The Happy Engineer Podcast

104: True Esteem – from Deep Insecurity to Unshakable Confidence with Teresa Quinlan | EQ Emotional Intelligence Expert Coach

In this episode, the amazing Teresa Quinlan shares the depth of wisdom that only 25+ years of experience as an executive coach and emotional intelligence thought leader can bring.

We uncover the link between self-worth and our attributes, and why that link is derailing your career success.

She put a spotlight on the truth that our own CHOICE of what to believe is the cause of our self-esteem fragility. This one insight will change the way you see your life experiences and results forever.

Teresa and I cover proactive and reactive practices that will help you create unshakable confidence, and strengthen your mindset in any area of your life.

As a professional coach, leadership specialist, master facilitator, and speaker, Teresa is building Emotionally Intelligent Organizations through Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Employee Programs, and Speaking.

So press play and let’s chat… it’s time to cross the threshold of IQ and expand your universe with EQ!

Join us in a live webinar for deeper training, career Q&A, and FREE stuff!  HAPPY HOUR! Live with Zach

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The Happy Engineer Podcast




Previous Episode 103: Increase Velocity to Land Your Dream Career with Gina Riley | Talent Expert and Career Coach




In the journey of confidence and insecurity, we often experience ups and downs. It’s a common struggle for engineering leaders worldwide, as I’ve witnessed in my coaching sessions and workshops. The question of why we feel confident in one moment and insecure in another resonates with many.

During our recent Happy Hour Live Workshop, we explored the topic of confidence and learned that it all comes down to the beliefs we choose.

I want to share three simple steps to help you shift your mindset and transform negative beliefs into empowering ones.

This transformation can have a profound impact on your career and life, as demonstrated by one of my clients, Eric.

Eric faced anxiety and disappointment during interviews, which hindered his career progress. By understanding how his mindset could be changed, he embraced new beliefs and turned the interview equation in his favor. He conquered higher-level interviews and landed a job he truly loved. Similar transformations are possible for you.

Let’s discuss how to make this shift in your beliefs. Often, the leap from a negative belief to its positive opposite is too significant to make in one step.

That’s where these three steps come in:

Step 1: Acknowledge that you are not always defined by the negative belief. For example, instead of saying, “I’m such an idiot,” start with “I’m not always an idiot.” This allows you to crack open the door to a more positive perspective.

Step 2: Be open to the possibility of a positive belief. For instance, if you struggle with interviews, say to yourself, “I’m open to the possibility that I can excel in interviews.” This bridges the gap between the negative and positive beliefs.

Step 3: Embrace the readiness and willingness to believe in the positive. Gradually shift your belief to “I am ready and willing to believe that I am smart.” This brings you one step closer to fully embracing the positive belief.

Once you reach this stage, you can confidently affirm the positive belief, such as “I am smart” or even amplify it to “I am incredibly smart and getting smarter every day.”

Remember, take these steps at a pace that feels comfortable for you. If one step doesn’t resonate yet, stick with the previous one until it feels true. The goal is to proactively reshape your mindset, empowering yourself with new beliefs that nurture courage and confidence.

If you need further guidance or have specific questions, I encourage you to join our open one-on-one coaching sessions during the Happy Hour Live Workshops. It’s a valuable opportunity to receive support and gain practical tools for your career.

Sign up to Happy Hour here.

Together, let’s build bulletproof confidence, shape our realities, and create the life and career we desire.

I hope to see you at the workshop and remember to crush comfort and create courage along the way. Let’s do this!



Teresa Quinlan is an Executive coach, leadership specialist, master facilitator, and speaker, who builds Emotionally Intelligent Organizations. She is an advocate for exceptional performance that is a direct result of each individual knowing how to be personally responsible for using their attributes, their IQ, and most importantly, their EQ, in reaching their highest potential.

Having spent over 25 years cultivating a rich and diverse set of skills, facilitating leadership learning, and presenting to all sizes of groups, her passion is focused on creating thought-provoking experiences that go beyond the moment and instead, stay with the individual for days as they contemplate the moments that made them laugh, the moments that led to ‘ah ha’, and the moments that triggered opportunities to challenge one’s status quo. It is within these moments that the inevitable occurs; personal growth and development; unleashing your greatest potential.





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Teresa, welcome back. It is so good to see your smiling face today. 

[00:00:05] Teresa Quinlan: Thanks, Zach. Glad you’re here. 

