210: Discovering Emotional Intelligence | Master Sales Series

When was the last time you practiced self-assessment?

This week on the Master Sales Series, George delivers the 10 components of emotional intelligence that have helped him to grow as a leader, a salesperson, and as an individual.

George: The Master Sales Series continues here on the “Conquer Local podcast.” I’m your host, George Leith. And thanks for joining us again this week. We’re getting fantastic feedback from this Master Sales Series. I was asked to do a presentation about a year and a half ago at Vendasta on a regular cadence. We have a program called “Ideas On Tap.” It’s kind of an opportunity for the community to come together and our staff to get up and present in front of the community. And I put together a bit of a presentation I’m gonna share with you today, and I think this is important for all salespeople.

I think that one of the things that really… When I started to understand emotional intelligence was when I started to become a better leader and when I started to become…oh, let’s face it, a better friend, a better partner, a better father, and definitely, a better salesperson. So, we are going to cover off my take on discovering emotional intelligence when we return on this week’s edition of the Master Sales Series from the “Conquer Local podcast.”



The 10 Core Components of Emotional Intelligence

So, when it comes to emotional intelligence, I actually call it growing up. I remember I was working for a guy one day and I pulled some bonehead move. And he looked at me, and he said, “When you’re ready to grow up, you’re gonna be fantastic.” I was 32 years old. It was a tough pill to swallow. You know, one of the things about emotional intelligence is that you really need to be able to assess yourself, and that is coming up with a level of self-awareness. And a lot of times, we don’t wanna do this. I struggled against this. The last thing I wanted to do was rip myself apart and start to figure out where I was screwed up. And it’s a tough one. But what I found is as I continued to read books and I continued to listen to podcasts… At that time they were CD training series. In fact, cassette training series’, eight-track… Anyways, you get the picture. Old as dirt.

1. Self-Awareness & Self-Assessment

But when I started to read and listen to those items and learn and then get comments from people like that on how to grow up, I started to understand the self-awareness is a really important piece of the puzzle. In fact, at one point in time in my life, I was going through a particularly rough patch, and I went to a psychologist. And I sat down with the psychologist and, you know, they do their thing where they ask you these questions and get you to really speak about your feelings, and it’s uncomfortable. And then you realize maybe this, oh… And then you get the bill, and it’s super expensive. You’re like, “Wow, if I could just do this myself.”

So, self-awareness is one of the first items when it comes to emotional intelligence. And it’s not… Listen, it’s not fun to rip apart. When I listen to editions of the “Conquer Local podcast” or watch myself in video recordings, I usually like to do it in private with a bottle of Bourbon and a box of Kleenex because tears will ensue and sobbing, and I will just get drunk and throw stuff at the screen and ask myself why I look that way or why I said that. It’s not a pleasant experience to self-assess. It’s like looking in the mirror, and you’re like, “What the hell is that? How did I eat something that turned out like that, that’s hanging off the side of my body like that?” You know, it’s tough. And society and all of the media that we consume and all the information that we consume says that you should be Ryan Gosling. You should be that charming, that beautiful, women love you. They walk into the room, and they go, “What? Are you photoshopped?” Anyways, I love that scene where she says that.

So, self-assessment and self-awareness is a really important piece. Now, it’s not just all about looks, folks. I’m not that shallow. It’s about really digging deep into yourself and understanding where you may have some weaknesses. And recently, I have learned that self-assessment also should be you identifying your strengths. So, this is a bit of an upgrade from the last time that I did this presentation. Self-assessment… At that time, I was just talking about, okay, find the things that are screwed up in your life and fix them and you’re gonna have a better life. But what I’ve also learned, and I’ve read the series on strength-based selling and strength-based leadership. And what it says is, screw the things you’re bad at. Double down, and triple down, and quadruple down on the things you’re good at. In fact, take the stuff you’re bad at and just hire somebody to do it. Don’t even try to be good at that stuff because you’re gonna be mediocre at best.

