Episode 114: Let’s Get … Emotional?

Do you ever wish you had better control of your emotions? In this episode Jimmy shares seven factors of emotionally strong people and how you can become one.

Episode Keys

  • Why true growth as a person relies on her ability to become emotionally strong.
  • How to exercise your emotions to gain strength and control of yourself.
  • Who you are as a person depends on your emotional strength and intelligence!
  • Why you must focus on the areas of life that you can control to become the person you wish to be.
  • When to regain control of your emotions to save a relationship.

Podcast Transcription

Good morning! This is Jimmy Williams. Today I want to share something with you that I hope you will find a little bit concerning, but it’s going to be talking about our emotional intelligence today. I want to help you reach your potential in your emotional state of being. Now, before we get started, let me just say what a beautiful day it is outside. If you’re like me, you just really love to see that sun shining early in the morning. You’ll get up about 5:00, 5:30, as soon as you see that sun peaking up over the east side of that sky, whew, man, that is powerful stuff. Talking about an emotional moment, man, that just builds into me the excitement for the day, the potential I have today to do good in the world. The potential I have to realize what are the outcomes I can control that’ll help make my life bigger, better and bolder for me.

This Monday morning is not unlike most Monday mornings for me. My life has become to the point that it has been predictable chaos at times. So with all the disruption we’ve had, it has been a roller coaster it seems like for the last year. So I made a point a few weeks ago that I was not going to allow myself to be hindered any longer from all of the things in the life of this world I can’t control. I’ve only started focusing on just those things that I know I can make changes to that will help my life be what I wish. Isn’t that why we’re on this planet? To live the life we desire, or to use a good tagline, live a life by design? The real importance of today’s episode is that I hope each of you will take a few moments and really listen to the seven factors of emotional intelligence to help you reach your full potential in this area of life.

Many of us seek out bigger muscles in our arms or legs. We run, we become a better athlete in the physicality, but are we becoming the Arnold Schwarzenegger of our emotions? The strong person we need to be to take charge of our mindset and emotions during times that are not the best for us? So I want to share a few things about emotional intelligence that really has come out in my mind from a book I read many years ago, and I’ve been implementing these seven factors over the last several months. In particular, once we realized in the summer of last year that, “Hey, this may change my life a little bit, right?” They shut down airplanes, they shut down our favorite restaurants. They shut down our entertainment facilities, now I say they, so the world is shut down around us.

And the true test of a person’s strength is their emotional intelligence. And I really had mine tested last year. It’s much easier to see the results when working the physical body, weightlifting, running, yoga, et cetera. But how does one strengthen his emotional intelligence? Before you can reach your true potential in life – and I do sincerely mean this – before you can reach your potential in life and sustain it for a lifetime, you must master emotional intelligence. The definition of this type of intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. I firmly and sincerely believe that emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

So to help us understand and grow an emotional potential, I will share now these seven factors of emotionally strong individuals. When you hear one of these factors that may apply to you, jot it down, make a note, leave a voice memo on your phone, whatever it takes. But in some way I want you to be able to recall it so you can come back to it during your weekly or daily planning. Place that factor as a goal that you wish to achieve by working on the specific area of your emotions. It is only through the testing and focusing on a particular muscle that you make it stronger. It simply works. If I want to work on my arms and have bigger biceps and triceps, I must lift weights that challenge those muscles. And then I must do something. So to really have muscle growth on a physical basis, it applies the same emotionally. I must work hard to strain that muscle, and then rest. You see, it’s in the resting part of the muscle’s phase that it truly grows. The fibers of the muscle are torn down during the workout and grow back during the rest. The same is true with our emotional strength and potential.

So bear with me and let’s get started. This is not one of those where an emotion is something that is strictly, if you will, lightweight. So for example, it’s not this… [song playing]. Now granted, Whitney Houston, I give credit to for that song, was a great singer, a great entertainer. Man, what a range she could bring out in her voice. But at the end of the day, I’m talking about a deeper emotion than that of just a loved one. I’m talking about that emotion that is required not just in day-to-day activities, but when we are pushed beyond our current limits of understanding, our current limits of compassion. This is an area that I believe I need to work on, and I’m sure several of us do.