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:08] Zach White: Yeah, me too.  I’m glad. So we chatted, we said it was over a year ago now. It’s been a long time. Back in episode 31, which. Super excited Teresa. You’ll be happy to know you’re gonna be in the 100 s now. by the time this releases episode 100 will have already dropped, and uh, only one other guest has ever come on twice.

[00:00:29] That was Coach Khan Apostolos, who’s another rockstar, and I’m really excited that you’re back for round two. Because we did not have enough time in episode 31. So for the happy engineer out there, if you haven’t heard episode 31 with the amazing Teresa Quinlan, go check that out. you’re not gonna wanna miss it, but you know, this moment, I just wanna set the stage right at the end of our chat.

[00:00:50] We were talking about this idea of intelligence. What is EQ and emotional intelligence? The idea of, you know, getting smarter about our emotions, not just softer and fuzzier and feelier, and then. IQ and how engineers in particular, and it really hit home for me because this is Zach White’s story.

[00:01:10] My intelligence, my ability to get smarter, to learn fast, and to deploy that knowledge, to create value in my career is something that I deeply valued and was intimately linked in many ways directly like a highway directly linked to my self-worth, to my impression of my own. Value to the world and how I felt about my own esteem.

[00:01:36] it came up and you had some really interesting comments and I was like, oh darn. We’re at the end of the interview. We can’t dig into it. So I just wanna start right there and maybe if you would set the stage about what’s happening in that link for someone like myself. 

[00:01:52] when I’m in that place, my sparks my brains, and I’m sure we could fill in any other attribute of how I see myself linked to self-worth, what’s going on there. That 

[00:02:03] Teresa Quinlan: deep, deep, deep connection starts a long time ago. you imagine or can remember the moment you emerged from the womb, which I don’t think many people can actually remember that moment.

[00:02:15] However, we can remember very early in our life entering a social environment that valued intelligence, in fact valued the proof of our intelligence, right from kindergarten. Things like gold stars beside your name when you were capable of doing something like numbers and circles and colors, identification, and all of these really things that maybe at the time seemed inconsequential, but they were setting the stage for us to connect a strong amount of.

[00:02:45] Yeah. Self word to intelligence, and then it was just repeated year after year after year after year within a social structure of school and three years old. Sometimes people are entering school and they’re coming out at 22, 23. That’s a lot of years. Yeah. To be pressurized under the value of intelligence equaling your value, 

[00:03:10] Zach White: do you.

[00:03:11] Believe that that was by design, that we’re being conditioned that way, or is it just an oops consequence that then we come out of that system with this link and we’re unaware of how it’s impacting us? 

[00:03:24] Teresa Quinlan: I don’t think it was malicious. I don’t think people got around a table and went, you know how we can, pardon my French, fuck everybody up.

[00:03:29] Let’s do this. I don’t think that was the invention. I also think that if we are parents, That we’re under that social structure and also under then the parenting structure that reinforce the importance of that. Mm-hmm. If we’re also parents now and we understand how it has impacted us, we might parent differently.

[00:03:56] And not reinforce a value that might not be our child’s natural value system. So I know for sure that intelligence was not a natural value system that I possessed. However, the school system and my parents reinforced that, that was very important. Yeah. My son couldn’t care less about the grade he actually gets that’s not to say he doesn’t try hard.

[00:04:23] He certainly does. He just knows that it’s kind of neither here nor there for him. he studies does his best, gets a grade. Sometimes he’s surprised by it. Didn’t think I’d do that well, and sometimes he’s disappointed by it. Hmm. I thought I did better than that. And then he integrates that sometimes into the next effort he puts forward.

[00:04:44] But he’s not weighting his value, and you can tell he does not weight his value based on what that number says. 

[00:04:51] Zach White: That’s so interesting and mm-hmm. My childhood experience was very different than that. My mom was a teacher. My grandma was an educator and superintendent, my aunt was a teacher, like all in that world of academics, and it was, Not pressure that you must get as for me to love you or anything crazy like that, but my mom always said, Zack, my expectation of you is that she’ll do your best and you are very smart.

[00:05:21] maybe in a way accidentally created a fixed mindset in me around this identity of being intelligent. But regardless, you are very smart, which was true. Mm-hmm. And your best is a’s, so I expect you to do your best. And that means as, and I disconnected that dot and I actually never felt bad about that, or like it was unfair, or like I really just sort of accepted it and.

[00:05:44] got straight A, so I was valedictorian and everything. It just, that’s how it was. But then to your point, I come out as an adult and now I have this deep conditioning around getting the A mm-hmm. In life, which as you know, not always useful. and engineers, a lot of us can relate to that, particular mindset.

