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EP20: The Power of Men’s Emotions

Phrases like “boys don’t cry” have been used to imply that male displays of emotion are a sign of weakness. Coach Jude challenges (and crushes) that stereotype by explaining the power of emotional intelligence, and revealing the inherent intelligence in our emotions. With over 10 years of experience coaching in organisations throughout the UK and Australia, Jude holds an MA in Philosophy and Theology from Oxford University and is currently completing his PhD in Emotional Intelligence, Neuro-linguistic Programming, and Transformational Leadership. A must-listen for men, Jude discusses becoming one with your emotions, using them to manage and lead, and how emotional connection can be used to inspire change.

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Victoria:There’s a saying that men don’t cry. And for many men, a real stigma is around being emotional. There’s certainly still a pressure to be strong and be a man. But what does being a man really mean in today’s society in 2021? And how can men tap more into their emotional EQ and how can that ultimately lead to helping men live more fulfilling and more balanced lives? My special guest today is Jude Martin. Jude has worked with dozens of organizations and coached thousands of individuals in decision-making mindset and belief change, emotional intelligence, leadership, and so much more. He has an MA in Philosophy and Theology from Oxford University and is currently completing a PhD in Emotional Intelligence, Neuro-linguistic Programming and Transformational Leadership at Notre Dame University.

Yes, Jude is a very busy man. All of which make him the perfect person and coach to take us on a journey today and share in a conversation with me around how men can tap into their emotional selves and what it really means to be a man in the modern world.

So welcome, Jude. Oh my goodness, I’ve been hanging out to have this conversation with you for such a long time. So thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule as a coach, to share some of your insights and your studies with us around men and – often can be a negative word – around emotional intelligence for men.

So welcome to our show today.

Jude: Thank you, Victoria is very kind opening, um, sort of looking back to, to find out who is she actually introducing this, you introduce him in there.

Victoria: That is you, my friend.

Jude: Very, very kind. Very kind.

Victoria: You’re such the perfect person. I mean, yes, you’re one of our coaches, but you also are studying this particular point. And you are the perfect person to have this conversation with, to not only back up and share some client stories around men who are still grappling with this subject, as well as I’m hoping to hear from you some deep research and understanding that you can share with us today in today’s society that perhaps may ease some of the angst that men around the globe are dealing with right now. So I might hand over to you.

Jude: Okay. All right. Well, thank you for bringing me in to have this conversation you about. And, uh, EQ studies have been going on for a long time. They’ve been around for a while. Going back to what was it about, the early nineties when probably have heard of these people Salovey, Mayer Salovey, Daniel Goldman in particular are the two real founders of emotional intelligence. And what is, what is emotional intelligence? Let’s start from there. Let’s start from there. What is it?

Victoria: It’s a wonderful place to start. And for many men and perhaps women, there is, there is still ambiguity around this singular topic. So let’s unpack it.

Jude: Yeah. Okay, so emotional intelligence – let’s go for the quote-unquote mainstream academic definition. And then I’ll define it the way that I like to define it. Yes? So, so emotional intelligence is really about the ability to identify, assess and to control one’s emotions. And it really involves four different areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. So that’s the mainstream definition, Victoria, the way that I like to define it so that Joe Blogs on the streets understands what that is, is emotional intelligence is the intelligence in your emotions.

Simply put, it’s the intelligence in your emotions. And the reason why I like to put it that way is that more often than not society, we, you and I tend to equate intelligence with use of the cognitive, intelligent use of our brain. Our thinking thing as Renee Descartes used to call us are, you know, we are thinking things we tend to equate intelligence with just use of our brain, but actually, there is a superior form of intelligence, which is the intelligence in your emotions, which actually travels at an infinite speed, much faster than our cognitive intelligence and it guides everything we do.

You actually feel your emotional intelligence. If you take a step back and even take a breath in and really focused on that breath, you feel a warmth begin to move around your body. That’s your emotion otherwise called ‘energy in motion’ – E with a hyphen motion.

And that’s what your emotional intelligence is. It taps into the energy, it is literally moving all around your body, it is connected to everything that you are. That is your emotional intelligence. Is your energy moving around your body.

Victoria: So, is that something even just to summarise, that sounds like a fantastic tool or a tip and strategy that all men can do every day to help increase their emotional intelligence in their body, like seriously, Jude is that potentially as simple as I first stepping point to help men, firstly, create space within their body through breath.

