQ is now, it can always get higher! And if you are serious about achieving your goals, this should be nonnegotiable. Research shows that our level of EQ will determine more of our personal, relational, financial and professional success than anything else. In fact, up to 80% of our success can be attributed to emotional intelligence. It doesn’t just help you solve the problem at hand, but helps you learn how to solve many problems before they start.

 A UC Berkeley study found that EQ was 400% more likely to predict success than high IQ. According to Harvard Business School, 71% of employers believe hiring someone with high EQ is better than hiring a candidate with more technical skills. A whopping 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence. So, if you are aiming to be a top performer in life, relationships, or work, EQ is not something that can be neglected.

What is even more shocking than these statistics, is that according to one study, the majority of people think they have high emotional intelligence, but only 15% actually do.

If you want to have a better life in any area, but can’t define what Emotional Intelligence includes, or what you are currently doing to improve it, you are setting yourself up to live and perform below your potential every…single…day. 

So, what exactly is EQ? There are many detailed involved, but at the core, it is the ability to recognize and manage your emotions as well as detect and respond to the emotions of others in healthy ways that help you reach individual and group goals. 

You might think, “I am not really emotional, my emotions rarely get the better of me.” That’s great! But we are not just talking about hot tempers or crying fits. Those are the most extreme displays of emotions.

Here are some examples of emotions that hold people back on a regular basis: have you ever resisted writing an email you needed to write? It’s an EQ issue. Unable to have the confidence you wish you had during a presentation or in a discussion? Also an EQ issue. Not sure when it’s the best time to start a hard conversation? Overeating because of stress? Stirring up arguments? Experiencing a lot of miscommunication with others? Employees angrily quitting and you don’t know why? Lacking determination or motivation? Often feeling like a failure, discouraged, or mad at yourself? Feeling burnt out? Wishing life were different? Unable to have the kinds of relationships you want? All of these problems may seem completely different, but at the core, they all involve our emotions and can be solved through building EQ skills. 

Emotional intelligence training gives you the skills to work confidently with your emotions, and harness them to create better results. It helps you feel capable even when you have uncomfortable emotions like stress, pressure, anger, or discouragement. It helps you create emotions like determination, confidence and empowerment. This can absolutely catapult you towards your goals.

Emotional intelligence is one of the easiest paths to help you reach your goals quickly, and working with a qualified, high quality coach is the fastest way to increase emotional intelligence! No one wants to feel like they are wasting their time and money on a coach who can’t help them get results.

The great news is that unlike your IQ, you can actually learn to have higher EQ! The only question is; what will it cost you in lost time and potential to try to master it on your own? What would you have to lose to gain all the education and skills that can be taught to you through an expert in a fraction of the time? Whatever your answer, I would urge you to get started sooner rather than later!

If you want to find out more about how I can help you with this goal, schedule a strategy session today and we will get you moving forward ASAP!

Sadness is a Guide

        Sadness is not wrong, bad, or negative. It is uncomfortable, and that discomfort is meant to motivate us, but let’s stop blaming sadness for trying to help us! Yes, you read that right; sadness is always trying to help us. However, if we have been taught to ignore it, bury the feeling, or leave it unresolved, the messages can pile up, and we can actually end up feeling powerless instead of empowered.

As you may know from a previous blog, emotions are like the nervous system for our mind, thoughts, and behaviors. When we feel too cold or too hot, we don’t blame our body for feeling that way. We get up and change something else: our environment, clothes, or the thermostat. Sadness wants to help us know we can do something that will make us feel better, safer, or more comfortable. 

Like an alarm going off that is ignored, it will get more and more uncomfortable until you feel like you can’t stand it anymore. Like any other skill, it takes time and practice to get better, and listening and knowing how to resolve it, but the good news is that with practice, you can start to feel like it happens easily and naturally.

The messages sadness sends and the things it is motivating you to resolve are actually countless! It’s like any relationship; you start to notice trends and themes about what you care about as you slow down and really listen. Then, you get better at predicting your emotions are telling you they care about. To give you an idea of where to start, below are 11 messages sadness might be sending and ideas about what action it needs from you in order to stop spam messaging you. As I said, the things sadness may say are limitless, so these examples may not be any of the messages sadness sends to you, don’t think I am suggesting any of these will resolve your specific kind of sadness, or that they are your best action step forward. They are just examples.