[00:06:03] You know, there’s a right answer. I need to get the A, get the grade, et cetera. And so, Let’s link it then to this emotional intelligence world that is your zone of genius. And if I remember right in our last chat, we, we kind of said this, this need to flex the muscle of intelligence for my worth and value blocks my, I don’t know if you say ability or just patterning of, of using emotional intelligence skills in life because I’m just always living in my iq.

[00:06:35] And how does it. Relate, if we need to get better mm-hmm in our EQ life to advance in our careers and to honestly just be more rounded and fulfilled and happy in life. Where does the block happen? What is it about this link that makes it. It’s so hard to be great at eq, 

[00:06:54] Teresa Quinlan: right? This is that threshold piece.

[00:06:55] That threshold piece of you and I go to the same school, we take the same program, we come up with the same technical skills, the same knowledge and information. And so in the workplace we reach a threshold of how. Far that will take us, and now individuals with the EQ side of it, the emotional intelligence side of it, when they’re in spaces that are challenging spaces, whatever that happens to mean, whether it’s challenging because it’s a high stakes problem.

[00:07:20] We’re trying to fall, solve a really complex problem we’re trying to solve. There’s a lot of ideas on the table, a lot of people involved. Money is tight. Whatever makes it challenging. Yeah. Our intellect will show up. And then all of these challenges layer on an emotional component. sometimes we blanket it under stress.

[00:07:41] Mm-hmm. Because that’s what it feels like in our body. And if we get nuanced with it, we might notice that we’re frustrated, annoyed, agitated, or maybe we’re feeling alienated or insecure. Fearful. Yeah. And the blockage of those emotions actually diminishes the capacity of our IQ in those moments. So we become dumber, essentially dumber in that moment because we get rigid in our intellect.

[00:08:10] We get fixed in what we believe and what we know, rather than staying open and broad to other possibilities by listening to other people building on using the word and. exploring ideas that we hadn’t been able to explore before, all because something as teeny tiny as an emotion gets in our way.

[00:08:32] Zach White: Can we geek out about the physiology of that for just a moment? Sure. Would that be all right? I imagine you can take this much further than I can, but what I think’s fascinating, and I’m just now connecting these dots in real time. This is fun. You know, the pressure, the stress, the fear, all of those emotions that you’ve described, you can see in the data the, the measurable impact of the, cocktail of neurotransmitters that’s actually being released in our body and in our blood during that experience.

[00:09:01] Shifts, you know, which side of our nervous system we’re operating from, from, you know, sympathetic and parasympathetic, and we literally don’t have access to the prefrontal cortex in our best thinking mm-hmm. Physiologically in that time. And so correct me if I said anything wrong there, but also I’m just curious, like, is that really the ex explanation of everything we’re just talking about?

[00:09:20] Or is there more to the story than just your biology? That makes us dumber in those moments. And just unpack that for me. 

[00:09:29] Teresa Quinlan: Um, there’s a little bit more. That is essentially what’s going on at the root of it is when we are emotionally hijacked, we’re in that state of fight or flight. Yeah. Our body physiologically responds, so it diverts all blood and energy away from things like.

[00:09:51] Rational thinking and into just reaction. Save yourself. Yeah. Basically what’s happening. that’s one of the things. So your description was perfect. The other thing that we have to remember is our brain is like seven, eight pounds of our body weight. It’s a pretty small percentage of our total body weight, but it consumes 20% of our glycogen stores.

[00:10:13] So when we eat food, our brain takes 20% of what we just consumed for operating. Now when we are in those challenging situations, and we are going to move ourselves from a default reaction of being fixed to a growth mindset of being open and expansive. Our brain is gonna ask us for more energy because what it wants to do is predict it.

[00:10:39] Wants to just predict what you know your past experience is. It wants to use everything that is secure for you to predict what happens next. It doesn’t want to do this other stuff because that requires more energy. So physio, physiologically, that’s why it feels 

[00:10:57] Zach White: hard. Oh, I love this and, and I can relate too.

[00:11:01] The importance of available energy. We talk about this in our coaching with engineers all the time. It’s like we’re not here to work on health and nutrition and fitness primarily, we’re here for career coaching, but a strong mind exists inside of a strong body and you need to eat well, you need to sleep.