Just to open up the airways a little, just to start probably being silent without using meditation to encourage connection, because as you were talking, I mean men and women are so differently wired in our neurological setup. And this is the beautiful differences between men and women.

And, there’s constant debate that, women want men to feel more, but do we really? I think there’s, there’s this confusion almost going on between the sexes right now, there feels that there is this battle between men and women and how that also then transcends into relationships, which I know that we will dive into.

But, when you’re talking, I’m putting myself in that space and I was taking myself when you were saying, take that breath. And I instantly because I’m a meditator, so I instantly dropped into that space

Jude: Yes.

Victoria: Does that increase our emotional muscle to then increase the experience that we have around being connected to our emotions. Is this the very first place to start?

Jude: Yes, it is.

Victoria: If we were doing a beginner’s guide here is this it?

Jude: Yes. The beginner’s guide to emotional intelligence from from Jude’s book, is breathe. Breathe. That’s the beginner’s guide. And the breathing practice, really, as Victoria we’ve had this in our conversations before, you know, in my early twenties I lived as a monk. I joined a monastery and I lived at a month for seven years in silence. I took a vow of silence and one of the first things that I was taught when I joined the monastery, which incidentally became something for further study when I picked up my current research into emotional intelligence, I was taught when I joined the monastery to stop actually focus on my breathing.

Like literally, to focus as you breathe in, we breathe 23,000 times a day. Twenty-three thousand times a day, every human being on this planet breathes in and out. But we’re not aware of it, hey, and and it’s quite…

Victoria: I was just thinking, imagine if we were so conscious of every one of those 23,000 breaths.

I imagine the increase in the impact, not just for men, but all of us women included – to actually exercise this muscle of creating far greater reach. I get super excited around statistics, but it’s a simple awareness tool of helping us develop this muscle more. That can then so effortlessly create such a deeper connection with who we are.

Jude: Totally. Totally. And…

Victoria: I love that.

Jude: Totally. And as a man. One of the things that learned and I’m still learning is – and you mentioned the word there Victoria, you mentioned the word awareness – so , we can’t be, can’t use our cognition. We can’t use our cognition, our brain, thinking minds to count every single one of those 23,000 breaths that we breathe, that they really, we can’t it’s impossible.

Right? But you use the word awareness. We can use our awareness. Yes. We can use the light of our awareness to be aware of what is going on. And so when we use our awareness of our breaths to breathe, this is as you breathe and you bring your awareness to it. And you become aware of being aware that you’re breathing, that’s your mental awareness, and all of a sudden you’re using a different level of intelligence, which is linked to your emotions.

And so your term emotional intelligence 101 is take an intentional take an intentional breath. Take an intentional breath and feel the energy as a consequence of that breath, literally flowing. You feel a warmth immediately. I say immediately, I’m doing it right now. I’m feeling that warmth, that sensation swirling around my feet and rising up. And so, for men and for women, connecting with your emotions begins with taking that breath.

Victoria: So I like I love that. I could a step further because one thing that I love about coaching and I’m sure when clients work with you Jude, like this is the beautiful thing that I love about coaching is that our job is to hold the space, facilitate the questions…

Jude: Yeah.

Victoria: …explore the possibilities, but then break it down into really practical steps.

I’m putting myself, I did that a process again, when you just said, reflect on our breath and it’s almost like we need to, as part of awareness – and this is sweet spot around coaching –build the awareness, but then, it’s the action that then facilitates change.

And it’s a practice that I’ve used for 20-odd years of coaching. And when someone, when a client has wanted to make a change, so they’re aware of it, but they still don’t know the benefits of it. So it’s reprogramming their behavioural responses and their routine and disrupting what they’re used to doing. And a very simple tool, and I just thought I’d, I’d jump in and share this, it’s so simple.

Using your exercise as an example. So yes, we can’t be conscious of every one of those 23,000 breaths. However, we can, as a suggestion, and I’ve done this with other things that people are wanting to shift through, create, get set an intention on your phone and set a set, an alert every hour or every half an hour to have that one conscious breath.

Jude: Absolutely.

Victoria: And I just wanted to throw that in there because it’s so relevant. And to, we’re not only then combining awareness with such a profound, simple exercise, but then we’re also backing it up with let’s integrate it now because that’s going to build, and I often talk about this, the muscle that is then going to get you from point A of limited EQ to this profound, emotional connection with yourself.

