Even though technology, culture, and politics change significantly through time, our challenge has always been, and always will be, internal. How we interpret, shape, and react to our environment is critical from everything to solving problems to how we understand meaning and purpose.
That is the essence of Life IQ. Life IQ is about figuring out who you are, what kind of life you want to lead, and making choices to achieve it. One’s ability to think critically, examine their personality, apply their strengths, and manage expectations is a foundation for success and happiness in all facets of your life. My mission is to help groups and individuals work, play, relate, and live intelligently through presenting lively, interactive, relevant, and research-based topics that enhances one’s experience.
So, let’s take an example from early in my career. I have a BA in Psychology and a BA in Sociology and while I was working on my Master’s in Counseling I worked with adolescents who were getting in trouble in school, with the law, and at home in a variety of residential settings. I loved working with these kids, but make no mistake, they were challenging and very gifted manipulators. (I joke that I received several years of free parent training working with this population.) Part of our role was to help teach these young people coping skills, anger management, provide support and counseling with their issues, and an environment that enforced consequences for their choices.
There were days where the staff would be the target for their frustration, anger, anxiety and angst. It was not unusual for the kids to get verbally and sometimes physically aggressive with staff. But I noticed a difference in how some of the staff dealt with these stressful situations. Some would find themselves in the middle of a power struggle and boxed themselves into a corner.
“If you call me a name one more time, you will lose TV privileges for a week!”
But others had a calm presence in the middle of the chaos. They would also get called every name in the book, but their body language and voice remained quiet and calm until the storm had passed. They would then take an opportunity to address the situation. “That was a doozy!” they may say with a bit of a chuckle in their voice. “I’ve been doing this a long time, but I have to give you some originality points. You called me two things that I’ve never been called before.”
What just happened? A whole lot…The staff was aware that this is a stressful situation and that his immediate goal is to at minimum not escalate the situation, but rather bring it to a calm resolution. They didn’t take anything personally. They recognized that this child is not being the best version of themselves and nothing productive will take place until reasonable heads prevail. They wanted to maintain a relationship and unconditional positive regard. A sense of humor helps lighten the mood. And the list goes on and on…there is a lot of emotional sophistication that went into that interaction.
A life well-lived requires a high emotional acumen and repertoire to deal with the challenges and choices we face. We have a finite amount of time in our life. We need to make choices on time dedicated to work and a career. How do you find a fulfilling career? What skills are critical to thrive and shine in the workplace? How do you find an organization that aligns with your values and passion? How do you create a career path?
But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. That phrase is a proverb that has been around for centuries, and like all great proverbs, it rings true. We need time away from work to recreate, or quite literally re-create. Our lives need space to spend time laughing, exercising, taking in the arts, playing an instrument, walking in the woods, baking, playing a board game, travelling, exploring different cultures, and playing sports, just to name a few. Adults need some silliness. Allowing ourselves to play and have fun breaks us free from the mold and rigors of our worklife.
Outside of work, we have a limited amount of time to dedicate to relationships. We are social creatures. We are hard-wired for interaction with one another. Relationships can be sources of joy, encouragement, synergy, and support. If you are married, in a committed relationship, and/or have children, these special people have the right of first refusal to your time. Beyond that, you need to decide who else to relate to. There are those who bring out the best in you, who you delight to see. Others drain you and you may not like who you are when you are with them. Who is in your circle? Who do you support? Who supports you? How do you move on from a relationship that is no longer working?
Socrates is credited with the quote, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Pondering one’s purpose and pursuit is key to living a life well lived. Living intelligently is essentially living intentionally, and I consider it a privilege whenever I can assist and challenge audiences along that path.