Candice Dick is an Emotional Intelligence expert and the host of the EQ Evolution podcast and consulting company. Understanding the four key philosophies of emotional intelligence, and how you can understand and grow EQ is key to all of us as humans, parents, and in business. We discuss how to build it in your children, and how to build it in yourself. How to be more conscious of your subconscious – when by its very nature you’re not aware of it.
- Emotional Intelligence is being smart with our feelings – using your thinking in order to be smart with our feelings in order to relate with people
- 4 key philosophies… and which causes us the most challenges: The Wisdom lies Within (Focus on within); No way is The Way (Respect for others); Collaboration makes more possible (Competition vs Collaboration); Trust takes effort and yields perpetual returns (Feeling safe)
- The first step to take to better EQ – and why without it, it’s like your friends are sending you WhatsApp messages and you have no data to receive them!
- How to better help our children to build their EQ skills
- How to be more conscious of your subconscious – when by its very nature you’re not aware of it
- How to better manage those moments when you ‘lose it’
- How to better set goals to ensure you achieve them
- How to build resilience without necessarily going through tough times
How to learn more on EQ from Candice
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Speaker 1: 00:00 Welcome to Working Women’s Wealth, where we discuss what it takes to build real wealth in a way normal humans can understand. Here’s your host, Lisa Linfield.
Lisa Linfield: 00:21 Hello, everybody, and welcome to this week’s episode of Working Women’s Wealth. Today I’m joined by Candice Dick. She is an emotional intelligence specialist and is the founder of EQ Evolution, which is both a podcast and an online platform to provide learning resources to people about EQ. Hi, Candice. Welcome to our show.
Candice Dick: 00:43 Hi, Lisa, lovely to be here.
Lisa Linfield: 00:45 So, for most of us, EQ is a term that’s bandied around quite often. People use it in many different circumstances. What actually is EQ?
Candice Dick: 00:56 So, actually EQ stands for Emotional Quotient, which is really the measurement of emotional intelligence. So, they’re used quite interchangeably. But, emotional intelligence itself is really, the simplest way, one of the phrases we use with kids, even, is the idea is it’s about being smart with feelings. It’s about using our thinking and our feelings to make optimal choices with our lives.
Actually, emotional intelligence, people often thinks it’s your ability to get on with people, and that is a small aspect of it, but it isn’t all of it. It’s a lot to do with how we deal with ourselves, and then as a result how we relate and connect and collaborate with others. I often say it’s just the science of age-old wisdom. If you have high emotional intelligence, you’ll tend to have a lot of wisdom.
Lisa Linfield: 01:46 Lovely. So, you mention on your website that there are four key philosophies of the EQ Evolution. What are those philosophies and why are they important to all of us?
Candice Dick: 01:59 So, a key thing is that there’s a lot around emotional intelligence that is common sense when you hear about it, and also, actually, a lot of it is hidden in the shadows and until you bring it up, you don’t realize it’s there. So, these are learning values or philosophies that are … Some are actually took from the company I learned from. They’re Six Seconds, they’re trying to get a billion people practicing emotional intelligence by the year 2020. I just couldn’t upgrade on what they were saying.
But, the first one is the wisdom lies within. And I absolutely love this core philosophy, because even though, when we’re teaching emotional intelligence, the reality is we as people have the answers to our lives. Both with what we learn in terms of our being parented, our schooling, learning to be compliant, conformity, the demands of what other people’s thinking and answers come from without, means so many of us forget to stop and get still, or even know what that small voice inside of us sounds like. So, that first philosophy is primarily about realizing that we have the answers, we’ve just got to find the time and space to listen to them, or learn to begin to trust that small voice, because the reality is, my experience is, wisdom doesn’t shout. It whispers, and if we not listening, we miss out on it. So, that’s the first key philosophy.
The next one is no way is the way, and that’s the idea that each of us discover and learn things in our own way. There isn’t one right way. How I might learn and process an idea, and how someone else might process and learn an idea, may look completely different, based on where we are in our lives, what’s going on, what we need, each person discovers in their own way. That speaks a lot to respect. It’s about bringing things to each other, but bringing them in a way that we acknowledge what works for us may not work for you. But, in exploring together, we often help discover or reveal … Different people find their different ways of how they learn that.
