Spirit of EQ – Fear



Jeff East
Hello everyone. This is Jeff East. And welcome to the Spirit of EQ podcast.

Once again, we’re here with you guys. And we’re here with Eric Pennington. Hello, Jeff. And we have a spooky topic today

Eric Pennington
Oh my gosh, it’s not Halloween. Yeah. How can that be?

Jeff East
We’re going to talk about fear. We’re going to talk about fear with the individual. And this is something that I wasn’t thinking about until Eric told me the topic today we’re going to talk about fear in the organization. So Eric, where did you come up with this idea?

Eric Pennington
Well, here recently, we then interacting with an organization that expressed a great deal of excitement about working with us on emotional intelligence training and coaching and as we’ve gone through the process and given them some opportunities to try out some of our work to begin experimenting on how it could look for their work ization. It’s it’s kind of ground grind to a halt, if you will, and and in certainly, this episode is not about sales, and how to overcome objections or something like that. What it’s designed, though, is to at least my perspective, was trying to evaluate what what what’s the problem, why the halt and as I’ve inquired with them, I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that there’s a little fear about what it might do to their organization, and what it might mean, if they have to look at some of the things inside of the assessment work we do

Jeff East
So this fear is, is more than just, we’re afraid we’re going to spend too much money or going to spend too much time it goes deeper than that.

Eric Pennington
It does, it does. And that’s a great way to delineate between the two is that it’s not so much about do we have the budget, because if you really think about it, even though you might be afraid to break it to me, or break it to our company, Jeff, that we just can’t afford to do it this year, it’s really quite frankly, it’s rather easy to do at the end of the day, is to say, we just don’t have the budget, we’re going to have to wait. But I’m speaking of those things rooted in what is sometimes revealed in an assessment that might say something that we have been ignoring for a long time that we didn’t want to see, maybe it’s a how I interact with my co workers and how I manage my emotions, and my someone that and we know in our world that competencies of recognizing patterns, do I actually know that? Am I responding or reacting? All of the things that again, we’ve talked about many times in these episodes, and I think it goes to that. And as you know, Jeff, and I’m going to read a definition here in a minute. Fear will make you do things that maybe it’s not necessarily the best decision, oftentimes not the bestest decision here. Here’s an example since we’re talking about fear. And I pulled this from the Merriam Webster dictionary, fear is defined as an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.

Jeff East
That sounds pretty clinical.

Eric Pennington
And it does, but let me unwrap it. Maybe, basically, maybe, in this organization that I mentioned, it’s

Jeff East
if I have to

Eric Pennington
come to terms with my deficiencies, I’m going to look weak, and I’m the one who is the fill in the blank, Senior Vice President, CEO, whatever you want to use, and people will think less of me that’s dangerous for a lot of people. Okay. Right. So it’s kind of getting to that place of where we understand that, and then trying to gauge it in such a way that we can begin to actually help them through that. And I realize until they engage with us formally, I can’t help them until they say, Hey, here’s where we’re concerned. Right? Here’s what we think is a danger, I can’t help them. Does that make sense? I frame that. Well, Jeff,

Jeff East
yeah? What are the dangers, his fear might be making them dwell on or overemphasize?

Eric Pennington
Well, here’s a great example. And I think you can go back to your memory banks and some of the prospective clients we’ve worked with, the idea is, is that, well, if we introduce this to our whole organization, are they going to actually do something with it? Or is it going to create sort of that Pandora’s box where all of our stuff just comes out and and then maybe the classic one is that senior level manager who kind of feels that it’s for my people to do, but not for me to

Jeff East
do, as I say, not as I do,

Eric Pennington
right? And practically speaking, and we’ve, we’ve advised those folks that here’s the danger in that if you’re people begin to practice EQ, right, and the loanable skills within that and you don’t, there’s a day of reckoning, and I don’t want to sound too over over the top when I say that, but you can see where the disconnect comes in, and where I could cause a major problem. And I have legitimately told prospective clients that if you actually really want to apply that strategy of where they do it, and you don’t, we’re not the right company for you,