1. There is something you need to do less or more. If you are constantly overextending yourself for others, sadness may be the emotion to alert you to take action to set boundaries, pull back, and take better care of yourself. If you are not investing at all in others, it may be telling you to do more for others, get out of your own head, or boost your confidence by helping others.

2. You are low on comfort and positive feedback from your environment and/or yourself. All humans need comfort and positive feedback. If others are not providing this, you are not allowing yourself to accept it, or you are not giving enough to yourself, it’s the job of sadness to inform you. Sadness may be saying you need to advocate for yourself to be seen or do something to show appreciation for yourself! 

3. You need rest and a break from anger. Sadness gives you a way to take a break from frustration or anger. You may cry or sleep to release the tension that sadness knows is too much stress for your body to be holding. 

4. Something meaningful that you value is not able to be grasped, is lost, or could be lost one day. Sadness makes space for us to grieve, which helps us process and make sense of our new life without the person or thing. Sadness wants you to know what you value and be intentional about creating, investing in, or having more of in the future. 

5. You are using unhelpful thinking styles. The sadness alerts you that your thinking style is hurting you. It doesn’t help you to put yourself down, label, mind-read, or catastrophizing. Sadness wants you to make a correction to practice thoughts that are healthier for you. 

6. You feel like you performed under your potential. By noticing that, you realize and are motivated to take steps to reach what your potential really is. You can put in more time or work to change it or accept yourself and your limited resources and time in life.

 7. A hurt or mistreatment has happened to you. You were tricked or betrayed and you need to slow down, find red flags and find better protect yourself in the future, gain healing, or regather your strength.

 8. You realize that things are better than they have been at other times and are grieving or processing the realization of what you missed out on before. Sadness wants you to be aware of what you want to continue to create for your future and what was not best for you. 

9. Your expectations were not met. Sadness teaches us to create more accurate and realistic expectations and reminds us to gain resilience to setbacks by planning and reminding us to take our next best action based on what actually did happen, not what we wished happened. 

10. Your blood sugar is low, hormones are off, or you have not had enough sleep. It wants you to get what your physical body needs to feel happy.

11. You are getting your value from the wrong places. You achieved something and feel sad because you put so much time and energy into something you actually, authentically, don’t care much about. Or, you didn’t achieve something, but feel the pressure of others to achieve it and are wasting precious time trying to impress them.

Emotions are not random, vague, or harmful. When we are grateful for them and open to their communication instead of resisting it, we tend to act with more clarity and feel much less turmoil. Much of the emotional stress we experience is due to fighting our feelings instead of working with them. How we act after having an emotion and how we resolve them makes all the difference. If we are proactive and positive towards them, no matter how uncomfortable, they will lead us to our best life!

If you’d like expert support figuring out what sadness and other emotions are teaching you about yourself and your best life, I invite you to schedule a strategy session today!

Your Emotions are Not Bad or Wrong; They are Trying to Help You!

Emotions are sometimes labeled as the problem, but emotions are never the problem. Emotions are meant to help lead you to your best life. Our interpretation of them is what gets us stuck. When we don’t know what our emotions are saying and how to resolve them, it can cause us to act or react in strange, unhelpful, hurtful, or self-sabotaging ways. When we practice understanding the message our emotions are trying to communicate to us for our own good, we will live a happier, more peaceful, and more fulfilling life. 

Emotions are messengers. They are not good or bad. They give us information. If we are open to receiving the information an uncomfortable emotion is sending and resolving the issue, it will naturally and easily go away without a fuss.

One could say our emotions are much like our nervous system. No one who accidentally touches a hot stove gets upset at their hand hurting and blames their hand for burning. No one says, “I hate my hand; it is so weak; why could it not be strong? Why did it let the heat get to it? What kind of a wimpy hand would get a burn? I expect better!” 