And then, the last two are a lot about working with people, because EQ Evolution does showcase a number of EQ specialists, and the one is collaboration makes more possible. I think we live in a world where competition has been so emphasized and applied, it goes all the way back to Darwin, that competition is survival of the fittest. And actually, what we’re learning more and more about is human beings, particularly, thrive because we are herd creatures. It’s actually in our collaboration that our true power sits. And, especially, if we use EQ, in a sense, which means we begin to discover different perspectives. No two people have the same perspectives, and we can bring together complementary skills, and projects and work. You’re able to discover so much more when we collaborate. And it’s not that it’s easier. Collaboration’s not necessarily easier. But, generally the results and outcomes are better.
I love that African proverb you may have heard that says, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone, but if you want to walk far, walk together.” And we really do, I mean. And also, I love, there’s a story about the Space Station being one of the most powerful collaborative projects, that’s been going on … I’m not sure how many years, now, but post-Cold War, and there they’re literally working with the Chinese and the Russians and the Americans. And at first, one of the astronauts, Mark, was speaking about how hard that was, but actually, down the line, he realized bringing those different perspectives, different way of working, you actually get so much more out, and your solutions are so much better. And I think that’s a key thing, I suppose, just to keep that focus on it may not be easy, but when we collaborate together, we do better.
The last one, Lisa, there, is trust takes effort, and yields perpetual returns. This is relevant whether you’re in a family, whether you’re in business. Trust is a lot about safety, and if we feel safe, the human brain operates better. We are able to be more creative, problem-solving. We interact in ways that are more empathetic. But, we have to feel safe, and that isn’t … As humans, we tend to very quickly feel unsafe, be that emotionally or mentally or any other kind of … I mean, in South Africa we obviously deal with an aspect of physical safety more so than, necessarily, other countries, but actually, it’s the realization that trust is like the heartbeat of relationships. And that takes effort.
But, when you invest in it, the time you invest up front in understanding and hearing and listening, investing small things, actually, you save down the line, because you can engage in honest and healthy conflicts, as long as people are being authentic. So, that’s kind of the core values that I felt were a key part of being part of EQ Evolution as we work together.
Lisa Linfield: 06:45 What do people mostly struggle with?
Candice Dick: 06:48 Out of those?
Lisa Linfield: 06:49 Yes.
Candice Dick: 06:50 I think, actually, at the core is trust. You see this a lot in business, and even in families a lot, is that trust actually, if we’re going to do it well, has to start, almost, with self-trust. And, in my experience, we’re raised in a way that is often fearful. “Oh, I don’t want you to get hurt. I don’t want that. Oh, no, didn’t get picked for the team,” or … Our own anxieties, fears, insecurities are projected onto our children, which means, oftentimes, we’re trying to make sure they’re okay as opposed to trusting their own ability to resolve things or letting them, at least, bring in their perspectives and points of view to the table.
So, to really build trust means we have to acknowledge it while it’s going on inside ourselves, because we tend to go to controlling or managing situations if we’re not able to relax enough and trust what’s happening in a space, and allow the exploration, be it for wrong or for right. To go through, so that the lessons are actually learned.
Also, we tend to, as humans, on average, avoid conflict, or, definitely, constructive conflict. Trust actually means bringing the not-so-pretty stuff onto the table, and then wrestling with it. And it’s not pretty to do, but it helps build, down the line, trust. So, I would say that’s a key one that really challenges us, and it’s a daily basis thing. We can be stressed and caught in our heads because something’s gone on at work, and we come home, or the other way around, and if that happens, it doesn’t take a lot for people to suddenly go, “Why are you not sharing? What’s actually going on?”
It’s not that you have to share everything, but even to say, “Actually, I have worries and concerns going on, and it’s nothing to do with this meeting we’re having today but I just want you to know that’s happening for me.” That builds trust, because now everyone’s … People don’t realize, we actually monitoring each others emotions and space they’re in all the time, and if we don’t know what’s going on, we often think it’s not us, which starts to sow distrust and insecurity, and those things make trust difficult.
Lisa Linfield: 08:51 So, what is the first step that people should take in terms of understanding their own emotions? So much seems to happen subconscious in our world and in our life. What is the first step to take to understand your emotions?