So let’s take factor one: emotionally strong people are proactive in dealing with their emotions. Now, when you’re proactive with something, that means you intentionally want to take charge of the emotions. This comes to play in a lot of situations where people don’t want to be the victim. Perhaps it’s something that I really have a disdain for right now, and it’s in our public education terribly, it’s in our society in a big way, and that is bullying.

Recently I went to Norman, Oklahoma, and I was at a store entrance with my wife. And there had been two people standing there with a sign that said, “Stand for the silent.” And it caught my attention because our daughter had written a book, Stand for the Silent. And it’s sold on Amazon, and that’s a shameless plug. But my point here, I walked up to these two people and I asked them, I said, “What are you raising funds for?” And they began to explain this nonprofit that was founded because of an 11-year-old boy that took his life due to bullying. So no one wants to be the victim. We want to be proactive in dealing with our emotions, and you can do things to influence your own emotions. Maybe you can’t control them completely, but you can change them through your actions and eventually become greater in control and greater in control. You know, all of us are hit in the gut by all unwanted surprise. Let’s just say it, we’re blindsided by negative relationships. Perhaps even knocked down and the wind blown out of us by something we didn’t even see coming. That happens. It’s called life. Nobody is immune to it. But hoping, wishing, denying, crying, cussing, fussing, moaning, blaming, and waiting only keep us in this pit. It’s a pit we can’t get out of unless we take proactive stands in dealing with these emotions. You see, the faster we can recover from the shock of whatever emotion has been invoked in us, process what happened, and move towards action, then the quicker our recovery will be, and the more emotionally strong we will become.

The thing I love about this phase of becoming emotionally strong and intelligent is that you always have the choice. You are the one in control of your emotions. You have the ability to not just move through it, but overcome it if you so desire. You either work continually on mastering your emotions, or we will be mastered by them. So emotionally strong people are proactive in dealing with their emotions.

Factor number two: emotionally strong people do not waste time feeling sorry for themselves. All right, now listen, I’ve got to be honest here. There were times in my life playing sports, there were times in my life academically, there were times in my life from a career perspective that I really had given what I thought was 110% to attain whatever the objective was. Peer recognition, trophy on the mantle, name written in the record book, whatever. And I did not prevail during those times and other people took my place. Now, I will tell you, I have mentioned many times on this podcast, I was not the controlling factor of my emotions as an athlete when I was younger.

I never took it out on anyone but me. Oh man, I could throw that glove down in the dugout. I could kick dirt, throw my batting helmet down. I could tell the crowd without saying a word where my mindset was. It was definitely not on the wonderful game of baseball. As good as I was as an athlete I always would strive for perfection and never, and I do mean never, did I attain it. I look back at some of the greatest baseball players in history and realize none of them bat 1,000. You look at some of the greatest basketball players in the world. None of them made every shot placed on the goal. It is just never going to be that we’re perfect in every way of life.

But we don’t waste time simply feeling sorry for ourselves. There was a PGA pro-golfer named Richard Lee and he had adversity on the golf course as many of us do. Now, I used to play with a gentleman, when I play golf, who would not just talk to the ball, but he would talk to himself in a derogatory and profane way. It was actually quite comical and kept me laughing for most of the round. But when he would make a bad shot, he would use his name and really deride himself because of the poor shot. Well, Richard Lee had a similar situation on the golf course. And he said early in his career his mother-in-law could see how, when he had hit a bad shot, he would get sincerely disappointed. And then the negative emotions that crept up in his mind and took over his entire emotions would start to fill it and hurt his entire round of golf.

One day his mother-in-law said, “Richard, you will always have days when you make bad shots. Every golfer does. As you walk toward your ball, you have a decision to make. Will I dread seeing the line of the ball and begin filling my mind with negative thoughts and my body with negative emotions? Or will I welcome the ball and be glad I am a golfer and realize that I have an opportunity to make a great recovery shot? If you always welcome the ball, regardless of your lie, you will more often make good recovery shots.” Boy, his mother-in-law was not a trained psychologist, but didn’t she hit the nail on the head?

What’s the worst thing that could happen if we approach situations in life, where we had situation that didn’t turn out real positive and we had an opportunity to improve it? Wouldn’t it be better for our mindset to be, “Okay, that one’s out of the way, now let’s go forward and do something good.” That type of thinking and emotional control would allow you not to waste valuable energy and time on feeling sorry for ourselves.