Someone might rightly blame the environment (the hot stove or the person who left it on without telling us) before blaming their hand for feeling hot. Their hand didn’t spontaneously burn; the burning was an uncomfortable feeling that helped them create change to no longer be hurt by their environment. By recognizing the stove is hot, they can then create solutions to carefully avoid that pain (or worse pain) in the moment and in the future. That is very helpful to know in order to stay healthy, even though the experience is not comfortable.

Uncomfortable emotions tell us that something is wrong and we have a need. Every uncomfortable emotion tells us that something needs to change either in our thinking OR our environment. If I feel sad, I am thankful to have that feeling! Why? Because it cares about me, wants me to be healthy, and it is telling me something can change to keep the sadness from sticking around longer.

The sadness may be telling me someone is mistreating me, and I need to change who I spend my time with or set better boundaries. Maybe the sadness is telling me I keep imagining a future of doom that is not realistic, and my thoughts need to change because those thoughts are hurtful to me and wasting my time and vitality. Maybe the sadness is telling me I lost something I value, and it is teaching me what I value and what I want to spend more time doing in the future. No matter what the message is, my emotions are sending the message to try to help me out. They want me to find a resolution, so they can stop spamming me with the same message.

It takes practice to learn the language of our emotions, interpret the message correctly and identify what needs to be understood or resolved. The good news is that, like any other language, the more you practice, the easier it gets.

I used to be completely overwhelmed by my emotions. There were so many messages coming, and I had no interpretation skills. I felt like listening to gibberish. It felt like not only did it not make sense, but the reactions I had to my emotions were constantly sabotaging my success. Now that I understand what emotions are for and how to interpret them, I am able to resolve most of my emotions as they are happening. I have become fluent, so to speak. If something upsets me, I resolve it. When I resolve it, the emotion stops spam messaging me, and I get to move on with my day.

The skill of understanding and resolving emotions doesn’t develop overnight any more than the skill of driving a car or learning a new language. Thankfully, like anything else, we learn more quickly if we are trained or supported by an expert. After all, it does no good to know that our uncomfortable emotions are telling us we need to set better boundaries if we don’t know how to do that. It doesn’t help to know that our work is causing our stress if we don’t know that stress can be reduced by recalibrating our thoughts, not taking work home with us, and improving our communication skills.

Everything takes longer, and it is harder when we have to figure things out on our own. That is where a life coach can come in and help you figure it out in a fraction of the time.

With practice and guidance, it can become second nature for you to resolve emotions as they show up! When that happens, you become more productive, focused, and confident and live in greater peace and happiness. After all, peace and happiness are messengers telling you that your thoughts and environment are on the right track!

How to Stop Emotional Eating

One of the biggest things that causes people to struggle with their health goals is emotional eating. This idea is that poor eating habits are triggered by negative emotions or stress. Most people try to stop emotional eating with willpower. That never works, and on a fundamental level, it cannot work. Food and willpower are not the issues; they are distractions from the issue. In this blog, I want to share some of the reasons we emotionally eat and what we actually need in order to stop the cycle before it starts.

If we take a step back, we have to give ourselves credit that emotional eating actually makes a lot of sense as a strategy to help ourselves feel better. Eating high-calorie food releases endorphins connected to pleasure, and this can be strong enough to override difficult feelings we are having. If we think about the history of humanity, famines and starvation have been a constant threat. From a survival standpoint, it is helpful if our brain makes us feel good when we eat high-calorie food. Humanity wouldn’t have survived for long if we only felt good eating low-calorie things. If that were the case, we would never have gained physical strength to survive or built up fat stores to get us through hard times.

When we are stressed, cortisol is released, and this can also increase our hunger. Back in human history, another one of the biggest threats was physical harm. Eating rapidly can be a natural urge when we are stressed because that extra energy from food could be needed to help you think more clearly, win a fight, or run fast and far enough to save your life. These days, the feeling of threat may come because you had a difficult meeting with your boss, but your body still interprets threats the same way, causing an urge to eat.

At the root, emotional eating is a strategy to distract ourselves from uncomfortable emotions that we don’t have the confidence to resolve. It can feel stressful and overwhelming not to know how to resolve uncomfortable emotions. Eating is also a helpful strategy to get our minds off that stress. Why? Because at least we know how to resolve overeating. It is a relief to know how to solve a problem, so if we create a problem with food and decide to resolve it by another trip to the gym, we don’t feel as helpless. 