Candice Dick: 09:06 So, key thing I always say to people is, “If you think about your life, how much time have you really been educated on understanding emotions? What sort of investment time?” If you’re lucky, maybe you did a little at school, if you’re younger. Or, maybe, a family member had more awareness. But, on average, we educated from, I like to say, the neck up. We very mentally educated. So, the first key thing is emotions are actually a physiological experience. They almost like the language of the body. It’s the reason we go, “Oh, I’m nervous, I’ve got butterflies in my tummy,” or, I often call it when I’m really excited, I get champagne bubbles. Or, our shoulders tense up.
Our body is talking to us about our emotions all the time, and so, the very first step is to actually begin to tune in and actually pay attention to what we’re feeling. If we don’t know we feeling something, then the way I explain it to kids, often, is it’s a bit like you’ve got no data, and your friends are sending you WhatsApp messages, but they’re not being delivered. So, if we not aware of what emotions we feeling, then it’s very difficult to process and then get the messages, or, what those emotions are actually trying to tell us. Because emotions are data. They’re information. And the idea that we can leave them at the door when we go into a meeting is not true. We can’t even prioritize, if we have three things on our to-do list, which one’s most important without that weighing up process is an emotional experience.
So, it’s just not a true idea to say you can leave emotions at the door. So the first step is what we actually call emotional literacy, which is the ability to recognize and know what we’re feeling. Which, we can start with the once a day or three times a day just getting an emotion list and beginning to notice. “What am I actually feeling?” People often disregard it, because it seems so insignificant, but it’s huge.
Lisa Linfield: 10:54 So, you mentioned kids and the importance of educating kids to recognize these emotions. For those of us that are parents, how do we better help our children build these EQ skills? I’ve got twin six-year-olds and a 10-year-old. How would I help them learn and understand how to build better EQ skills?
Candice Dick: 11:16 Very frustratingly, the first way they learn it is through modeling.
Lisa Linfield: 11:22 Very frustratingly.
Candice Dick: 11:25 So, unfortunately, if we’re going to do it well, the first thing we got to do is do it for ourselves. I actually created a product in South Africa called … Well, it’s been rebranded Feeling Bodies. It was called the Sinking Feeling. And parents, their magnets, and they would put them 20 little bodies with different feelings on the fridge, and daily, just in the mornings … Some families put a photo above with the children and the adults can then put what they’re feeling.
Lisa Linfield: 11:51 That’s brilliant.
Candice Dick: 11:53 Yeah. So, the woman who engaged in this, her husband didn’t feel comfortable, really, doing it, so she began, and the kids would do it before they headed off to school. And it took her a week or two, and next thing her husband was doing it, even before the others got up. He actually came to her, and he said, you know, “There was no room for feelings when we were growing up. There was no space to acknowledge and allow feelings.” And so we can’t ask our children to do what we can’t do ourselves. So, it’s so important that we are modeling that.
So, that checking process can be … And, I mean, there are lots of ways to do it. You can cut up magazines, with your kids, with different facial expressions. Some people use colors as a way to describe what they’re feeling as a chicken. But to actually start that process. But we have to own it as well. “I’m a little anxious, I’ve got a big meeting today.” Because we do tend to be a little bit attached, as society, or maybe a lot to happy. We want to be happy and positive and keep smiling.
So, even teaching six-year-olds, we’ll notice sometimes it takes them over six months to acknowledge they feel anything except happy, and that is only done through us, the educators, making a point of finding room to acknowledge our disappointment, our hurt, our anger, so that they can see that’s okay, and it doesn’t have to look like bad behavior. You can feel things without expressing unacceptable emotions. So, it’s a key thing, is that modeling.
Another thing you can do with kids that’s very powerful is what we call dot joining. So, it’s actually reflecting with them, “Do you notice when you feel frustrated you snap at your sister?” It’s joining those things. When you’re really hungry, or you forgot to eat your lunch, there’s a meltdown at home in the afternoon. And you start to help them actually make the connections between consequences and choices. A key thing is to begin to recognize that there is space to … All emotions are valid. A behavior may be unacceptable, that has been seen to be the emotion. We often say people are angry because they’re aggressive. But aggression isn’t the emotion. That’s a behavior. But to allow space for the different feelings in the home means we can start to get the information and messages those emotions are sending us.
Lisa Linfield: 14:08 I’ve just thought of a new one with my kids, literally a couple of days ago, where we say prayers at night, and it’s been a fantastic way to get to know what’s on their minds. And we started, actually, a few days ago, where we got one of the children to pray for everybody else. And it’s been fascinating as to how do they interpret it? We’ve had a faulty alarm, and so we’ve had two nights of not much sleep. So, I asked my little girl, Emma, one of the twins, I said, “Could you please pray for Mama, because she hasn’t had much sleep, so she’s a little bit grumpy at the moment.”