And it’s a starting point of… it’s just another simple tool that we can obviously use technology, and everyone has our mobile phones in their hands, just as a prompt and a reminder to be conscious of at least in the day, 12 to 24 conscious breaths out of that 23,000.

Jude: That’s my, my very simple tools and that’s what people need. That’s what coaching is. Coaching is about providing, the complex simple. Now I was once told by a professor at the university where I’m studying, he said to me, Jude, if you cannot, if you cannot tell Joe Blogs on the street what your topic is about, why are you doing it?

If we can’t talk about emotional intelligence, such that Joe Blogs on the street can actually listen to what we are saying right now and immediately apply it, then what’s the purpose of this conversation? So, let’s go straight into another tip, then. Let’s go straight into another tip. And this tip is really to begin to… is to recognize that there are emotional differences – and I don’t like to use the word differences because even the word difference in itself is a label – right, there are emotional distinctions. If I should use that word between the man and the woman, and actually it’s okay to say that that doesn’t mean that is a problem, that needs to be solved.

It just means that there are distinctions.

Victoria: This is such, it takes me to another many conversations over many years that I remember reading in. I can’t remember where I read it or who shared this with me, but it was along the lines of, to a degree it’s celebrating the differences between men and women and how we think and how we feel.

Because if we all the same and we would be, in relationships particularly, but we, one of us would actually be obsolete.

Jude: Hm.

Victoria: And so the other person would have no purpose being in our orbit and our lives.

So it’s being able to appreciate the differences. And close some of the gaps. So we can all be a little bit more equalized when it comes to emotional intelligence to then have richer relationships, which leads me to the next part.

Before you jumped into that second tip on what are some of, or even just one or two examples of when you have emotional blockage, how does that show up in your life? And then I’d love to jump into a solution. Big question. I know.

Jude: Emotional blockage?

Victoria: So let me reframe it. When you have limited emotional EQ…

Jude: Yeah.

Victoria: How does that show up or how does that display in your life, within yourself and your relationships and how can that be used as a calling card of those, the challenges to then say, oh, I’ve got an opportunity here to become more aware to shift into a different place, what are some of the challenges that men particularly have come to you that are showing up in their world that have booked you to work with you to help them increase their emotional intelligence?

So what are some of the pain points that they’re dealing with?

Jude: So I’ve had, for example, when you mentioned that emotional blockage and you went ahead to reexplain that one of the things that come to mind is I’ve often heard, more so men than women say this to me, either in a coaching frame or just in normal conversation, ‘I’m not an emotional person, Jude’. Yeah?

Victoria: Do you think that’s a common judgment and a common opinion from men in general?

Jude: I think men have… talking from a coaching perspective and more specifically from a neurological perspective, it’s almost men come to accept what society has suggested that to be a man means to be, means to demonstrate bravado. Means to be the person who doesn’t feel feelings, or if you feel those feelings, then you don’t really talk about them, and of some men have almost rewired. They’ve rewired themselves, unconsciously subliminally, rewired themselves. And then they’ve embraced this idea that personality is such, that they don’t express emotions. And I often say to them are you human? I ask them the question, are you human?

And they go, and they sort of look at me in a bit confused and go, well, what kind of a question is that? then I pose the question back to them. Are you human? Which point they go, yes, Jude, I am human. And then I say, well, if you’re human, you must realize that you’re made up of five things: mind, body emotion, soul (S-O-U-L), and spirit, right?

The spirit is the container, I often described as spirit as a container within which mind, body, emotion and soul is situated. And so if a person that they are not – this is red card for a coach – when man, in this case, says to you, ‘I don’t feel my emotions’, it’s a red card to let you know that they are out of balance. Because being able to operate from those five aspects, which are core to your nature, core to who you are, means that you have to be imbalance all of those five areas.

Victoria: I think that it, where we are in our own evolution provides right now, we have a beautiful opportunity to, essentially, heal or these parts of ourselves to become a whole human as best as we can. Whereas traditionally, there’s probably been more one or two dimensions that we’re operating from.

And as we evolve as a globe and as a society, and with COVID and lockdown, and it is providing an opportunity to have deep reflection on who you are. And I say this, a reflection of the fractured parts of who we are and an opportunity to look at the fractured parts of who we are to then do the work with the right people around you that can support you on that journey to ultimately bring you on… back on track to then heal those parts of who you are so A) they’re no longer being projected in yourself and your lives and your relationships.