We can also be driven to eat as a way of expressing and confirming how we feel. If we feel out of control, the way we treat food may mirror that feeling. If someone is upset with themself, the way they eat may be a physical manifestation of that feeling. Like charades or a pantomime, our emotions want to be understood and resolved. They may resort to symbolic ways of showing us what they are experiencing through our behavior and actions around food.

Finally, we might emotionally eat certain foods to remind ourselves of good memories. When we feel we can’t resolve our uncomfortable emotions, we know we can go get our favorite dessert. This reminds us of special occasions and thinking about that memory can minimize our uncomfortable feelings for a while.

While eating is a good strategy to help distract us from uncomfortable emotions, it will never actually resolve our emotions. Every uncomfortable and unpleasant emotion is meant to be resolved. The purpose of emotions is to communicate vital information about what you need to live your best life. But, if they don’t trust you got their message, they will keep sending it over and over until it is resolved. By covering up the message with food, we only ensure we stay stuck in a pattern that is not helping us. To stop emotional eating, we have to develop the skill of interpreting, understanding, and resolving emotions. 

This skill, like any other, doesn’t develop overnight. If you notice you engage in emotional eating, there are strategies you can use to give yourself space and a chance to resolve the actual issue. Some of these are in the way you set up your environment, the things you buy, and the way you train your thinking and self-talk. I talk much more about these strategies as well as how to resolve emotions in my Health Coaching program.

The good news is that when we master the ability to resolve uncomfortable emotions, we resolve the root issue, and we won’t need emotional eating or anything else to distract us. Our emotional eating will naturally no longer serve a purpose or be needed as a strategy that helps our life.

Life Coaching for Weight loss and Wellness

Are you feeling stuck with your health goals?

Wondering why some people achieve their fitness goals effortlessly, while others seem doomed to try, fail and repeat the cycle? I know you probably know what to do, but it’s a matter of doing it (and for more than a couple weeks). 

There is a reason so many fail at achieving their health, fitness, and weight goals. It has nothing to do with willpower and discipline.

It comes back to our neurobiology and our thoughts which are the origin of our behavior. Changing behavior doesn’t work because it’s like cutting the top of a weed. As long as the roots are still there, it is determined to grow back. In the same way, your neurobiology drives you to go back to unhelpful behaviors that are familiar, even  if you hate them!

The goal of coaching is to recalibrate your thoughts and emotions, which are the roots of the behavior you hate, To uproot the old, and plant and water the new. When this happens, the things we want to achieve are also things we genuinely enjoy doing and achieving! 

Maybe you have always hated working out or eating healthy foods. You’ve said, “it’s just who I am!” If that is the case, I’m sorry to say that you set yourself up for failure on a neurobiological level.

But, there is hope! Reaching your health goals with coaching takes the same 4 step process as any other goal.

  1. We have to strengthen the communication and quality of the relationship you have with yourself. In coaching, we call this neurolinguistic programming. That mean voice that shames you and gets angry with you? Yeah, that’s one of the things that has got to go! Why? Because people who beat themselves up over failure are actually more likely to fail than those that don’t. Once we can help that voice see it’s not helping, and change it, it will start to empower you and GIVE you energy! I am here to expertly teach you HOW to change. 
  2. Next, we refine and clarify your health goals and why you want them. Sometimes, as we become kinder to ourselves our goals shift to be more authentic, or even bigger than before!
  3. We move into a phase of consistency. This is where we focus on the practice of rewiring our brain and recalibrating our habits. 
  4. We reach a phase of confidence where we know that we know your goals are able to be maintained even in a difficult week, or when old challenges come up. 

I use my background in psychology, and principles of neuroscience to help people change their relationship with themselves and become a source of empowerment and joy for new health habits!

I combine this with knowledge gained from a college-level Fitness Specialist Program, and 4 years of work experience with individuals with eating disorders in hospital and treatment center settings.