Her way of interpreting that was just fantastic. It was just so profound, that she got the fact that if you don’t have much sleep, you can be a little bit grumpy, and it was a good exercise. But, there’s often, as you said, that I know, for example, that my eldest, if she has had a bad day with her friends at school she comes back and takes it out on the twins. Because, she’s oldest, so she can be the one to make someone be left out. It’s not just her. Whilst I’ve connected with dots, I don’t think I’ve ever connected the dots with her.
Candice Dick: 15:11 There’s so much power in that, because, actually, so much of … Especially teachers and that, is assume that the kids know the dots, and because it seems so obvious to us. So, we’ll often just speak into the problem at the end, and not help them join the different dots. And a big part of that is it actually helps our kids begin to see they have wisdom in them.
Lisa Linfield: 15:30 Yeah. We are very blessed. Our girls go to what’s a thinking-accredited school, which is basically an accreditation to teach EQ skills to kids. And what has been very helpful for us as parents is having a common language with the school to reinforce those dots, to reinforce what they call the habits of mind that are required in order to function correctly. So, it does definitely help to have a common language that is being reinforced in the school.
Candice Dick: 15:57 So big, so big to have that common language. And that’s really what makes such a difference, otherwise one person’s trying to explain something, and someone else has, yeah, that ability and how amazing to have a school that’s doing that work.
Lisa Linfield: 16:09 I remember one great incident. We have a very long passage, and I happened to come around the corner at the exact moment my eldest shoved her hand out and pushed one of the twins down. And I turned to her and I said, “Jess, why did you do that?” And she looked at me and she said, “I couldn’t manage my impulsivity.” She was about seven years old, and the twin was three years old, and this tiny little thing came up with, “I just couldn’t manage my impulsivity.” I mean, if you’re walking past and there’s a baby child there, of course you just lean out your hand and smash it downwards. I said, “Well, next time [inaudible 00:16:46] manage that impulsivity.”
Candice Dick: 16:48 I just have to add to that, it’s incredible how young kids can pick this up. I mean, they’re learning anything, anyway, so as soon as we adults all get it, they can get that, that there’s something that you can make a choice around, but I haven’t been able to yet.
Lisa Linfield: 17:03 No, completely. I mean, they teach, at the school that Jess is at, they teach habits of mind from three years old. So, from grade 000. So, we have a vocab which is on persistence, you know, don’t give up, you need to persist. Take responsible risks. There are 12 of these habits of mind. Manage your impulsivity. Strive for accuracy. All of this stuff. So, we’re all as parents and as children taught it from the age of three, that these are the things, and then it’s linked throughout the curriculum, and it’s linked throughout by achievements, and it’s linked throughout by habits, which it does show you, you can teach EQ from three years old. It’s just, again, that vocab, and at each stage that they grow, they build the capacity to understand each habit of mind in more detail, in more relevance to them, I suppose.
Candice Dick: 17:52 The beautiful thing is, I often, say, whether or not you’re doing it intentionally or consciously, we are all learning EQ from the moment we born till the moment we die. The power is when we bring it into the conscious mind, and we’re learning intentionally. Because-
Lisa Linfield: 18:07 It’s hard as parents, because we were all brought up with the view that you’ll all have to be perfect, you know? So, it’s very hard for me to say, “I’m sorry I shouted at you, I didn’t manage my impulsivity. I should have managed my impulsivity better.” It’s very hard, because you think as a parent you’re supposed to have it sorted. I think it’s one of the humbling things of parenthood, is you realize how unsorted you are in managing your own impulsivity every now and then.
Candice Dick: 18:33 100%, and that’s huge, because the fact that you can even acknowledge how hard that is shows your willingness to be vulnerable. I mean [inaudible 00:18:42] work’s very popular nowadays, with a lot of around understanding that vulnerability, we need it, and we have tried to avoid it, and it doesn’t serve us. It represses our happiness as well as our other emotions, and in that, we all are disserved. But it does mean, as you say, modeling that, “Okay, Mom didn’t do her best today,” and being able to come back on that. But the power, we hope, is that we will have kids who can then own their own errors and mistakes, which makes us, actually, so much stronger as people.