[00:11:17] We need to take care of the physical system so I can, have the strength and the resources I need for the mental system. As well, so here it is. We’ve got this biology factor and we have this conditioning from age three that pulls us into the, the Zack White who comes outta college, where I literally, on the scale of my worth in the world, it’s just like, how smart do I feel relative to my peers?

[00:11:42] You know, it’s like that is very much what was happening, and can I deploy that to get accolades and recognition in my career? Mm-hmm. So how do you break that? How do you get out of the place? Of that overly conditioned link to understanding esteem or worth in a different way. And what is the different way and how do we start to break one and start the other?

[00:12:06] What is that process? Mm-hmm. 

[00:12:08] Teresa Quinlan: It is more about dispersing the self-worth energy amongst multiple things. So we can begin by simply expanding what contribution actually means. Hmm. So if my worth is only because I can contribute the right answer, then I’m a pretty narrow self-esteem lane to stick to. that could be very challenging for me emotionally.

[00:12:36] Now if I expand that to also believe in spaces where we are challenging our intellect. My contribution could be listening and asking great questions to help extract information from other people’s brains, and the right answer might come out of that, or the next step might come out of that. My contribution might be challenging the status quo and just saying what if.

[00:13:06] Hmm. So a, a slight expansion of how we view what our contribution can be would also mean utilizing probably a lot more attributes that we have. Like we have the attribute of intellect, but nobody has one attribute. That’s just not true. We have lots of attributes, so it’s expanding our contribution around all of our attributes, which really is understanding our all of our strengths.

[00:13:32] You and I could do an exercise where we look back on our life and we. Kind of timeline. A lot of our experiences that we remember where we had to step up in some sort of way and face something that was challenging, okay? Whether we succeeded or not is irrelevant. So we stepped up to face something challenging, and we’re gonna be asking ourselves, which attributes did I have to bring to that moment?

[00:13:54] And if I timeline myself from as far back as I can remember and move myself forward or do it in reverse, whichever works for you, then I’m going to notice repetition and attributes. I’m going to notice. Retribution attributes when I’m successful, repetition and attributes when I fail. attributes aren’t always things that are strengths.

[00:14:15] Sometimes an attribute shows up and it derails our success. Like I’m competitive sometimes. That’s a great attribute. Other times not so great. Yes, and I have to be able to recognize, does that mean the attribute is bad? Just because. It doesn’t help sometimes. No. I have to learn that sometimes that attribute needs an EQ counterpart to balance it in certain situations so it doesn’t derail success.

[00:14:44] Zach White: Mm-hmm. So bear with my engineering brain for a moment. I feel like there’s two different elements to the work that we need to do. One is this self-discovery, this, this knowing of who I am across these attributes, strengths, strengths that can lead to weaknesses or just pure weaknesses in my life. Through this awareness of where I show up and how I show up in key moments and related to contribution in particular.

[00:15:12] So we do that work. We end up with this inventory of who I am and how I. Contribute to the world around me, but then there’s the question of how do I intentionally spread and expand that link to worth If I do the exercise and I understand more of how I contribute, what’s happening then to create the link or the new conditioning.

[00:15:39] Is there, I mean, is it as simple as journaling or is there an action or an exercise to do there? It’s just become conscious of It Can you explain that? That piece? Yes. 

[00:15:48] Teresa Quinlan: To all of those things journaling, watching ourselves like a hawk. And documenting our experiences so we can learn from ourselves so that next time I’m in that situation, I have a better strategy to help me manage emotionally and manage the narrative that goes on in my head that keeps me fixed or narrow in my view.

[00:16:10] Okay? And so if I’ve done the self-discovery around what are my attributes and how do I contribute to the world, and what is my purpose beyond this one thing, then. While I’m doing this self-reflection, which is basically a journaling exercise, and I also have this attributes list built out, it becomes very easy for me to connect these two together and go, Ooh, next time I’m in a, I’m in a situation like this.

[00:16:35] The thing I want to. Catch that I say is this, and then I want to go stop sh quiet. That’s not true, and I’m gonna use this statement which is grounded in objectivity. This is true about me. I’m not using sunshine, rainbows, and pom-poms. Like, get over yourself. It’ll be fine. It’s okay because like a pep talk lasts five seconds and we are usually in challenging situations for a lot longer than five seconds.

[00:16:57] So we need something that grounds us objectively to believe what we’re actually telling ourselves is true. And in the process of repeating that over and over and over and over again, we eventually quiet the narrative that keeps us narrow and fixed and feeling stuck in those difficult emotions, and we expand the narrative that moves us through those things a lot easier.