And, you also then open yourself up to have a deeper engagement with life, to your point of what you just mentioned, that to live and experience and feel to immense differences, that and areas that otherwise weren’t available to you 10, 20 years ago.

And this is how we are evolving. Our relationships are evolving and our consciousness is evolving. And I know that this is another conversation that I will get you back on for another podcast around the evolution of our consciousness and how that is linked to emotional intelligence.

However, right now, this is around helping and providing really practical steps to the challenges that men essentially are still dealing with. And relationships are still facing with a one-dimensional approach towards emotional intelligence. And this is exactly what you’re studying around the expansion of how can we actually embody, embrace and expand our own emotional awareness?

Jude: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And you used the word embody. It’s embodied cognition. We embody our emotions. We allow what we’re feeling. We allow what we’re feeling to come out and display itself in our bodies. If I feel happy, I smile. Hey, I smile and smiling is infectious. You stand in.. and I did it when I run programs, Victoria, sometimes I walk into into a room where I’m going to be facilitating and you get all the people sat around and we stone faces.

Right? And I stand up and I look at them. I don’t say anything. And I just come up with a big smile and guess what happens at once? That is the energy. Remember we spoke about energy and motion.

That’s the energy that is being communicated non-verbally. Because as you know, I’ve expressed as well as I do is verbal, 70% nonverbal. Emotions are nonverbal feelings that then come out through the body and then we can speak them, and thinking, feeling as you know, language and speaking, and then behaving that’s us a cyclical pattern and that’s the cycle that our emotions through.

And so I think from a from a male perspective, and particularly as a way of breaking down that persona that we’ve taken on from society, is really literally to take a step… take a step back. Breathe. And when you find yourself as a man, you find yourself responding as quote-unquote, a man, just stop and ask yourself what is happening here? What am I feeling? And am I allowing my feelings to display themselves? Am I blocking that from happening?

And speaking from personal experience, Victoria, I see it as a massive change at the moment for men that the loads are tons of men that I know that are on this same journey that you and I are on and are really becoming one with our emotions.

Using their emotions to facilitate their, using their emotions, to manage, to lead. That’s what transformational leadership is. Transformational leadership is really about allowing your emotions to lead using your emotions, to lead a group of people and inspiring change through that emotional connection.

It’s called emotion contagion. When you allow your emotions to literally contaminate – in a positive way – you allow your emotions to contaminate a group of people just by the way you speak, by the way you carry yourself, by the way you listen and make yourself available. It just drives change.

It transforms the people that are around you.

Victoria: What are some of the challenges that clients come to you for, Jude? When they book you on one to work with you to explore this topic? What, and I use the word symptoms – know they’re not sick, but what emotional distress signals are being displayed in their lives, that, that you automatically, after a conversation with them can very quickly diagnose in your coaching speak and your coaching tools and your training to go, ‘Right. This is an emotional intelligence crisis point’.

Jude: One of the key ones is particularly now that we are living in this age of the pandemic people working from home. And what have you, is that feeling of overwhelm. Overwhelm, reactivity and people that tend to have overwhelm and reactivity tend to have a racing mind. They can’t really turn their minds off. Ask people, do you know how to… almost like a light switch, do you know how to switch mind off? And many don’t.

Victoria: And a lot of that. Gosh, I’d love to dive into all of those points. A lot of it is yes, we are bombarded with this noise and I, say digital noise, white noise, distractions. And it’s like we are, particularly in this COVID lockdown, the last couple of years that the world has been experiencing that there is no off switch.

There is no division between work anymore in life going to the office anymore, we’re literally working from home. Often people have makeshift offices in their bedroom or their lounge rooms. And there isn’t, there is no shutting the door to even disconnect from that. And I have seen that, that in itself just causes a complete bleeding of boundaries and there is no protection over yourself and your personal life, and your personal space, and your relationship space, and your family space.

Jude: Yeah.

Victoria: There’s also an unconscious bias that I’m seeing operate from leaders in organisations that they do expect more, that they do expect you to be more accessible at longer hours or earlier in the morning, because you’re at home and there is no travel time.

There is no, ‘Okay. Let’s set the day and let’s finish the day’. And it’s one thing that I’m very conscious around with my own team, that there is a start point to the day. There is an endpoint in the day and your personal time is completely bounded off.

