On Wednesday, April 8, 2020, Walker & Dunlop hosted the latest episode of our Walker Webcast series, “Enhancing Business Decisions through Emotional Intelligence” with our CEO, Willy Walker, and renowned Yale professor and emotional intelligence expert, Dr. Marc Brackett.
Willy provided an update on the CRE market and current economic landscape, prior to his discussion with Marc about the importance and power of emotional intelligence. They covered:
Willy Walker is chairman and chief executive officer of Walker & Dunlop. Under Mr. Walker’s leadership, Walker & Dunlop has grown from a small, family-owned business to become one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the United States. Walker & Dunlop is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and in its first seven years as a public company has seen its shares appreciate 547%.
Marc Brackett, Ph.D., author of Permission To Feel, is the founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a professor in the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine at Yale University. His grant-funded research focuses on: (1) the role of emotions and emotional intelligence in learning, decision making, creativity, relationship quality, and mental health; (2) the measurement of emotional intelligence; and (3) the influence of emotional intelligence training on children’s and adults’ health, performance, and workplace performance and climate. Marc has published 125 scholarly articles and has received numerous awards, including the Joseph E. Zins Award for his research on social and emotional learning and an honorary doctorate from Manhattanville College. He also is a distinguished scientist on the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development and on the board of directors for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).
MB: It’s a great question and a serious challenge we are all facing. A lot of the way we regulate has to do with the stories we tell ourselves. So, what I would ask is, this is all going to be temporary but can you frame the story to “wow, I am super talented, I can be a teacher, I can be a parent, I can be a janitor, etc.” Then you really laugh about it. It is a really, powerful strategy to dealing with emotions. So, A) give yourself permission to be overwhelmed and feel those feelings, but B) tell yourself a different story around it.
It is all about shifting away from the self-sabotaging way of thinking and moving towards thinking that supports yourself and being the most present you can be.
MB: The first thing is if you are activated in the red, you are anxious or feeling overwhelmed or panicking then you need to ask yourself some questions. How much control do I have over this? Really evaluating the unnecessary worry, that we might have about things we cannot control is seriously important to help us. If we are ruminating in that, our health gets sacrificed, our relationships get sacrificed. Another piece of it is - limit the amount of information you take in. Setting yourself up for success like managing your life smartly and being a preventionist and managing your thoughts.
MB: It is not the experience of these feelings; it is what we do with these feelings and the way you think about the feeling. It’s not about the experience, it’s about how we modulate those feelings. When we feel or experience chronic stress, like unfortunately many people who live in poverty or who are in abusive relationships are experiencing, this is when our neurobiology can start shifting. Think about the cycle, you feel bad about yourself, then your brain goes to catastrophic thinking, your neurochemicals are released, you make poor choices about being sedentary when you really should be getting up and exercising, you crave sugars because insulin levels are shifting around and it just creates a vicious loop. We want to break that cycle by A) being a preventionist, by trying our best, by setting up our lives so we aren’t activated as much and B) by having the helpful strategy of reframing and distancing.
MB: You might do an exercise of all the people you work closely with and think about each person and ask when I think about that person how do I feel. Do I feel like wow, I want to work with that person for the rest of my life or do I feel anger, disgust or love? So, I would take a moment to reflect on the people and those feelings are probably driving the ways you interact and work with them. Second, pause and reflect. If you don’t pause and reflect on your feeling, it leaks into the next meeting. It is important to pause and attribute those feelings to what it is. My recommendation is to take a breath and check your feelings and attribute those feelings to what you are actually feeling.
MB: The good news is you can be creative with all feelings. Feeling despair can cause you to write a beautiful poem. What I think is my last advice for everyone, is that we think that our creativity comes from sitting in a room and trying to get a whole lot of ideas but when we do something that is fun and relaxing, then boom, that is when all the ideas start coming. Give yourself permission to enjoy life. Allow your brain to be deactivated in that space and then beautiful things can happen.