[00:17:26] Mm-hmm. your brain training neurological loops, weakening some, strengthening others. It’s the constancy of the work. We may find that we never stop this work, which is okay. We may also find it gets a lot easier for us to do, and that’s the brain doesn’t have to work as hard anymore because you’ve now created a prediction that it can use that is helpful rather than using one that’s been unhelpful.

[00:17:51] Zach White: I used the phrase with my clients, We’re gonna do some mindset work. Yeah. And it’s, and it’s work for a reason, because, you know, what you just described is not hard to do, but Teresa, very few people are willing to sit down and put that energy in and do that reflection and create those links and practice, and practice and practice and do that work.

[00:18:12] So I’m, I’m just humbled again, it’s like, The little consistent energy, five, 10 minutes a day over time is where the transformation really happens. And for me, that’s why working with a coach has always been e essential. I need somebody there to hold me accountable and push me and challenge me and, feel like I have that accountability partner in these types of shifts.

[00:18:34] me link then, or I’m curious how we would link worth esteem. To confidence. Really popular word in the world of career, you know, do you have confidence? Confidence is what people wanna buy into. They hire confident people. You project confidence, you get more done. All the, we talk a lot about confidence and so first I just want your perspective is self-worth, self-esteem and confidence?

[00:19:00] Are these cousins, are they the same thing or is there a difference? How would you define those terms? 

[00:19:05] Teresa Quinlan: I think they’re in the same family and definitions are important. So if we’re defining them as being the same thing, okay. If we’re defining them as being within the same family, then perhaps we can talk a little bit about the relationship between these types of things.

[00:19:21] So My confidence comes from a space, an intellectual space, and an emotional space, and an intuitive space. So there has to be alignment for me. Hmm, that I know what my strengths are and I know what my weaknesses are. And when I’m in a space of a weakness, I’m pretty confident in saying I don’t know what that is.

[00:19:44] My esteem, my value doesn’t waiver When I have to say I don’t know what that is, I don’t know how to do that. So for me, that is an element of confidence in knowing who I am, knowing what my capabilities are, and knowing what my capabilities aren’t. My esteem is it doesn’t waiver. My confidence doesn’t waiver when I have to admit either of those two things.

[00:20:13] My ego doesn’t flare up when I talk about my confidence or I talk about my skills or my abilities or what I know I can do. And my ego also doesn’t beat me up when I say I don’t know how to do that. So my esteem is not finicky. 

[00:20:29] Zach White: I love that. And so what is it in your experience that creates. such a wave, such a, fragility in people’s confidence and esteem.

[00:20:42] These, this family of ideas and how we show up to a challenge. call it, uh, imposter syndrome, you know, we talk about these things that pop in. I have so many clients who are just crushing it in their careers, but you know, one day they feel on top of the world, nothing can stop them.

[00:21:00] And then, then the next day there’s this deep doubt, this sense of self-doubt and, Even beating themselves up or shame that can be piled onto that. So what is the thing that leads to this whiplash in confidence?

[00:21:15] Teresa Quinlan: Simplistically it’s choice of what I am believing. 

[00:21:19] Zach White: This is sometimes where the hard work of emotional intelligence comes in, because for me, it stems from radical personal responsibility.

[00:21:26] Teresa Quinlan: Why do I slingshot across moments of confidence and deep insecurity? I’m like, well, what are you telling yourself that would slingshot you into confidence? And what are you telling yourself that slingshots you into deep levels of insecurity? And I’m like, what do you mean? What am I telling myself? What goes on in your head that tells you you can’t?

[00:21:44] You are not. And this is so timely because yesterday in a session with the client, She has a task of tracking and journaling. Exactly this type of thing, negative emotional experiences and catching narrative and over several of the things that were tracked was so-and-so said this to me when I was young.

[00:22:05] So-and-so said this to me when I was young. I was told this when I was young, and so I asked her, do you believe them to be right? So and so said X, Y, and Z to you. Do you believe that that is true? Oh, no. Like so why? When you hear it in your head, do you believe it? And the pause here is intentional because that’s silence is what happens. Yes. In over and over again. When this is the topic, and this is the question, it is silence. Until they ask me. I don’t know. Why do I do that? I don’t have a crystal ball here. I don’t have a crystal ball here ex, except to be able to describe like the physiology of, it’s just a thought.

[00:22:56] You choose which ones you wanna believe. I look outside and I’m like, the grass is green. I choose to believe that is the color of green. If someone came along and said, it’s yellow, now we have an argument on our hands. they’re choosing to believe. If I have a thought that says I’m incredible and amazing, and I choose to believe that, wonderful.