This experience gives me a truly unique approach and understanding of what motivates our habits, thoughts, emotions, and experiences around food, exercise, and wellness.

So, that is the plan, but what is left out? Wishing, hoping, and apathy are not part of the strategy! Neither is starting a new diet plan or following some strict rules. Instead of telling you what to do, I guide you toward figuring out how to do what you already want to do, provide new strategies, and believe in you every step of the way!

How Much Does Life Coaching Cost?

The cost for coaching varies widely from $0 to work with a student who has to get someone to practice with or $100,000 to work with a celebrity or internationally known coach. But the deeper question is what kind of coaching is actually WORTH the money for YOU. You might want to save money working with a coach who charges $20, but is it worth it if it wastes your time and money and leaves you feeling further from your goals?

I already know that if your goals didn’t matter to you, then you wouldn’t be reading this blog. So, if you had the option today, what would you pay to reach your goal? That is the amount you should be prepared to invest in a coach that can help you get there.

Some people think of coaching as paying for an hour of time. If you spent $20 to be entertained by a film and watched it for two hours, then you spent $10 an hour and the film won’t give you anything other than those two hours of entertainment. But coaching is very different. Coaching gives you a transformation that can change the course of your life for years to come.

Coaching is much more like a financial investment you might make that brings you compounding interest each month. (Although, you are the only thing you can ever be certain you will have each day of your life. This makes you much more useful, and valuable than money is to you!)

If your goal is to get another job and coaching helps you do this, you may save yourself years of working at a lower wage, and get there faster, which would give you time to be promoted several more times in your career.

If coaching helps you reach your health goals, you may save thousands on medical bills, help you do more of what you love, and get to spend more quality time with the people you love.

If coaching helps you feel more confident so you can take risks, follow your dreams and live a phenomenal life for the next several decades, how much is THAT worth?

Could you get quality coaching that leads to those changes for a small price? And, if you could (which research and anecdotal evidence say is very unlikely), why haven’t you? The most successful people in the world hire a team of experts to help them. They know if they want success, they have to be willing to invest in it.

Coaching helps people achieve a priceless quality of life changes. These cannot be bought anywhere else. I have experienced this working with coaches myself, and it is the experience clients communicate to me when they work with me.

Here is a better question: how much has the coach you are thinking of hiring invested in themself? I personally have invested hundreds of thousands in my education to earn a doctorate in psychology, four different certificates, and my own coaching. It has been worth it to me. I am now living my dream life, and I know you can, too!

Does Life Coaching Work? How Can I Know if It Will Work For Me?

Before committing to any product or service, it is very important to know if it actually works!

Yet, when it comes to coaching, the answer can be complicated. In this blog, I will share 6 questions to help you figure out if coaching would be likely to help you or not.

First, let’s draw a comparison: how do we know if football coaches are helpful? Well, we could say, in general, they are very helpful and even vital to have if you want to be a football player. But, there are some football coaches that might teach bad technique and set you back. Not all coaches have the same knowledge, skill, or dedication. Some might see coaching as a side job they do for fun. And even if the coach is phenomenal, if an athlete doesn’t show up to do the work, put in their best effort, and follow through with the training, they won’t be successful.

So how do you know who will help you succeed? As a life coach who has also had my own life coaches, I ask the following six questions to determine who is a quality coach and up to my own standard.