Jeff East
we’re probably going to do more damage than exactly because the employees are going to know all this stuff and get upset and get mad, then they’re not being treated with what they know, and

Eric Pennington
whether whether we like it or not, if we’re in a position of leadership formally, in this case, and if we’re saying that it’s not important, well, how committed Do you think your people are going to be to it? So it’s kind of that kind of thing. But again, based from a fear perspective, the senior level leader may have a fear that if, if, if I go ahead and open up my world, and it’s not that they’re sharing personal information, yes, you know, but if I have to look at some of the stuff that’s difficult, or look at some of the things we need to work on. Well, that makes me look less than and sometimes leaders make the mistake of believing that they need to be the smartest person in the room, and they have to have it all together, they have to have all of the answers. Now, everybody knows that that’s not the case. However, I never forget this acronym person. I think I got it right. If you take fear, first letter F, second letter E, third letter A, and then fourth letter are false evidence appearing real? Oh,

Jeff East
yeah, I like that. And that’s the perfect example that when you’re in a state of fear, with what we’ve been talking about, are in your individual life, what is that going to do to your plans to move ahead? How is it going to hold you back?

Eric Pennington
If you ask most people, I believe this in my experience, whether it’s individual and their personal or in a professional setting about what is the thing that holds them back from moving forward and doing something they’ll say, I’m afraid I’m afraid that if I start this new venture, it’s going to fail I’m afraid that my husband is not going to support me I’m afraid that I’ll get fired we can keep going. There’s so many of these and it is fear is prevalent, unfortunately influencer of decision now as we’ve talked about, many times, emotions are not bad. They’re trying to tell us something they’re trying to information data, right, Jeff? And that data in this case could be you should have a healthy fear about the new venture failing. But what you should do is get a mentor or a coach that’s going to help you as you’re developing your business plan.

Jeff East
And that fear can lead you to do research to do

Eric Pennington
great,

Jeff East
yes, that due diligence.

Eric Pennington
Exactly, exactly. So instead of looking at fear as this thing, I gotta go the other way, because there’s danger, right? It’s, it’s trying to tell you something. And, and I think when we look at it that way, the terrifying nature of it diminishes significantly significantly. The other part is, I think it It puts people in a position where they begin to settle for an imitation or, or something that’s just okay. So instead of proposing my idea that is somewhat riskier than what we’ve done before, what I’m going to do is I’m going to do one that’s safe, and has been tried before and has proven that it works.

You might, on the front side, get applause and and you might find people going, Yeah, this is great. But when we do that kind of thing, we put ourselves in a position of building these habits. So when I’m confronted by fear, what do I do, instead of taking the data, the information that that emotion is telling me, I run to the most convenient and easy solution, because that’s safer.

Jeff East
Yeah, I’m thinking of it from the business aspect, the fear can keep you you make the decisions, and they’re good decisions, developing a new product, well, I’m afraid to develop that new product because of this, that the other thing so we’re going to stick with what we have, and we’re making good money and all that. But that fear is keeping you from developing that new product, which might be miles ahead as far as serving your client and miles ahead about how much money you’re making, you’re staying in that safe spot.

Eric Pennington
And I will tell you, and as I know, you know, this, Jeff, and for our audience, that there’s all kinds of examples that we can fill in the blank with this, because fear is sort of an equal opportunity, emotion, right. But the reality of it is, especially, especially in what you’re saying there is that that we hear it often the fear of the unknown, you know, in our conversations as an organization, we’ve talked a lot about how do we make something that’s sustainable beyond us, right. And we’ve talked about AI as a great example. And, but quite frankly, Jeff, some of the stuff that I’ve mentioned about AI, it’s not like there’s tons and tons and tons of information about what I’m maybe proposing now, it’s not some fantasy, it’s not like I’m saying, sorry, Ilan Musk, that we’re going to move to Mars for less than $100,000 is nothing like that. But it is different. It is, it is approaching how we interact with people in a way that’s more sustainable, considering where we’re at today. And we’re more than likely we’re going,

I could say, That’s too risky. That’s dangerous. It could end up causing major problems. We could go bankrupt, and maybe I go, you know what, maybe if we just do a little bit of this, and then repeat what we’ve done for the last 10 or 15 years, then everything will be okay.