[00:23:15] And I also have a thought that says, you suck. You can’t do anything. It’s my choice if I wanna believe that or not. So this is always gonna take us back to that self regard. What relationship do I have with myself? So which thoughts are actually mine and which thoughts don’t belong to me? Oof. We have them.

[00:23:34] So we have to ask ourselves, how did they get there? We know how they got there. We’ve been exposed to everything. Our mind takes an imprint of all of it, and a lot of our mind operates in the subconscious, like 95 to 98% of the time. Our brain is just subconsciously looping stuff over and over and over again.

[00:23:52] So if I heard it once when I was four, it’s been looping for 46 years. Yeah. 

[00:24:00] Zach White: Okay. I I’m gonna be your client for a moment. Okay, coach, I get it. And I’m willing to accept responsibility for the fact that I’m making this choice to believe a thought that’s not true, and it’s creating this whiplash in my experience, which that’s already a big hurdle for a lot of people to own that.

[00:24:22] But let’s say, okay, I’m, I’m on board for that, but coach. I don’t want to believe that negative thought that my dad told me when I was seven. That hurt me. But I have lived it out my whole life up till now, and I’m 37 and I still can’t get that outta my head.I don’t wanna believe it’s true, but I can’t seem to not believe it.

[00:24:43] Mm-hmm. It just seems to have control over me. It’s like on autopilot. Mm-hmm. Like, maybe I’m, I’m not actually taking as much responsibility as I think I am, but that’s the way it feels. It’s like, I don’t want this, but it’s just here, what do I do? Mm-hmm. 

[00:24:56] Teresa Quinlan: So we have proactive practices for training our brain and then reactive practices for when we notice it happening.

[00:25:05] So under self regard, when we’re doing these exercises, self-discovery exercises to discover what are my actual strengths, what are my attributes? When do, sorry, what are my attributes? When do they show up as strengths? When do they show up as weaknesses? What are my qualities, characteristics, my values?

[00:25:21] What am I good at? What am I not good at? And like, I don’t know about you, but we could fill a textbook of this kind of stuff. If we sat down and self explored in this way, there would be reams of information and I don’t know if it comes out to 50 50. I’m willing to bet the things I’m not good at is a much bigger list than the things I’m good at.

[00:25:44] Much bigger list. There’s so much stuff out there that I do not know.

[00:25:48] So from things like that kind of depth of self-exploration, we could do mind training. I am statements that resonate and speak of who we actually are when we say them. We are not just saying them to say them, we’re saying them to practice, an emotional and logical connection to narrative. Yes. So if I say I am adaptable and I’m not actually adaptable, then I’m gonna try to train my brain to believe something I don’t believe.

[00:26:21] So I’m gonna create an emotional dissonance. So I’m, when I say it, I’m gonna feel something negative, right? I’ll try to think something positive and that never works. So our IM statements have to be spot on. I am impatient. Say it, feel it. Learn it, agree with it when it’s true. I am impatient. I can be impatient, so I’m not always impatient.

[00:26:49] I can be impatient and this is when I can be impatient, and that’s how it shows up as a weakness. So how I manage and navigate that is I am a great listener, so I have natural attributes that buffer other ones. Oof mantras, do the brain training. Then when we are, which creates a narrative loop. So we’re building neurological pathways.

[00:27:15] So we have internal dialogue that is healthy and accurate to what we know of ourselves, not to what other people have told us what I know about myself. Now let’s take a little tangent. What if I’m not very objective about myself? So this is where our interpersonal relationships, the ones that are really close to us, are super important.

[00:27:37] Cause we are gonna wanna bounce some of our thoughts off of people that we trust. Lots of psychological safety, have deep compassion and love for us, wanna bounce some of the things off of them reactively when we find ourselves in the moment of the negative narrative. First, we have to be aware it’s happening.

[00:27:56] So we have to practice awareness, paying attention to ourselves, watching ourselves like a hawk, It’s like self listening. Mm-hmm. What did I just hear myself say to myself? Yeah, 

[00:28:05] Zach White: really 

[00:28:05] Teresa Quinlan: good. I heard that thing. That leads to this feeling, that leads to more of this thinking that leads to this behavior that rubs everybody else the wrong way or makes me withdraw.

