Remember Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman? It was that rare book I never finished reading. I even gave it away to someone else because I was so confident I never would finish reading it: Goleman’s writing style just didn’t connect with me. I’m sure Goleman didn’t feel the loss: There are a whopping 187 reviews for the book on Amazon.com, and he soon followed up with a second book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, and then Primal Leadership, Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.
However I still take the liberty of using that phrase he coined all the time, because I do feel it is so insightful — our emotions are intelligent, and we are best advised to listen to them as a significant one of our instinctual inner voices. If nothing else, we need to question ourselves with some self-reflection on “why are you suddenly speaking up now?”
Before I read (okay, halfway read) Emotional Intelligence, one of the coaching phrases I was known to say, particularly with my women managers, was that “Guilt is the most worthless emotion there is.” I wanted them to dig deeper with the issue at hand, and not just wallow in guilt, for it can take you down rabbit trails and screw up your thinking in a way that just prolongs your stuck-ness. There is still merit in my worthless guilt phrase as a conversation starter in the coaching arena of, “Women, understand what your nurturing instincts really mean”, however I rarely say that phrase nowadays, realizing that no emotion is totally worthless.
Well, there’s a new gender-free guilt on the scene: Blogging guilt.
I’ve seen it cropping up pretty often lately on many of the blogs I read — I know you have too, and I’m not offering any painful links here as evidence, other than my own (there are hints of it in the previous post: Blogs, and being reasonable with my own attentions.)
We feel guilty when we do nothing but blog, paying too little attention to our offline lives.
We feel guilty we may be disappointing our readers when we don’t blog enough and our pages fall silent.
We feel guilty when we don’t comment enough on other blogs, or horrors of all horrors, don’t have enough time to respond to comments on our own blogs.
Yuck. I guess I still do get bothered about guilt. It’s certainly not a pretty emotion.
I rather replace guilty feelings with intent. Good intent, and my trust that the bloggers I have come to know all have it. For after all, they all have aloha, which for me, is how good intent is defined.
Intention and Proactivity. Much better.
I also think we are better advised to focus on ROA: the Return on Attention I’d written about once before. This is not that complicated.
What are we paying attention to, and why?
What return do we get from it; what value?
The answers to those questions should be good enough for us if we are paying attention to “something else” at any given time, because we only have the very best of intentions in doing so. It’s the better of our choices, and we are choosing proactively versus reactively.
As blog readers, I also think we need to lend support, give each other a break and empathize. In a community of bloggers, different bloggers can take turns at being switched on. Stephen Covey was right when he said that for most of us, “Seek first to understand” is the hardest habit of all. Blogging communities are great, and as you know I think the Ho‘ohana Community is amazing in the degree of support found among our members, often having nothing to do with me, but with the initiative taken to forge their own inter-community connections.
However blogs are not the center of the universe. You are the center of your universe, and that’s how it should be. Speaking for myself, though I am very confident I probably speak for most of this community, I want you to know that’s perfectly okay with me. In fact, if you are ignoring Talking Story at any given time for the right reasons, and because you are paying attention to the right people for your life, it is way more than okay: I am very proud of you. A healthy dose of selfishness is a good thing.
Don’t think of it as selfishness, think of it as self-care. Your health, and emotional well-being always comes first. For only in mālama, taking care of yourself and the others you love, can you possibly take care of anything else. You must repopulate that “well” of your well-being. I’ll always be your managing, working, and living with aloha coach first, and your Talking Story author and blogger second.
If it helps, from a very practical standpoint, let’s look at a couple of these things one more time:
We feel guilty when we do nothing but blog, paying too little attention to our offline lives. So does everyone else, and as I just explained, we should pay attention to our offline lives: the best-case-scenario Return of our ROA is undeniable.
We feel guilty we may be disappointing our readers when we don’t blog enough and our pages fall silent. Therein lies the beauty of RSS aggregators like BlogLines. It’s specifically designed so we see your updates when they happen, and are not clicking in when they don’t — you aren’t disappointing us, in fact, you may be giving us a break ” We don’t have to feel guilty about now keeping up with you!
We feel guilty when we don’t comment enough on other blogs, or horrors of all horrors, don’t have enough time to respond to comments on our own blogs. The old guideline of quality not quantity is a good one to remember here, something I think we’d all agree on. I used to send an email back to acknowledge every commenter I had. Now I only do that for first-time commenters because I’m not sure they’ll click back in. With known Ho‘ohana Community members I opt on the side of not cluttering up their email. I trust.
If you are a blogger, I hope you see how we are all paddling the same canoe.
Well. Time to sign off on this train of thought —for now, it’ll boomerang back at another time I’m sure. But for now, I just realized I’ve got some unanswered email guilt to deal with.