Lisa Linfield: 19:12 Yeah. It does. So, our subconscious plays a huge role in the way we behave. How do we become more conscious when these deeply-held beliefs are so subconscious? I mean, the whole, it’s very nature is that it’s not conscious.
Candice Dick: 19:31 I know, and the numbers that are thrown around are that 95% of the time we’re acting out of that subconscious, unconscious mind. One of the things we refer to as pattern recognition is why there’s [inaudible 00:19:43] in EQ, and that’s that ability to recognize certain patterns. And then we can look to the costs and benefits of the patterns, and see if they’re serving us. A key thing is that, I love the example that Jonathan Haidt uses, which is that our heart is like an elephant and our head is like the rider. And the rider’s in charge, as long as the elephant’s calm and willing. And I mean, if you’ve ridden horses or been involved in any animal training, you get a sense of you’re in charge, sort of, unless there’s a snake or something’s come up, an animal won’t move.
That’s what the elephant, in some way, I like to believe, subconscious beliefs. So, unconscious beliefs are a thought with high emotion attached to it. And we can gain that from the moment we experience, or we can have been raised before we even, we’re consciously thinking with those beliefs, by watching people around us. And so a key way, I find, that’s powerful to begin to notice what they are, is where your triggers, or your stressors are. So, as soon as we are reactive, and a big thing I used to use personally, for myself, was my tone of voice. It would give away quite quickly when I was invested in a point of view, which means there was an unconscious belief playing out in the situation.
As soon as we’re attached, or we’re reactive, or we notice our reactions are out-of-proportion to what’s going on in front of us, although we might not think that in the moment, it can be very powerful to discover, in reflection, we know that there’s a belief somewhere there driving that behavior. As soon as we can recognize that, we can then have a go at looking at what it is. And, I mean, there are a number of processes. I use something called The Work of Byron Katie, I’ve spent time in Germany training in that, and it’s a beautiful way where we use our judgments to discover what beliefs we attach to what’s actually going on under the surface, that’s driving our thinking and behavior.
You can also just journal, like a brain dump. You literally … All of these require time and effort. You can use prayer or meditation or whatever to go, “There’s something going on in that area of my life, to help me see what that belief is.” And over time it may emerge. If you’re being intentional about setting aside time and really discovering that, then it becomes very powerful to see them emerge.
As an example, I got married about a year and a half ago. Nothing like a marriage to bring up some beliefs. And I remember once or twice, in situations, actually recognizing. I was like, “I don’t even know if I believe what I’m saying. I sound like my mother.” In our first seven years of life, we are absorbing what’s going on around us as though it is happening to us and we are recording it. It’s the reason why you can watch a five-year-old or a six-year-old speak to its sibling, or another child, as though they’re you, “Mommy says,” and they can act it out. They have absorbed it like a sponge.
Those are also why, when we parent, we say we’re never going to be like our parents, and suddenly you notice something happening, and out of your mouth pops your mother or your father. And, actually, those are examples of there’s some underlying belief. So, you can sit down just set a timer for 10 minutes and just write everything you think, and those are literally thoughts that can come up. I know an example, it’s a man, it’s one of the other EQ specialists, but he talked about his huge resistance to his daughter chewing bubblegum, and how, over time, his wife kept saying to him, “What is the big deal?” And when he took the time to sit down and reflect on it, he realized his grandmother had been very anti, and he had just taken on this belief without understanding or actually intentionally, for himself, choosing that belief.
I think that’s so true for so many of our beliefs. So, it’s very powerful. You can also do things like EFT, but just reflecting on, I find, any stressful triggers, or when you notice you’re really, reactive, immediately there’s something lying, a perspective or belief, underneath, that’s driving you. And as soon as you can get it, you can go, “What is the cost? What is the benefit? Do I really believe in this, actually? Is it the big deal I think it is? Is the consequence I think’s going to happen truly, actually going to … Is it true, really?”
Lisa Linfield: 24:00 I remember with my team, we used to do Five Whys. Why do you think this? Why do you think that? Well, why do you think that? And only once you go deeper do you actually work out what it is that’s actually causing your opinion to form. The first Why is too superficial, as is the second Why. It’s only once you get to the third or the fourth or the fifth, the continuous questioning of yourself, that you can actually work out what’s the underlying root of this? How do you get to it?