[00:28:18] Or makes me avoid, or I get super passive or I get violent and really aggressive. Whatever it does, it leads to a toxic behavior. Yeah. We need to catch it and then have a powerful practice in that moment. my preference, my technique was to be like, shut up Christine, because everything in my head that was negative that I would say about myself sounded a lot like things my mom said.

[00:28:41] And so I just called it Christine’s voice. So I just like, okay, it’s not true. I know it’s not true, and that would quiet it long enough for me to actually manage my emotions and keep my intellect turned on. Other people have figured out what theirs is called, named, or feels like and has designed their own like, And then insert name or description to basically flex your brain to go, no, that is inaccurate.

[00:29:10] The accurate statement is this one. And so we close the loop, we correct the inaccurate statement by. Creating the new one and allowing that to play and that automatically will flex our emotional state and generally in a more healthy, well emotional state. Our intellect flourishes. 

[00:29:27] Zach White: a five minute dissertation of 25 years of emotional intelligence training right there.

[00:29:32] There’s so much we could extrapolate on. Mm-hmm. But I, I wanna put an exclamation point on a couple of the things you said that as an engineer have been really transformational for me to wrap. My head and heart, my IQ and EQ around one was the point you made about an I Am statement that it’s not true at all for you today.

[00:29:52] And I think people fall into the trap with affirmations or mantras and things, and especially intellects people who always live in our head. We will craft the statement that is aspirational. I want to be this thing, so I’ll declare it as an I am statement, and I’ve done this, but what happens in the beginning is it’s so false to my whole nervous system that I’m saying it, but no shift or transformation in my life is going to happen because the dissonance is so great.

[00:30:23] You’re subconscious. Like, forget that Zack. You don’t actually believe that that’s bogus. It’s just words on a page. It’s no different than any other thing. It doesn’t actually create the impact. And so the matching of the emotion and the, the thought as key to the practice is really important.

[00:30:42] And I liked how you gave the little example of,I’m impatient, I can be impatient, you on occasion. I show impatience you kind of walk your way towards something that’s more accurate, it’s more true. And then you can now layer in, well, I am also a great listener. I am these other qualities.

[00:31:03] And so now I begin. To actually experience the shift because my heart and head are, are in congruence. There’s coherence, if you will, between the two. I think that’s so important cuz a lot of people give up on these kinds of practices because they don’t see any shift or they just feel like it’s a waste of time.

[00:31:20] It’s like that’s not true. This is stupid. It’s Zach’s telling me to lie to myself every morning. Why bother? So I think that’s huge. And then the other piece of this that I don’t want people to miss was this idea of how important. the relationships to other people are to your own growth, isolation is such a common thing with engineering leaders who I coach because it’s uncomfortable to face these things and it’s new and my ego gets in the way and, oh, I’m, I’m smart enough, Teresa to figure this out.

[00:31:49] I don’t need anybody else. and we totally lied to ourselves about. Our growth journey. And so I just wanna double down, I call it being fully known. Mm-hmm. But this idea of, you mentioned emotional, psychological safety and the willingness to tell each other the truth. Having someone or someone’s in your life who know you in that way, and you’re willing to be known in that way with them.

[00:32:16] Woo. That’s like everybody needs that. So if you don’t have that in your life, go get that. Let me ask you, in the world of, I think you called it inner engineering, when we, before we hit record today, and I obviously as an engineer, I love that phrase. Mm-hmm. Is there anything that you would give us to think about is there one space or one thing that you think.

[00:32:40] Unlocks or really builds momentum for someone in this idea of inner engineering that you would just point to and say like, this is, this is the place where you get the most leverage. When you come into this knowing yourself and wanting to inner engineer, what would that be? Ooh, 

[00:33:00] Teresa Quinlan: that is a loaded question.

[00:33:04] One, because this area is so tricky. It’s so volatile. It’s equal parts fascinating when we learn things about ourselves and equal parts painful. Yeah, and I think one of the pieces that.

[00:33:26] Maybe doesn’t unlock it, but one of the pieces that we have to recognize is it’s hard. This kind of inner engineering is hard work. You will meet questions where you’re like, I don’t know, and you’ll experience a level of frustration because I. We’ll hear a voice in our, in our head that says, how do you not know about yourself?

[00:33:45] This is a question that’s asking about you. How do you not know the answer to that? And the level of frustration I’m in my own way of achieving what I need to achieve Can. Completely derail us and send us off of the work in a snap of a finger or something. I’m not doing this anymore. It’s too hard. I should know it.

