Thursday, November 19, 2015

Stick With Me, This Ain't Goin' Where You Think It's Goin'

To begin: At this point, pretty much everyone knows that AI means Artificial Intelligence; computers, robots, smart houses, Fitbits.

One of the hottest areas of management thought and training now has to do with EI…Emotional Intelligence. According to Psychology Today magazine, “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include 3 skills:
1. Emotional awareness, including the ability to identify your own emotions and those of others;
2. The ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problems solving;
3. The ability to manage emotions, including the ability to regulate your own emotions, and the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.”

There are tons of books written and training programs attended that are focused on helping us better understand ourselves and others.

In fact, when I ask people what some of the strengths of my programs are, what they tell me leads directly to me probably having a pretty high EI factor.

However, this morning I was watching a TED talk by Morgan Spurlock. It’s called, “The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold.” It’s only 19 minutes and it’s one of the best presentations you’ll ever see. It gives a wonderful and damning behind-the-curtain look at marketing and PR. The key message is to embrace transparency.

In the video, Spurlock visits a psychologist who asks him what his brand is. After watching the video I asked myself that question: What is Mike Collins’ brand?

The answer I came up with was EI, but a different kind. My high EI is Energetic Immaturity. A long time ago, when I looked at most of the grown-ups around me it seemed that they weren’t having a lot of fun. Oh, they’d go to parties, cheer at games, laugh at jokes, get drunk and do silly things…but, they didn’t seem to be having a lot of fun; to enjoy life. 

If you mentioned fun to them they’d pooh-pooh it; “When you grow up you have to go to work and raise a family, it isn’t all fun!” The guy who was my big brother in my college fraternity is now a retired admiral. He and I had a discussion last year about the concept of fun and work and he totally dismissed it. God Bless him! We need serious people on the front lines.

But, that ain’t me. We also need people who see the absurdity of life, who’ll take risks, and who will be transparent about it.

I realize I’m going to be who I am—for good or ill—until the day comes that I’m called to the great clown car in the sky. I gave up on living a linear life a long time ago. In fact, about 30 years ago a shrink told me, “Mike, at some point in your life you made a decision to live a life that was not going to be like what you grew up in.” Amen.

What’s your brand? What would you like for it to be? Do you need to push a few boundaries? I’m betting the risks, the dangers, are mostly in your mind. 

It’s raining outside. I’m going to go play in the rain for awhile. I’ll be thinking of all you folks behind desks, delivering stuff, in meetings, and digging ditches. I truly do appreciate what you do, but I didn’t, and don’t, want to do that; so I haven’t.

What do you want to do? When you ask what’s stopping you, do you see any image other than your own face? If you do, you’re probably fooling yourself.


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