“Search Inside Yourself is a leadership programme and addresses the questions: What is emotional intelligence? How does mindfulness and meditation increase our emotional intelligence? Learn in this article why emotional intelligence is seen as THE leadership skill of the 21st century”.
What started as a leadership initiative at Google has spread to over 30 countries and 100 cities around the world.
Developed by leading experts in neuroscience, business and psychology, the ‘Search Inside Yourself’ Leadership Programme (acronym: SIYLI)) gives you a practical understanding of mindfulness-based emotional intelligence (EQ).
And the training has been proven to: Reduce stress, sustain focus, increase peak performance and improve interpersonal relationships.
What is Search Inside Yourself (SIY)?
The level of information, complexity and degree of change we face every day at work will not decrease.
Working more, working faster and working harder is not sustainable. Speed is not a solution to complexity.
So something has to change on a personal level. We can face challenges reactively or proactively.
And this is where ‘Search Inside Yourself’ comes in.
‘Search Inside Yourself’ teaches skills that help us to act more clearly, effectively and reactively. While these skills transfer seamlessly into personal life, the focus is on the workplace.
At its core, the curriculum addresses three areas: (1) Emotional Intelligence (EQ), (2) Neuroscience, and (3) Mindfulness.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of open and non-judgemental attention to the contents of consciousness, whether pleasant or unpleasant. We can cultivate such a quality of mind through Vipassana meditation, which I recommend for beginners as a mental training technique. You can find meditation instructions here.
Mindfulness methods are the helpful foundation in developing our emotional intelligence by becoming aware of our emotions and those of others. The beauty is that we can teach and thus learn mindfulness and EQ like playing a musical instrument.
Neuroscience: Recognised benefits of meditation
Scientists have found that meditation leads to stress reduction and improved self-awareness, controls and reduces anxiety, reduces depression, improves sleep, reduces addiction, helps fight pain, and lowers blood pressure.
Meditation has also been shown to improve cognitive function, even causing changes in grey matter density in regions of the brain related to learning and memory, emotional regulation and self-awareness.
Note: In the last 15 years, scientific research on meditation and mindfulness has increased rapidly. However, we are at an early stage of research that will more accurately show the benefits due to improved measurement methods (e.g. fMRI or EEG) and better studies.
What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?
EQ is a term developed by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer, and popularised by Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book (of the same name). EQ is defined as the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions.
Peter Salavoy and John Mayer (1996) define EQ as follows:
The ability to observe one’s own feelings and emotions and the feelings and emotions of others, to distinguish between them and to use this information to guide one’s own thinking and actions.
Here you will find a more detailed description of what emotional intelligence is and how we can build AND improve it.
What is the difference between feelings and emotions?
A feeling is what is felt; what is perceived. A feeling is that which enters the consciousness through the sensory organs in the form of impulses and sensations: warmth, cold, hunger, fear. A feeling is without evaluation. It simply states what is there, without judgement as to whether it is good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant.
Emotion, on the other hand, is an ex-motion – a movement from the inside out. Some also read it as e-motion – energy in motion. It is an evaluation of what has been felt and how this is expressed: the tea is hot; that is pleasant. The food is cold; that annoys me.
The 5 EQ Traits
In his famous book, Daniel Goleman created a very useful structure by classifying EQ into 5 categories:
- Leadership/ Social skills
The first three categories look at intrapersonal skills (self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation), whereas the last two categories (empathy, leadership) look at interpersonal skills.
Scientific results from Search Inside Yourself
We are constantly distracted. We increasingly feel stressed, burnt out and overwhelmed. Many people do not have the skills to cope successfully with today’s career demands.
SIYLI‘s website shows robust results of the training programme:
- SIY participants report less emotional irritability.
- SIY participants report a greater ability to concentrate, think more clearly and work more effectively.
- SIY participants are better able to maintain calm and composure in the face of challenges.
In sum, SIYLI builds on studies of mindfulness and EQ and shows how we can increase our well-being, leadership and resilience
- Mindfulness leads to greater well-being (Hulsheger et al., 2012; Tang et al., 2015).
- Mindfulness can lead to more creativity and innovative thinking (Institute for Mindful Leadership Survey).
- Emotional intelligence correlates with better teamwork and leadership (Singer 2016; Kok et al. 2013; Kerr, Garvin, Heaton, & Boyle, 2006; Rosete & Ciarrochi, 2005).
Measurable benefits for companies
Mindfulness can create better organisations. Recent research and studies show that the benefits of mindfulness add up to have an impact on organisational culture and effectiveness.
The most convincing of these is insurance giant Aetna, which developed an internal mindfulness training programme with a lot of support from CEO Mark Bertolini (study publication).
- 36% reduction in stress levels
- 62 minutes increase in production per week
- 7% lower health costs
- US$3,000 annual savings through increased productivity
- 13,000 employees have participated in the training so far
What started as a test in 2011 has proven to be an inspiration for an entire industry and companies beyond.
13 Signs of high emotional intelligence
- You observe your feelings.
- You pause.
- You strive to manage your thoughts and feelings.
- You benefit from criticism.
- You show authenticity.
- You show empathy.
- You praise others.
- You give helpful feedback.
- They apologise.
- You can forgive and forget.
- You keep your commitments.
- You help others.
- You protect yourself from emotional sabotage.
Training to become a Search Inside Yourself Trainer
Through the Search Inside Yourself trainer training, I have been able to apply the experiences from my meditation practice in my professional life and now have a new vocabulary to describe meditation, mindfulness and the benefits of EQ for companies and their employees and can point to scientific studies.
I can highly recommend training as a trainer or SIY training for your company.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email to me: dh [at] dannyholtschke [dot] com