Factor number three: emotionally strong people do not allow others to control their relationships. This is critical. I have never been involved in any sort of group that said, “If I am a member of this group, then I’m must dislike or not associate with someone of that group.” I don’t understand why we can have differences of opinion that allow us to build walls of separation.

I give you a case in the story that I recently had a discussion on a political nature. A friend of mine brought up something that of course I disagreed with and he was wrong. No, I’m just teasing. But the point is, is he brought up something that was earnestly a concern of his, that he thought might help our country, that would help our area, that would help our state if people would only think the way of his method. And I quickly said, “You know, I think that is a valid opinion. It’s just not what is in the best interest of the country. But look, let’s all state what our opinion is. Then let’s look for and find where we have common ground.”

It’s one thing to take a stand and hopefully educate those around you as to why your approach or your stand is appropriate. Why the benefits far outweigh the cost, and what would be the future outcomes on a positive basis should they take your position and proceed in the future? But if in fact your position does not get heated by the masses. If in fact, you do not get your point across in an effective manner that lots of people agree with you and summarily dismiss your idea, it is only that opinion they are dismissing. They are not dismissing you as a person. Too often relationships are complicated and can be difficult to navigate. I clearly understand that, particularly in this day and age.

But one of the ways that I can keep proper control of my life and not allow others to take that control is to understand that I wear many different hats in my life. I’m a husband, a father, a friend, an entrepreneur, a leader. The hat I have on determines the way I interact in that specific relationship. I’m continually making relationship choices throughout the day based on the hat I’m wearing. So do not allow others to control your relationships if you wish to be an emotionally strong person.

Now, factor four is one where we need to spend just a few minutes, because this is where you can control you. Emotionally strong people do not waste energy on things they cannot control. You know, you must purposefully take responsibility in life for your actions, your thoughts, whatever you may have control and do. So what are some of these things that you can control instead of wasting energy on those things you can’t? Well, first I can control my attitude. I am a big believer on the right attitude will help control and take you to the highest altitude of life. You’ve heard this many times on many episodes of how the attitude of the person can help set the tone for the entire organization.

The second item that we can control is time. Now I hear what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Well, wait a minute, Jimmy. You’ve told us before on an episode that we all have 24 hours, how can I take control of time?” Well, you can take control of where you spend your time. A friend of mine reads, and I’m not exaggerating, 100 books a year. He’s reading almost two books a week and I’m not talking thin little magazines. I’m talking about some serious books, history, biology, biography. He is studying business. He’s learning to write and speak better. He’s reading some big, big books.

I asked him, “How is it that you can read 100 books a year and the average U.S. citizen reads two books a year?” He said, “It’s all in a special matter of how he utilizes his time.” Well, now he had me really thinking, what was his special gift that he had to allow him to read 100 books? I asked myself, “I bet it was the speed reading courses that were offered in the ’70s and ’80s.” Nope, that wasn’t it. Evelyn Wood was not his inspiration. He said, “It’s simply this. I don’t fill my mind with the clutter of mindless entertainment by watching the Boob Tube three to four hours each night. Instead, I prefer to read, listen to great music or simply relax and meditate my mind.” Now, to me that was awesome in terms of controlling his time.

The other is controlling your priorities. What is most important to you? For the previous example my friend said, “It’s more important for him to feed his mind instead of simply entertain it.” The priorities we have each day are under our control. We can set what is most important to us, or we can allow those that have priorities to set them on us. It is clearly up to each of us.

The next item we can control in life is passion. Where do you place those things that make you really excited, that give you passion in life, passion to provide a product perhaps the public needs that changes the world? Steve jobs had a tremendous passion. They thought that he was silly when he came back for his second tenure at Apple, when he simply said, “We have far too many products, we will now limit ourselves to four.” And they looked at him and they said, “Man, are you crazy? We’ll go bankrupt in less than six months.” He said, “I promise you, these four products will drive the market and be number one in our competitive state.” It didn’t take long. Steve Jobs was proven correct. His passion for making life simple and elegant for those of us that wish to have iPhones, iPods, iPads, whatever, he knew how to make them simple and then he turned it into something everyone must have, not a luxury, but a necessity.