So why not focus over here where you’re really good and just become the best in the world at that shit? Here’s my example. You’re a really good tennis player. You’re really good. You got a lot of people come to you say, “Hey, you could be the next big thing.” You’re like, “No, but I’m not very good at golf, or hockey, or table tennis, or body contact lawn darts, so I’m gonna go over there and master all this other shit and then I’ll do a little bit of tennis over here because I’m pretty good at that.” See, that’s what I’m talking about. When you do self-assessment, it’s not always the negative piece where you need the bottle of Bourbon and the Kleenex. When you’re sitting there watching yourself do a presentation, or you’re listening to a presentation you’ve done, or maybe you gotta look at pictures of yourself because you’re a fashion model or something like that, you wanna also look for the good things and then figure out ways to make those even better.

2. Open Mindedness

So, the first piece of emotional intelligence is the ability to take a look at yourself and to do some assessment. Next up, you need to be open-minded. And this is tough. Because what I’ve found with being open-minded is when you’re really driven, and motivated, and you’ve got your plan and… Has anyone ever said this to you? “You are the most stubborn SOB I have ever met.” People have said that to me. So, being driven and motivated and having a drive can also mean that you’re just friggin stubborn and you’re not interested in looking outside at other things. I have found that to be a good leader and to have people want to follow and to lead a team. You have to be open-minded. Because there could be a great idea right there and you don’t wanna miss out on it because you’re so damn bullheaded. So, open-mindedness is a really important piece of gathering that emotional intelligence.

3. Curiosity Towards Others

Now, the next item, and you’ve heard me talk about this quite a bit. I’ve been beating the drum about being a student. It’s curiosity towards others. I like people. I really do. I like learning about people. I like meeting people. I like seeing what makes them tick. I like learning from them sometimes what not to do. I like learning from them what to do. You need to really have curiosity towards other people. And I think that that’s part of building that genuine connection with people because people can see bullshit coming a mile away. They’ll just look at you and say, “No, that’s not genuine.” That’s one thing I just can’t stand, it’s those people that are like, “Oh, you look so fantastic.” And I know I look like shit that day. Like, don’t tell me stuff like that. Be genuine with me. Say, “Ooh, you’re a little tired?” So, having that curiosity towards others, but being genuine and not giving that… you know, where you’re just kind of being grandiose and not being authentic.

4. Empathy

One of the most important pieces when it comes to emotional intelligence is empathy. Living your life in the other person’s shoes. One of the first times I ever heard about empathy was attending my very first Dale Carnegie course. It was in 1989. You know, the whole treat others as you would like to be treated. You’re meeting a person, and you know a deep dark secret about them that they’re gonna die. You would treat them differently, right? If you knew that they were gonna die the next day. So that’s that whole thing. So maybe not going that far, but when it comes to empathy, it’s really understanding where the other person is coming from. And I’ve had some situations recently about this that just taught me about this again where somebody had really… I was like, “Oh, what’s their problem? They’re so dramatic. They’re overreacting.”

And then dig into it, and you have curiosity towards them, and you ask them some questions, and you find out that they don’t feel very safe in their position, and you haven’t really talked to them too much. And in that time, you know, drawing from some personal experience where I’m super busy, and I find that that’s one of my big challenges, is I need to make sure that I make time for the people that are important in my life. And it could be family. It could be coworkers. I could be friends. I’m not talking about any one particular group, just saying that you need to have that empathy and try and live in their shoes for a day and I think you’re able to connect a little bit better and it definitely is one of the key components of emotional intelligence.

5. Accept That You Don’t Know Everything

So, next up… This is a tough one, especially if you really like to be right all the time. I like to be right. But accepting that you don’t know something, it’s a tough one, especially if you’re driving hard, you got all the answers, and you’re gonna kick ass, and take names and… But I don’t really have all the answers. It sucks. I’m almost 100 years old, and I would think that after all these years, that I would have all the answers, but I don’t. In fact, every day that goes by, I realize how bloody stupid I am. I’ve found that… You know, I’ve been very blessed to be able to travel all over this world and meet a lot of people, and I realize that, you know, I have learned a lot in the last just couple of years. So, now, I just go into every situation like I’m just dumb as sh*t. And I wanna learn. I wanna learn as much as I can from all the people that are around me. I’m just accepting the fact that I don’t know.

I was educated in the Rosetown school system in the middle of Canada where you could freeze to death in less than 30 seconds if you’re not wearing proper clothing. I need some help. I need to continue to learn, and I need to accept that I don’t know, and I need to be seeking that knowledge.