Candice Dick: 24:26 It’s beautiful. And that’s also … The work of Byron Katie is freely available on the website, and she has a whole worksheet that is like, “What do you think people should do? What do you need? What do you want?” And then you’re asked a question, “Is it true?” And there’s not a wrong or right answer. That’s really just recognizing how invested you are in that thought, and do you absolutely know it’s true? And then we look at how do we react, and what happens, when you believe that thought? Is it actually adding value when you want to kill your coworker or your child or your spouse? And how do you react? How do you treat them? How do you treat yourself? And then you go, “Who would you be without that thought?” And suddenly a whole new world opens up, because, really, beliefs are compounded thoughts. They’re just thoughts with attachment.
Lisa Linfield: 25:10 So, one of the challenges that we have often in life is that high level of stress, and that high level of stress often causes our fuses to be shorter than they would normally be, and react quicker. How do we manage this stress better?
Candice Dick: 25:26 I have a client who always says, “Please just give me the [inaudible 00:25:30] for this.” Unfortunately, there is no immediate solution. Awareness is huge, as you said. We talk about our fuse, and more and more people are becoming aware of the flight, fight, freeze response, which some people call an emotional hijack. I mean, it takes six seconds to happen. Somebody we work with, Doctor [Danziger 00:25:46], calls it “flipping the lid”. But, really, that’s often an accumulation of stress, and then, as you said, the fuse is shortened so you go.
That’s, again, a process of awareness. I often say emotions happen on a spectrum, and so, it’s very powerful in just building the awareness, you begin to recognize you’re heading to that stressful place earlier. So that becomes much more manageable, when I’m in a stage of high irritation, as opposed to when I am now trying to manage the situation, I’m enraged. Again, emotional awareness is huge.
But, I think, so often in our lives today, we actually are juggling too much. There is too much on our plate. And it’s also to recognize what our priorities are, and are we actually investing in what matters to us? Because if we can do that and get really present, and intentional in the different areas of our life, that can reduce the stress. But, often, the case is, “I’m stressed because I’m not being the mother I want to be in the time I have with my kids,” and then, “My kids are sick,” or, “There’s something going on, and there’s meetings, and I’m trying to manage so much more.” It’s very hard to actually be present. We’re living in our heads, which also makes things so stressful because we are literally being controlled by our thinking, and not what’s actually happening in front of us.
We aren’t present. It’s like our body’s in the meeting. 5% of who we are is there, but the rest is somewhere else. Presence is a mindfulness, and presence is a powerful way to help, but I think it’s a bigger thing for us, especially as women, is to recognize what are the key priorities in my life? What, in 10 years time, if I look back, do I want to have invested energy and effort in? And then, if we get clear on that, it becomes easier to manage what is on our plates, than it is when we’re just doing things, going through the motions, thinking we have to be, as you said, perfect Mom, perfect businesswoman, superwoman, and actually the truth is our heart’s not in all of it.
Then, you can start drawing boundaries if you’re clear on that. And that’s not a very clear answer, but it’s a huge question, because I think the management of stress, in its ultimate, has to be a long-term, holistic approach, because we go on holiday in December for the summer, for a month, and then we come back and we handle things better for three weeks, and then we back on the same treadmill.
Lisa Linfield: 28:05 Yeah. It’s terrible how short that holiday lasts.
Candice Dick: 28:09 The rejuvenation. [crosstalk 00:28:11] again.
Lisa Linfield: 28:13 Absolutely. We have all these great intentions that this state of calm is going to last forever, and then, within a very short while, it’s gone and that holiday is long-forgotten.
Candice Dick: 28:23 And, actually, maybe this are the best thing to offer to people, as a quick-fix for stress, is actually exercise. Which isn’t the answer people want, either, but literally, emotions are chemicals in our bodies. The adrenaline, the fight-flight response literally draws away blood from our digestive system, our prefrontal cortex which is our main CEO of our brain, away from reproductive parts of our body, and sends blood into the big muscles, so we can fight and run.
When we don’t exercise, that just continues to build up. As soon as we exercise, that generally is shown to release and calm the whole system, because you are now doing what that was intended, which is in some way fighting or flighting, even if it’s kickboxing or running. And I know Sheryl Sandberg talks about bumping into some other CEO in Central Park, when they were two runners on some terrible day, but both of them said, “I do this for my employees, because I’m a better human being.” And if we can weigh that, and really absorb that as a truth in our hearts, that when we exercise we serve ourselves and our kids and our work-life and our partners, and everyone around us, that is one of the most powerful ways to process stress.