And it’s to create a sanctuary again with almost new rituals because we’re living in a new world right now. And it’s coming back again. If you were aware of your emotional state and your emotional needs, you’ve got such a greater capacity to then be aware, be responsive, be less reactive and helps you stay out of overwhelm.

Would I be correct in saying that in your studies?

Jude: Absolutely correct, Victoria. And I was going to add to that: be aware of being aware. Be aware. Being aware. Male leaders that I tend to coach experience exactly what you described there. And for them not being able to switch off means they bring work with them home.

Victoria: Well, they’re already at home for most of them…

Jude: That’s correct. That’s correct. But you know…

Victoria: They’ve had no buffer point between on the train ride or the tube ride or in the car. There’s no decompression space.

Jude: Yeah. They are bodily at home Victoria, but emotionally they’re still in the workplace.

Victoria: Okay. So on that point, I would love you to share a couple of pointers because I love the breath awareness exercise, and I love being able to set your alarm on your phone or whatever it is that you want to help you anchor into a few breaths during the day to start to increase your awareness. I love that tip.

What would be in your experience from men that you are coaching that they could take away listening to our conversation today, that helps them disconnect? What are some like, Jude with your own life? I know you have a young family and a wife, and what are some of the practices that you choose to bring into your world that you then help other clients and men to disconnect?

Jude: Let me share this one with you.

Victoria: Okay. I’ll take one for now.

Jude: I’ll share this one with you. And this is one I use all the time. I use it on myself. It’s a monastic practice or something that I learned when I was in the monastery. And it’s a very simple one. Men and women should use it. To connect with your emotional self at any time, anywhere, without anybody needing to know, pay attention.

And you and I, Victoria can do this right now. Pay attention, pay attention right now to the soles of your feet.

Victoria: Doing it right now.

Jude: That’s all you need to do. Bring your awareness to the soles of your feet. And as you do that, just notice the sensations, almost like a warmth around your feet. A swirling is happening there and it’s beginning to rise. Up to your knees, above your knees, to the base of your back. And it’s swirling and rising. That warmth that you feel is your energetic self, your emotional self.

Victoria: So even in doing this exercise right now, it certainly – it connects you to your body. And it draws you away from your head into your body, and obviously the base of your body, particularly at our feet. And I wondering if we can take that a step further as a second takeaway for our listeners that maybe something that they can do a couple of times during the day to stay connected to their body, and also create this as a ritual potentially at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day, if they can, where they can remove themselves just from the office space or the home space and take a walk around the block and park themselves on the bottom of a tree for a while and do this exercise just to help decompress and disconnect from the day before they then move into the home space and the relationships space.

Jude: Yeah, that’s correct. Use the intelligence in your energy to do what you do. And you’re doing is a lot more sharper, a lot more focused, a lot more human.

Victoria: There was like, Jude, I could continue to stay here for another two hours and keep talking to around this, ’cause I love this topic. And I think it is, it’s such an incredibly important topic for us as human beings, as we continue to evolve and how our consciousness has an opportunity to evolve. And the other areas that you specialise in is leadership and leading via EQ. And that would be a lovely conversation that I would love to get you back on for another podcast conversation. So if you’re willing.

Jude: I look forward to it.

Victoria: Thank you so much for joining me today. And I said, look, I could have stayed here for another two hours having this conversation, but there are so many wonderful insights and we’ve got the mobile timer to stay conscious to at least a handful of our 23,000 breaths during the day to help us stay connected to the energy of our emotions inside of our body, connecting the soles of our feet to the earth where we can at various times throughout the day to stay connected to our body, which helps us then stay connected to our emotional parts of who we are.

And I think just even practising and making a commitment for two of those actions and takeaways will start to have a profound difference and start to exercise and develop that muscle.

So that was amazing. Thank you so much for sharing some of those tips.

Jude: Thank you, Victoria. Always a pleasure. And I look forward to coming back.

Victoria: I will definitely have you back. ‘Cause I’d love to explore leadership now and EQ. So if you would love to book a session with Jude and get a copy of our transcript, you’ll see that on the bottom of our podcast. And you can certainly find Jude over at Hello Coach. So again, Jude, thank you so much for having us here today.

Amazing conversation is always incredibly insightful and wise and practical. So I look forward to talking with you again.

Jude: Thank you Victoria, speak to you soon.

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