Jeff East
There’s, there’s a 50th anniversary going to happen in July.

Unknown Speaker
Ooh,

Jeff East
that is the 15th anniversary of the Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin Are you go landing and stepping on the moon, would that have happened if they were going from a state of fear?

Eric Pennington
And I quite frankly, I would be one of the first to say that’s, that’s a place that I would be really afraid that’s never been done before. How does that work? How do we know? I mean, there’s all kinds of things that that that conjures,

Jeff East
I’ve always been interested in this kind of stuff. So if you go back and look at how they got that end result of those two guys being on the moon, there was awareness of the dangers. Yeah, but they took them one at a time. And they didn’t look at the dangerous into the unsolvable, they looked at as, okay, we can figure this out. And they did it.

Eric Pennington
And I would say, for those of you out there from an individual basis, you know, separate work, and maybe that kind of thing. Career getting your arms around fear is going to lead to a better life lived, it just is. And all of us maybe at one time, and other of her the, you know, what are the top things that people talk about when they come to the end of their days? As far as regrets Mm hmm. And typically one of the top ones, if not, the top one is, I should have taken more risk, which is ultimately saying, I should have tackled my fears and move forward. And though it’s an individual choice to do it, I can say from my own life, it’s absolutely absolutely true. I just want to make sure one thing you’re not advocating, ignoring fear, you are correct. I am not underlying, not saying to ignore fear. What I’m saying is, is that you address fear as an information data giver. If I can say it that way, so that you can make a better decision. It might mean this is truly dangerous. I can tell you for a fact, when I read that story about the runner that killed the mountain lion out in Colorado, he better have felt some fear. Now, he obviously responded in a way that worked out well for him. But that’s clear, I would not have expected him to say, oh, there’s a mountain lion kill one every day. Let me go see if he wants to take me

Jeff East
so. So that fear was getting him ready to do this. I mean, that was an instantaneous thing. Yeah, in that case, but that fear is actually going to give you the information you need to get ready.

Eric Pennington
Yeah. And, and, and more than likely, I guess I use that example. And maybe not the greatest way that you know, sometimes it is the best idea to go the other way, there’s no doubt about it. But let that emotion give you its full amount of data first, before you go the other direction. Again, it’s just like anything else. And Jeff, I’ve used this example, many, many times, is that if I owned ups, and somebody came in to me and said, You know what, we’re running 30% longer on deliveries across the board. And here, look at the data, it shows it and I look at I go, it absolutely is true. The first response is not going to be, I quit. I didn’t want to do this. Anyway, I want to get out of here. This is dangerous. Know, what I’m gonna do is I’m going to go, Okay, let’s look at this data and figure out how do we improve on this? How do we get this ourselves back to where we need to be? Yeah, there’s certain levels of fear about the data. But at the end of the day, it’s trying to tell me something, it’s telling me that we’re 30% behind

Jeff East
that kind of thing. When you look at fear, or any emotion, they go on a continuum. So, you know, fear, usually, the first thought is, it’s something really, really scary, but there can be apprehension, uneasiness. Those are all other things to be aware of, and how would you tie that into what we’ve talked about with emotional intelligence?