  1. What kind of training have you received? Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a coach and have no actual qualifications. They might be good at convincing people to buy their coaching, but that doesn’t mean they can help you overcome challenges and succeed at your goals. Always ask how long their training was, how much they have invested in their training if they have their own coach, and if they pay for anyone to supervise their work. 
  2. How long have you been a coach? Coaches won’t come right out and tell you if they started coaching as a passion project, or because they hate their day job. According to statistics, 81% of life coaches quit in the first three years because they are not making enough money to sustain themselves. If you want a coach that actually knows how to achieve success in their own life (before guiding you), I recommend only working with someone who has been in the field for at least five years. 
  3. Do you have another job as well, or do you just coach? If a coach has another job, it means they are not practicing and investing as much time in coaching. This could be totally fine if their main job is in the field they want to go into. If you want to be an entrepreneur, by all means, hire someone who is already successful at that and coaches on the side. But if their other job is one they are trying to get out of and it is in an unrelated field, that is a big red flag.
  4. What do you do for ongoing professional development? In any industry, it is important to keep up with the latest knowledge, developments, and application for the field. Because there is no group that oversees and assures continued education for coaches, many coaches do not invest time and energy in their own growth. Ask the coach if they pursue additional certificates, attend conferences, or attend coaching development meetings.
  5. How do you think people change? The goal with this question is not that they have the one “right” answer because, in fact, people are complex, so there is no one right answer. The goal is that they actually can communicate how they will help you change, and do so in a way that is not overly complicated, makes sense to you, and leaves you with some clarity.  
  6. Where can I find reviews from past clients? Graphics they made to post on their website are a start, but how do you know if they wrote their own reviews? Make sure they also use a system that has an independent verification process, like Bark, Yelp, or Google.

By asking these questions, you can gain valuable information that will save you tremendous amounts of time, energy, and frustration! It could potentially even help you avoid committing to a coach that might set you back further! You are your most valuable investment, so never settle for second best when it comes to your mind and your goals!

What is the difference between a Life Coach and a Therapist?

If you have ever asked yourself this question, you are not alone! There are some similarities between coaching a therapy that can lead to confusion, and as I have worked as both a therapist and a coach, my goal in this blog is to help clear that up! 

The short version is that coaching is like being a swimmer. You are working with a coach because you want to become a champion swimmer. Therapy is like being a patient of a physical therapist who gives you swimming exercises to gain range of motion and the mobility to start to be able to swim after an injury or medical problem. 

Life coaching is most simply about helping you identify and achieve your goals! Like a sports coach helps an athlete, a good life coach provides quality feedback, so you can identify areas to create exponential growth and reach your goals at an accelerated pace! Life coaches help you see yourself more clearly, gain skills and habits that lead to success, and gain confidence to get there. Coaches may use research from multiple disciplines, including positive psychology, to inform their understanding of human behavior and goal attainment. Because of that, the coaching experience is usually positive, strengths-based, and empowering! 

Those who are a good fit to work with a life coach are typically people who are doing okay in life but want more. For example, Oprah and Leonardo DiCaprio talk about how their life coaches have played a role in helping them towards their success. Coaching is based on the client is willing to work collaboratively. The coach is an expert in behavior, strategy, thriving, and change, but the client is the expert in their life and experience. A coach provides insight, encouragement, and that extra push on hard days. Coaches celebrate with you and help you rehearse and study what is going well, and where you can upgrade even more.

Research suggests that coaching is much more effective than trying to help yourself. In one study, 80 percent of those asked said coaching helped them increase their confidence!* Why? For the same reason that working with a seasoned swim coach is more effective than jumping in a pool, taking a few strokes, and hoping to become a confident champion. 

Success is a skill, and it can be taught and learned, like swimming techniques. Think about this; there is no Olympian in history and no sports team that has never worked with a coach. The most successful people in history have advisors and experts that help them gain and sustain their success. 

Now, let’s talk about therapy. Again, it is like working with a physical therapist to resolve an injury, or maybe even a mental health therapist to get over a fear of the water. Both champion swimmers and physical therapy patients get in a pool and have conversations about what to do in the pool, but the discussion and goals are vastly different. 

In therapy, the focus is typically on the past, on hurts, trauma, or psychological pain that is keeping us from functioning well in daily life. Therapy typically involves a medical diagnosis to treat a mental illness and is considered part of the medical profession. There is an illness, trauma, or disorder that must be healed so that the individual can go back to functioning in life. In order for a therapist to be paid for their work by medical insurance, the person must have a diagnosis. If there is no diagnosis, medical insurance does not consider the work a therapist is doing to actually be therapy. In this model, the therapist is a trained expert in treating illness, and the patient is not an expert; they are receiving the treatment. 

Neither therapy nor coaching is right, wrong, good, or bad. Both serve a purpose and are important to help people transform and achieve something they could not otherwise! If coaching seems like the best fit for where you are in life, I would love to connect! You can schedule a free initial strategy session by clicking below.