Then the last thing you can control is your potential. If you wish to control your potential, you must feed it. You must rest it. You must pay attention to those opportunities that present themselves. Do not look at life and think it owes you anything. Unlike many that have a philosophy in life that I am old and entitled to something great in life, I can assure you, you are not. We are only entitled for that which we work, which we strive, and which we have earned, including the respect of our fellow man.

And one of the things I mentioned last week is that I give respect to those around me that I first meet. And I hope to earn that respect through my conversation and interaction. You see, it’s not just a simple task of us being born in the greatest country on the earth. It is not the simple fact that we were born in a certain region of that country. It is a matter of fact that we are able and capable to create and realize our potential through our work and dedication. Not that we’re entitled, but that we have a capability to succeed. So factor four, emotionally strong people do not waste energy on things they cannot control.

And factor number five, emotionally strong people do not keep making the same mistakes. Oh my goodness, this is terrible. Isn’t this the same thing as where they say, “If I just keep doing the same thing and expect a different output, it’s insanity.” I got to tell you, that’s funny too, because I have known people that continue to not gain the understanding of why the world is treating them the way that it is. And they’ve done nothing different in their life, their diet, their exercise, their emotional support. They’ve done nothing to grow as a person and they wonder why the world is passing them by.

It’s crazy to think though that we can continue a way of doing the old ways of business and not reaching our true potential. It’s a different rule out there that used to say in business, “When it’s over, it’s over.” But now there’s a different rule and it is, “It’s not over until I’ve learned from it.” I like that, “It’s not over until I learned from it.” The quicker I learn, the less time it takes and the quicker I can get to my potential.

So factor number six, emotionally strong people do not allow the highs or lows to control their life. Have you ever been around some person that basically is cloud nine one day and down in the ditches the next? You don’t know which one’s going to show up at the office or which one of these people are you going to see at the ball game. You don’t even know when invited to a party, if they’re hosting it, you don’t know which one’s going to show up and greet you at the door.

But emotionally strong people find balance in life. You see, we all have a 24-hour period and we have control ability of our emotions. And by doing that, we can then take the peaks and valleys of our emotions out of play. We can do something better now than we did an hour ago if we simply convince our mind that we are in control of our thoughts, our words, our deeds. But you see, action is the key to this. Whether you’re dealing with highs or lows, taking action helps you get back on track and regain control of your emotions. And that my friend is how you stay emotionally strong.

The seventh and last factor is emotionally strong people understand, appreciate and grow through their struggles. No, I didn’t say their good times, through their struggles. You see, you won’t grow as a person until you can have a struggle that you have appreciated. Many people resist change. I got to tell you, I know some people right now that they would not change if you showed it to them in black and white how they can make a million dollars more if they’d simply change something in their life. These people want immediate results, now, of course. They don’t want to wait and hope for something better in the future.

Well, because life involves struggle, people that are not understanding of struggle or appreciate it, tend to lead emotionally weak lives. Strong people expect difficulties and learn to appreciate the growth these difficulties bring. Emotionally strong people do not expect immediate results. Some work for years on an area of life to then reach the pinnacle and be rewarded. They understand that genuine success and lasting success truly takes time. They try new things and fail often. Now the keyword there is often, but a friend of mine said, “No, the better keyword is added to that, often and quickly.” Often in quickly is where we need to be when we wish to be successful in the long term.

So we can’t hold on to emotional baggage of the past and remain emotionally resilient at the same time. Being an emotionally strong person who has high emotional capacity is about being able to start fresh every day and function with a clean slate emotionally. It is the growing factor of life. Do you need to work on your emotional potential? Are you the type of person who wishes to be better in all phases of life? Do you inspire others to be better in their lives from your emotional support or understanding during difficult times? If you said yes to any of these, this week’s challenge will help you become bigger and better at being you.

This week I challenge you to take a few minutes each day, just like you would exercise at the gym or run at the track. Takes time each day and evaluate your emotional intelligence. Are you realizing your potential or regressing to a less strong form of yourself? It is time we broke out of the ordinary and realize what is within you, the extraordinary. Go ahead, create a bigger, better, and bolder you for the future. You can do this and live your life by design.

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