Eric Pennington
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, and I’m speaking of this from experience, and it’s that practice thing when I’ve gone through assessments. And, and in the reading around the subject matter. And the work that we’re doing, it’s kind of led me to believe there’s a reason, for example, book the competent see of recognizing patterns. Okay, I’ll just use that one, Jeff. Okay. which falls under our sphere, Know yourself within the six seconds model. For me, recognizing patterns is a great tool, because it allows me to take a step back and go, okay, typically, when I’m in this type of situation, I respond this way, or I start to feel this way. And in this case, I usually am afraid for me, it’s liberating to be able to go, Ah, I know what that is. I know what typically happens then. And I don’t want to bore people over with all of the details of the competencies, but then there’s the applying consequential thinking, right, which is one of the competencies, all right, I’m afraid and I typically get afraid when I’m in this situation. So what is my best course of action? recognizing that, oh, wait a minute, what was the outcome from the last time and the time before that? It didn’t do me great harm. All right, I’m gonna go ahead and move forward, because I’ve got enough data to tell me that it’s not as great as maybe I’m feeling in that six seconds, right, when all that stuff’s flowing in my body and mind. So it’s things like that, that are great tools. I think, Jeff, otherwise will become a people or citizens or whatever you want to use to describe us who just get up every day and just react to whatever life throws at.

and living on reaction is not only dangerous, truly dangerous, it leads to a wasted life. You’re leaving out your soul. That’s a great way to put it. Yeah, exactly. It’s very robotic. in some senses,

Jeff East
do you have anything that you can relate personally?

Eric Pennington
Yeah, I was thinking about this, as we were preparing when I was knee deep in the corporate world many, many years ago. And I think it was after my last I’ve actually call them corporate bullets. And I’ll unwrap that a little bit here in a second. One of the greatest fears that I had was that I would lose my job that my job would be eliminated, that the company I was with would merge with another company, and they would be the acquirer and they would tell me, we’ve already got someone that does that. You got to go. And I mean, it was a consistent fear it live with me, if not daily, certainly weekly. And it wasn’t something I expressed a lot because, you know, we plow through and we try to put our brave faces on that work a Teflon, but it was, Well, guess what it happened. And I can tell you from experience, right, my corporate life experience, it happened to me five or six times. Now, I know that might elicit some things for our audience. But don’t be troubled, because it was one of the best things that ever happened to me each of those times, and I have history to look back on. And here’s what it taught me.

It was not the end of my world, I didn’t lose my wife, I didn’t lose my children. I didn’t lose my family extended, I didn’t lose, I lose friends. I didn’t. I didn’t have neighbors that would go the other direction when I was walking on the street. And quite frankly, at the end of the day, I always found something else.

Typically, ladies and gentlemen, the thing that will get you in trouble is doing stupid things. Risk is not usually a tool for everything falling apart. So what it taught me again, Jeff, was that, you know, that fear is there for reasons to tell me and for me, it was kind of telling me, Eric, what exactly are you afraid of here? What is it that you think will happen? I was honest, and back then I was, was my wife kind of think of me, I’m a failure.

What about my friends who, who thought I was the one to watch. And now I’m the one that’s been given a cardboard box for 10 years worth of things in my office. That’s what I was afraid of. And I learned and I’m still learning.

So we’ve talked here, give it the time it requires examine it, why am I feeling this? What is it that I’m afraid of. And that’s what I did. So though I’m not Superman, by any stretch of imagination, things can go south and spirit of EQ, and go south and other areas that I’m involved in. But at the end of the day, I now know I’m not in a position where I’ve got to be afraid

Jeff East
I was thinking of how fear can cause you to miss opportunities. I look back to the first time I ever spoke in front of a group. I was absolutely scared to death. But I did it got through it and realized, like you were saying, nothing happened. And I go, Okay, now, that’s one of the things I enjoy, probably more than most things is, it’s fun for me to get up in front of you, and you’re good at it. And so were you, I think you enjoy it too. But if I would have given into that fear, I would have missed a very important part of my life.