6. Remove Toxic People from Your Life

This was a real tough one for me, but I believe it to be one of the things that changed my life. And that was removing toxic people from my life. It’s tough. You’ve got a group of people that you call your friends. By the way, friends is the most overused word in the English language. It’s right up there with LOL. It’s used a lot. And are they really your friends or are they just somebody that pushed the button on Facebook? And then if they bring any sort of negativity to your life and they don’t help you get to the goals that you have, that’s a toxic person.

And sometimes those toxic people will be very close friends, or very close coworkers, or even family members. And that is a tough gig to remove those people. But I will tell you, after 40, almost nine years, here in a couple of months, removing toxic people from my life has been a game changer. And what I said was, “I’m gonna be positive. I’m gonna move towards these goals. I’m gonna do the impossible. I’m gonna conquer, and I’m gonna kick ass, and I’m gonna travel the world and meet people, and help businesses, and help salespeople.” And if you aren’t on that… Oh, “And live healthy, and eat better, and go to the gym every morning, and wake up super early and listen to frigging podcasts.” And if you’re not on that train, folks, then I guess we’ll just have to meet again in another life.

You know, it’s not been easy. It’s been tough. I’ve had to say goodbye to a few people there. Now, maybe they’re listening to the podcasts, they go, “Oh, that’s why that guy’s never got back to me.” But, no, it’s more of a, here’s where I wanna go, here’s the things that I wanna do. And that thing over there does not get me towards those goals, so I’m gonna remove it. And maybe it’s not even just toxic people. Maybe it’s just anything toxic in your life you’re going to remove it like, Red Bull. Sugar-free Red Bull. I got rid of that stuff, things got better.

7. Stop Lying to Yourself

All right, the next one. You’re gonna have to bleep this out, tBone. Stop lying to yourself. This is the person that we lie the most to. And this is the person that we shouldn’t ever lie to because it’s the person that should mean the most to us—ourselves. But yet, we lie to ourselves all the time. “No, I’m not fat in these jeans. No, I did a great job at work today. No, I was really nice to that person. No, I’m actually gonna hit that goal. No, I’m saving enough money. No, I…” And I could keep going on and on. A person very close to me says, “You know, you are the person that justifies more than anyone in my…” I know that this is one of my big problems because I am a sales guy. I’m supposed to take the objection and spin it around over here and show you the good part about it. It’s a tough thing for a salesperson. I’m in a fantastic relationship.

I do have to make this announcement. She’s gonna be mad at me for doing this. I’m gonna do it. Nance and I got engaged. We were in Thailand here a couple of weeks ago. We got engaged, and that was one thing that I said when I met this woman, and we fell in love was, “I’m not gonna lie to her, and I’m going to make sure that I’m going to stop lying to myself.” So, she’s holding me accountable. But I think that part of emotional intelligence is holding yourself accountable on this thing. I try to at least, once a day, look in the mirror and say, “How are we doing?” You know, see how things are performing. It’s constantly measuring and removing that, “No, everything’s going great.” No. When things are shit, tell yourself it’s shit and fix it.

8. Expect Success

Expect success. You just got to expect it. You know, Tony Robbins, I don’t like to talk about him all the time, but he has been a very important part of this thing that I’m building called George Leith. And it’s a thing that actually I am manufacturing right in front of you.

And this is actually one of his lines, so I wanna give credit for it, but it really struck me. He’s like, “I built this thing.” This thing, and maybe he’s talking about the business, or maybe he’s talking about the entity, maybe he’s… He built that. The same way all of us could build what we have. I’m actually sitting in a studio that I’ve sat in over the… How long we’ve been doing this? We’ve been doing this 10 years, 15 years. This gentleman, that is our sound engineer, Mr. tBone, Brent Blazieko built this thing that he’s doing. He used to work at a local radio station, one of the top producers in the business and said, “No, I’m gonna do my own thing.” And now he’s producing for TV shows and is producing for… You name it. He built this shit. And the same thing is true of us. We can build this shit. It’s every day we do it. We need to expect that success. If we take the proper emotional intelligence, we assess on a daily basis, we measure our progress, we have empathy for the people around us, we stop lying to ourselves, we should be able to see that progress of success. A lot of bleeps.