Lisa Linfield: 29:36 I also used to, a very long time ago when I used to be a physio, one of the things that I noticed amongst my clients were that people who grew up as sporty children and then stopped exercising used to suffer the effects of stress much greater, because their bodies had found an easy way to metabolize all those stress hormones, by exercising. The people who weren’t sporty had learnt coping mechanisms, such as going to sit under the tree and read a book, spend time with people, et cetera.
And if you go back to those stress-management techniques you learnt as a child, or you naturally were attracted to as a child, it often really helps you to get back … For many people, the mindfulness and being calm works temporarily, but if they were sporty people, if they just get up and go and exercise, it will happen much quicker, better, because that’s what their body was trained to do at a very early age, is how do you deal with stress. And it’s huge.
Candice Dick: 30:37 [crosstalk 00:30:37]
Lisa Linfield: 30:37 There are so many of us that were sporty as kids, and then don’t do it as much as adults, and, you know, our bodies physically can’t get rid of those stress hormones as easily. I mean, it was just a hypothesis, but it was definitely an observation that I had of my patients.
Candice Dick: 30:51 How amazing. I love that.
Lisa Linfield: 30:53 So, if we look at all of us as good overachievers, trying to set out and be all things to all people, there’s so many times in our life that we set goals, especially in January, February, March, you know, with the New Year and things like that. From an EQ perspective, why is it that some are able to achieve those goals that they set themselves and for some of us, by March, we are no longer exercising, those priorities that were very clear on our summer holidays have gone, and we just seem to be trying to survive as the stream takes us. How could we better set ourselves up to have a better chance at success with the goals that we set ourselves?
Candice Dick: 31:36 I think a key thing that I teach a lot of is we set too big a goals, and actually don’t break them into tiny, tiny steps. I just find the smaller the goal, the easier it is to achieve, and the easier it is to achieve, the easier it is to gain the momentum and a sense of accomplishment that helps to keep going.
So, a key thing I always emphasize is, as opposed to trying, “Okay, we’re going to exercise [inaudible 00:32:03] three days a week,” you set up to do it once a week for 20 minutes or something, as your starting point. I think another key thing is to set up the environment to support you, so, know that it’s in your schedule already, literally scheduled in. Or, if you’re good in, and enjoy company, making sure you’ve got a friend who’s doing it with you. So, our environment impacts us more than we recognize.
So if we can set up small ways that that can support us, that can help a lot. “I want to start meditating,” or, “have prayerful time,” and then to actually have a space that’s already set up, and you’ve got an egg timer there, or your phone’s already got a timer set on it. Those tiny things actually make a huge difference.
There was a research study that showed … They asked a whole group of students who was willing to donate food, or something, to a cause. And now I’m going to make up the statistics, but the story will come home. Let’s say half said they were willing, and half said they weren’t. So, they said, “Great,” and they told the half who were willing, “Just drop the food here,” and the half that were unwilling, they sent a letter where they said, “We looked at your schedule, and you’re free between here and here. When you go past the shop here, if you are willing to get something, just grab a tin of baked beans or whatever your contribution’s going to be,” but they told them what it was, “and then you can drop it off when you walk past this lesson and that lesson.”
And actually, when they played it up, the people who said they weren’t willing to donate, but got clear instructions about where, how, when, actually donated way more than others who had said they were willing, but were not given a plan. So, I think often we have an intention, and we put out our lofty idea, but we don’t break it into, “Where’s it going to fit into my life? How? What can I set up so that I can make that happen? That the follow-through becomes easier?”
So, for me, a key thing is the small steps that mean we don’t have to engage our heads a lot around it, to follow through in that goal, because it comes down to the key things. Changing habits isn’t easy. Our brain is set up. It’s like the muddy road that’s been driven on a lot. There are ruts, and our brain is used to going to that place.
The way I describe it is, our head knows things. We should eat healthy, we should exercise. Those ideas we have, of knowledge that shows that is beneficial to us, but what happens is that our heart isn’t on board. So, my form of exercise is dance. I’m a ballet, ballroom, bellydancing, any kind of dance, I’m up for it. I find when I’m signed up for lessons for that, it’s not hard to get there. I’ll turn down other things. It’s a joy.