Eric Pennington
You know, that’s a great example, Jeff. Because if you can imagine, and Jeff and I, ladies and gentlemen, we did a and we’ve done this multiple times where we’ve done these group, not group but tag team type of speaking events where both of us are doing the presentation. And in this particular one recently, it went so well. And, and even the way it ended, Jeff had a personal story that I knew resonated, I could look at the audience and tell. But imagine for a moment, let’s say back when the first time you did it, you decided I am never going to do this again, ever going to do this again? What would we have missed? What would those audiences that missed if Jeff you had given in to the fear

Jeff East
thinking your own lies, if if there are things that you didn’t do because of fear, how you didn’t have a chance to affect other people. And that’s not just public speaking, but whatever it is the fear of helping someone along the road. Mm hmm.

Eric Pennington
And it’s, it’s a great example. And I think about it, it even plays out in those areas of life where the fear is not in rooted in some great, you know, catastrophe. I know, for me, sometimes used to be,

I had a really difficult time when I had someone close to me, who had a parent or a relative or friend that passed, passed away and reaching out to them afterwards. What am I going to say? What if I say something stupid? What if, what if, what if they asked me for something I can’t give them. I mean, again, they said these things that if you don’t stop and evaluate the fear, and for me, in that case, it was Eric, you’re not afraid of something dangerous, so to speak. The danger is, you’re afraid

of how you’re going to come off. So it’s more of a selfish thing. You’re concerned that you won’t appear a certain way, go be there for them. It’s not about you. It’s about them. And it doesn’t require 1000 words and a five minute span.

Jeff East
You know, we’ve talked about the concept of noble goal, my noble goal is to help people find the art in themselves. Yeah. And so many people are afraid to share that. And when I talk about art, I’m not it can be art, yes, using whatever. But what is it at the core, that person that makes them valuable, and many people are to share that

Eric Pennington
I agree. And, you know, as we’re kind of throwing out these tips, Jeff, I think, you know, you mentioned the noble goal thing, and the fear of failure, which I know we’ve tackled in a past episode, when you think about it, the culture we live in, and I’m going to speak for the United States. I know, we have listeners and other parts of the world too. But in the United States, we’ve kind of twisted the model that invalidated things by something like money, right? outward appearances, popularity, popularity, fame notoriety. The problem with that is, is that there’s such a small percentage of people on the planet that will have all of those lined up the crazy part is, is that they’re really not truly validators, the making of money, and maybe a lot of it is not necessarily rooted in some unbelievably talented, skilled individual who went out and did x and y and z. It could be, but the reality of it to say, okay, is this success something and to the point of the noble goal, that thing that’s bigger than me, and more than likely will outlast my lifetime. I can tell you guys your money is not going to add last year when, when you’re done. Guess what?

Jeff East
My wife and I didn’t see the movie when it first came out. But we just recently watched the Welcome to the neighborhood. Welcome to my neighbor, the Mr. Rogers biography.

Eric Pennington
Oh, yes, yes,

Jeff East
if you haven’t seen it, see it, you’ll cry I did. But he embodied what we’re talking about. He went area into areas, it was a kid show, but he went into areas like death, racism, all these things, you know, Death of a pet. He didn’t. He didn’t back down from those things. Because I don’t know what how he would have said his noble goal. But his noble goal was to make everyone better around him. His awareness of the people around him was amazing. So he wasn’t afraid to do that. And we’ll be talking about Mr. Rogers forever.

Eric Pennington
Yeah, and you know what I would say this, certainly for our audience. It’s easy when we pull out names that are very recognizable, but there’s other Mr. Rogers and Mrs. Rogers all over the world that are doing exactly the same thing he did. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re tackling this particular subject On this episode, is we want to remind you, we want to we want to be that encouragement to you, that inside of you is some of the same stuff and fear if not managed, can maybe robbed you of that. And our hope is, is that you’ll look at fear again, is not a bad thing. But it’s something that’s trying to tell you something is giving you some data so that you can keep moving forward and I like the way you said that manage that means you’re using it, but not letting control.

Jeff East
Yeah, absolutely. I really enjoyed this time. Jeff, thank you very much. Well, thank you for our listeners. And will you hear us on our next episode. Thanks.

Eric Pennington
Take care, everyone.

 


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