No. I just have a lot of feelings – By @PhilipLeBrun

By Phil Le Brun


No. I just have a lot of feelings

EQ is emotional intelligence. It’s everywhere. It’s that thing people keep talking about. Another sexy behavioural model to follow on Instagram and support through their breakup with Leonardo DiCaprio. But buckle up, because this one is more than just another model, it’s the real deal.

I worked in an agency for over two years (yes good for you) with a daily hurricane of different pressures, opinions and agendas and the most important thing I learnt is our emotions are incredibly significant, we don’t understand them very well and when they can be managed effectively great things can happen.

I was first introduced to the concept of EQ as a Grad by the now Managing Director of AMV BBDO, who suggested I looked at Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence’. It remains one of the best things I’ve read on understanding people’s behaviour, relationships and potential. It touches on the importance of empathy, optimism and mitigating stress so is relevant to all of us about to start SCA. 

The essential premise of the model is conventional intelligence is too narrow a requirement for success which also requires effective awareness, control and management of our own emotions and those of people around us.

With the reading list we’ve all got behavioural models coming out of our ears so I won’t go into any real detail here. All I will say is, it is worth having a look at this at some point even if it’s just a YouTube summary or review article.

Even if you don’t take your knowledge of EQ any further than this, in the spirit of SCAB reflection, perhaps reflect on this; Emotional intelligence is not some innate talent but a learned capability that can be improved throughout your life and the best way to improve it is knowing your own emotions. How well do you know yours? And what is an emotion? It’s a feeling right? And feelings what are those? Well that’s easy they’re emotions…Wait how do you get off this roundabout?

Our emotions are far more complex than ‘Me feel good’ or ‘Me feel bad’ they aren’t hardwired or universal and can’t always be captured by coloured crayons or emojis. *Confused face*.

In fact other cultures have emotional concepts which don’t fit within our own nomenclature; in Japan, ‘Arigata-meiwaku’ is a conflicting emotion felt when someone does you a favour you didn’t want from them, but you’re required to be grateful anyway. Maybe this doesn’t feel like an ‘emotion’ to us but that’s because our concept of emotion is based on what we have learnt and ‘Arigata-meiwaku’ doesn’t feel as automatic as easily defined concepts of happiness, sadness or anger.

You might walk into a room and see green, red and pink. An interior designer in the same room sees obsidian green, chinoiserie red and millennial pink. When reflecting on your emotions, be the interior designer. If you take the time to distinguish and recognise emotions as specific and different the more emotionally intelligent you will become.

When you can discern when you’re feeling aggravated, envious, woeful and a hundred shades in between you are better equipped to constructively deal with the problems causing those feelings. When your only negative emotional concept is ‘feeling a bit shit’ it is much more difficult to handle how you feel. If you’re feeling uniquely emotional try giving it a name. Japan again is great for this; ‘Age-otori’ is the feeling of looking worse after a haircut.  It sounds stupid and a little pass-the-feelings-stick Year 1 psychology, but self-awareness helps orientate yourself morally and better understand your own motivations, fears and strengths. The better you know yourself and how to manage how you feel both positively and negatively the better attuned you will become to the emotions of your partner, producer or client, which can ultimately lead to stronger more empathetic relationships. So in the sage words of our moral deity Katy Perry, ‘don’t be afraid to catch feels’.

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