When I go to the gym, every excuse in the world doesn’t happen, because my heart, my elephant, isn’t on board, and the difference is one where I get to walk up to my goal on an elephant, lots of energy, powerful, it can resist it. The other one, I’m trying to push the elephant there, and I’m just not strong enough. And that’s how I like to describe our goal-setting, is if we can get our head and our heart on board, it’s much easier to move. And if our elephant’s going to go there and it’s not that keen, if we make the steps very small and manageable, the elephant begins to go there. Our heart begins to come on board, and once it sees and experiences those small victories, it gets more excited, and so it gets easier and easier. Does that make sense?
Lisa Linfield: 35:25 Very much so. I love the picture in my head of trying to push my elephant to gym. That’s a big one for me. Trying to get that elephant to gym is quite a challenge. I always say you need an accountability partner that changes the conversation in your head, that you don’t want to let them down. But, the last thing I wanted to ask you is, life happens, and to all of us, it happens. The key challenge is building that resilience, you know? The resilience to pick yourself up and keep going, and move through all of those emotions that are kind of sabotaging you at the time. Is there a way to build resilience without going through tough times, or do we have to have the tough times in order to build the resilience we need?
Candice Dick: 36:10 I believe we need to have tough times, although, that doesn’t guarantee we’re going to build resilience. A big part of resilience is what we call a skill set called learned optimism, which is the ability to recognize that situations are temporary, that we have power over them, and that options exist. Alternatives actually are open to us. But, I think, the reality is if you have life really easy, and you don’t experience it, a bit like you spoke about how you process stress as the kid, is if we deal with age-appropriate struggles, if we experience hardship and we overcome it, we develop our belief in ourself.
Otherwise, it’s just a knowledge. Like, “I’m resilient.” But actually, if we bounce back from situations and, again, I’m saying age-appropriate because there can be very serious consequences to facing traumas and difficulties that are beyond age-appropriate. I mean, people still bounce back from them, but if our children experience the struggles and realities of being dropped from the team, of friendship struggles, of failing a test, of not getting their way, whatever it is, all those things actually build their muscles. Especially if we can validate them in the process of, “Hard things happen, and I can overcome them.”
So, I believe the more we can recognize struggle as a part of life … We often say we can’t guarantee our kids’ happiness. We can guarantee that life will be hard at times. And so, the better they’re equipped for that as opposed to it being a whiplash, rather just a reality, and how do I face it? How do I problem-solve? Where am I going in this situation? And what are some of the many options available to me?
I mean, in South Africa we deal with tragic amounts of suicides of kids who don’t pass matric. That, to me, they dealt with a lot of hardship, but they haven’t been taught to see that there are alternative options. That there are other ways to deal with something. There is the option to repeat, and those kind of things. So, it’s important, in a struggle, to also be, in some way, almost mentor. To be able to begin to learn and identify options and alternatives, and ways to overcome and seek out alternative routes to get where we need to go. I don’t know, is that [crosstalk 00:38:25]
Lisa Linfield: 38:24 No, that definitely gives a great framework to think about it. So, can I just thank you so much for joining us? It’s really been hugely insightful, and I’ve learned a lot. For those people who want to learn more about this, how do they get hold of you?
Candice Dick: 38:40 So, the best thing is to actually visit EQEvolution.com, and either you can explore there some tools, which are the different magnets that you can literally buy, some games that develop EQ, or there’s even an audio download about understanding anger, or you can seek out some of the South African experts who generally work globally as well, over Skype, and that. You can get EQ mentoring. You can find a local event, if there’s something happening. You can listen to the EQ Evolution podcast. I do a weekly share, or one of the other experts, we have a chat around different topics around growing EQ.
So, those are a few ways. If you’re in companies and you want to bring us in this, also, see who you with or give me a ring or an email. We can chat through what you’re looking for and who would best your culture, or what you’re looking for.
Lisa Linfield: 39:30 That’s great. Thank you so much, Candice, I really appreciate it.
Candice Dick: 39:34 Fantastic. Thanks, Lisa.
Lisa Linfield: 39:35 That was Candice Dick, on Understanding Our EQ. For those of you who’d like to learn more about how to manage your money and how to make more money, please go to our website, WorkingWomensWealth.com. There are a number of different teachings that you can download and tick-box exercises that you can do to make sure your finances are on track for you to live your best life possible. I’m Lisa Linfield, and this is Working Women’s Wealth.