What if you could enhance your performance and those around you simply by being more in tune with your emotions? This is the premise of Chade-Meng Tan’s newest book, “Search Inside Yourself.”
Meng, as he likes to be called, was hired by Google as a software engineer in 2000 and assigned badge number 107. This means he got in early and is one wealthy Gen X’r swimming in cash. Since then, he’s moved over to the personal development side of the house.
In 2007 he created a personal transformation program for employees called Search Inside Yourself. SIY is a mindfulness based emotional intelligence course which Meng hopes will eventually contribute to world peace.
Over 1000 employees have gone through SIY. There’s a waiting list of 30 each time it’s delivered, about once a quarter. Class size is 60 and runs for seven weeks. Anonymous feedback rates the course 4.7 out of 5. Participants say the experience has had a significant impact on both their professional and personal lives.
One engineer says he was miserable because of the stressful demands of his job. After SIY, he and his wife say he’s become calmer, more patient, and a better listener. Another manager says it’s helped him to become a more flexible leader. He no longer has knee jerk reactions with the team in the fast paced demanding Google culture. Today, he’s more of the calm in the middle of the storm, fully in control of his emotions.
Meng’s course is comprised of three steps:
1 – Attention training
This is the ability to, on demand, create a quality of mind that is both calm and clear at the same time. Meng utilizes meditation techniques to quickly and effortlessly bring about this sea of tranquility. This is the foundation of SIY.
2 – Self knowledge and self mastery
After you’ve become calm, the next step is to increase the resolution of the process of emotion. This is the ability to effortlessly see the situation unfolding. SIY teaches you to anticipate the emotion well before it happens. This allows you to view the event in slices or frames, if you will. Most importantly, you’ll see the event more objectively and be in control of your emotions.
3 – Create useful mental habits
For example, Meng says one habit is to wish happiness for everyone in your life. Every time you come in contact with someone such as a co-worker, family member, or stranger, mentally wish for them to be happy. This single thought will change your entire persona and have an unconscious effect on those around you.
So, what are the benefits of drinking the SIY Kool-Aid? Meng claims you’ll be more innovative, a better leader, and overall, a happier person. I’m a big believer in emotional intelligence and use it with clients on a regular basis.
Now, if you’re thinking SIY is too “woo woo” for you, think again. Research shows those with a high emotional quotient are happier and better at their professions. For example, Meng points out a study done in the late 80′s on naval officers. A quote from the study “Nice Guys Finish First” says the best commanders were “more positive and outgoing, emotionally expressive and dramatic, warmer and more sociable (including smiling more), friendlier and more democratic, more cooperative, more likeable and fun to be with, more appreciative and trustful, and even gentler than those who were merely average.”
To become happier, be a better person, parent, or leader, start with making small changes. My experience in working with clients demonstrates it’s one degree changes that create the biggest shifts. Effortlessly. Why wouldn’t you sign up for that?