9. Never Stop Starting

Next, never stop starting. I love this. I love this. Never stop starting. So, I just recently started on this thing, and I didn’t even know it was gonna be possible. Get this, last week, I rode 25 miles in 90 minutes on the bike. And I Googled that sh*t, and that’s good. In fact, for somebody who’s got double hip replacement, that’s really good. I made a promise to myself when I got my hips replaced, and I got this second chance, I don’t wanna just walk around, I wanna do some cool stuff. Maybe I could even maybe do an iron man. I don’t know, could be possible. Let’s try and do some stuff. So I’m gonna start this biking thing. So, this morning, I was actually able to get 27 miles in 90 minutes, and I think I can get to 30 by the end of the week. If there’s enough Red Bull… So, never stop starting means always have something new that you are trying to accomplish.

So, we’ve got these goals. Some people call them wildly-important goals, some call them big hairy audacious goals, but you gotta have some sort of goal. Here’s the difference between a goal and a wish. A goal is something that you push for every day, and you measure your results, and you push to get to it. We need to be starting some things. Never stop starting. Even if the world kicks you in the teeth, you need to pick yourself up and start starting again.

10. Start Finishing

Now, the other piece to this is, maybe this is the thing that really has changed when I look back over the last six years because I’ve had a lot of fun and I’ve had some success in the last six years. And if I measure up all success I’ve had in the last six years now, the 24 years before that were not all that successful. This one thing that I believe has made the biggest difference is I started finishing.

So, I was out for some drinks one day with a buddy of mine. We’ve known each other for quite some time and he said to me, “You know, you are probably one of the best starters I’ve ever met, but I don’t actually think you’ve finished anything.” Wow, you wanna talk about getting kicked right square between the eyes. This guy just roundhouse kicked me right there. And not because he was trying to be an asshole, I actually thank him to this day for what he was saying. In 2018, some people would say, “Oh, that’s rude. He should not be interjecting into your life.” No, it’s actually called being a friend. We used to go to our friends for advice, not online for advice and he just offered it up, and I really appreciate it. But he was right. Yeah, I started a lot of sh*t, never really finished any of it.

So, we wanna start, but we want to measure, and we want to finish. Now, the reason that we don’t finish is we don’t wanna fail. And failure is a really tough thing to accept. You know, it’s that whole thing, you’ve seen it online. It’s a success, and it’s got the squiggly line, or success, and it’s got the iceberg, and then there’s a whole bunch of sh*t underneath it that isn’t all that pleasant. That’s why we don’t finish. We need to be starting, and we need to be finishing certain things and certain components. I have the privilege of working with people in sales organizations all over the world and… Listen, there are some people that are crushing it. I got one young gentleman that I’ve been working with over the last four and a half years, earned double the money that he used to earn last year. In fact, it might even be closer to triple, just crushed it. Had an amazing year and it was life-changing.

He walks around… I’m not talking he’s walking around arrogant, he’s just walking around that he can do pretty much anything. He’s figured out the formula for success. It doesn’t mean that the world isn’t gonna kick him in the teeth because the world is not fair, and we all know that. But it’s a matter of, he’s just continuing to start, he’s continuing to measure along the way. He knows where he wants to go. He expects success. He stopped lying to himself. He removed a bunch of toxic people from his life. He accepted that he didn’t have all the answers, so he’s listening to podcasts, and he’s reading books, and he’s constantly learning. He’s listening to his mentors. He has empathy towards the people that work around him. He has curiosity towards others. He’s self-aware. He’s open-minded, and he has been finishing. Interesting how that all works.


This is a bit of a formula for you that… Listen, I didn’t write it, stole it from a whole bunch of things that I read around emotional intelligence. I’ve tried to give you some stories, how I’ve applied it in my own life and how other people that I have close personal relationships have applied it in theirs for success. I hope that you’re able to use some of these items. We’re gonna share with you this fabulous presentation that was put together by my good friend, Brian Larson. We continue with the Master Sales Series, small little snippets that you can listen to while you’re doing your cardio, while you’re walking down the street to that big business meeting that’ll just make you that little bit more aware and a little bit better in your journey to conquer. My name is George Leith. I’ll see you when I see you.

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