[00:34:05] If I should know it, why should I be doing it if I don’t know it? Like our own narrative will completely send us into the stratosphere. Yeah. So I, what I think is really important is that emotional self-awareness is, it’s going to be hard. Yeah. Except that it’s gonna be hard. Sometimes it’s gonna suck, sometimes it’s gonna be painful.

[00:34:24] And also, And also it will be interesting, fascinating, life changing it. You’ll have moments of complete joy when you unlock things that you learn and know about yourself as much as you might even find yourself crying, not because you’re sad, but maybe because you are sad for the pain you’ve been in.

[00:34:49] And here’s your moment to let it go. And so it goes, and that for me and a lot of my clients, that’s how it comes out. When it goes. 

[00:35:00] Zach White: I’ll just confess my, my weakness in this work is because it’s hard and because it’s uncomfortable and terrifying and not easy to wrap my head around because it’s not happening in my head.

[00:35:15] It’s happening in this emotional realm and. Just stay busy. I’m, I just don’t have time for this work. I, I numb it out by working harder on my career or I, I need a break. I’m just gonna watch tv, or I’ve got stuff to do with the family. Or you just stay too busy to make time for yourself to do that exploration.

[00:35:36] And I was guilty of that for a long time and I still, to this day as a coach, having done a ton of this work will fall into that pattern of. I have too much to do to make time for myself to continue as if I’ve arrived, which is such a complete joke though this work doesn’t end at any point, and I think this is why.

[00:35:56] You know, you can go through your twenties and thirties and forties and wake up one day not knowing yourself at all because you just occupied yourself with the things that are totally reasonable. To occupy yourself with and never do the work. So I guess my heart’s cry would be, don’t be Zack in that regard.

[00:36:15] Get started right now. listen to Teresa go get help and do it. But I dunno, do you wanna add anything to that before we 

[00:36:22] Teresa Quinlan: Yeah, I love that share cuz it also made me think about when we are intellectual, a full circle moment here. When we are highly intellectual, a lot of what we do is pen to paper. We wanna write things down, we wanna answer the questions, get it out there, correct, correct.

[00:36:37] Check mark, check mark, check mark. We wanna do that sort of thing. Self-discovery I find way easier, easier to do when I’m gardening out for a run on a drive. I find that the allowing myself to contemplate is a much more. Emotionally well space then have seeing the question on paper and trying to come up with all the answers.

[00:37:04] So approaching it from, can’t remember who coined the phrase an emotion scientist. It could have, it could be mark bracket, approaching it from an like a scientist. A curious and experimental a what if, like these are just theories I’m rolling around with none of it’s fact yet I’m rolling around with some theories and seeing what unlocks or lands that feels like, Ooh, that’s it.

[00:37:27] And basically what I coach myself on and others on is when you go, Ooh, that’s it. Then you know, you hit it. But uh, if you’re still like, Hmm, I’m not really sure, then you’re right. You’re not sure yet. So you’re not done experimenting yet. You’re not done contemplating yet things. These things take time and you are worth the 

[00:37:47] Zach White: time.

[00:37:48] Oh, Yes. You are worth the time. Teresa, thank you for this. Your time is amazing. I could go all day talking about these things with you in episode 31. When we got to the finish line and I asked about our usual question, you know, how do we want to guide and lead an engineering, happy engineer out there who wants more from their life and wants to unlock the EQ side?

[00:38:17] And you challenged us that time around definitions you know, I’m not gonna spoil it if, if the happy engineer listening didn’t listen to it, go check out episode 31. But same question to you. I’d love to hear where else you’ll, take us if I want. To go deeper in this work. I wanna experience happiness and fulfillment and build my career and, and have it all these, these aspirations.

[00:38:36] We want questions, lead, answers follow. So what would be the question today that you would lead the happy engineer with?

[00:38:50] Teresa Quinlan: What am I putting

[00:38:57] That make 

[00:38:57] Zach White: sense? It does. What am I shooting? 

[00:39:01] Teresa Quinlan: What am I shoulding? What am I supposed do in what am my obligation in, so in what I’m experiencing? What is actually from me and what is socially 

[00:39:17] Zach White: imposed? Yeah. Ooh, that’s good. One of my favorite phrases is don’t be a should head and yeah. Wow. Okay. That’s something to take home.

[00:39:33] Teresa, thank you so much. I wanna. Acknowledge you, your work, your expertise, your generosity. Uh, it’s just fantastic. It’s a pleasure to know you. I wish you a ton of success and appreciate what you bring to me and to the happy engineer community with your genius. And, um, how can people get connected with you and get to know more about your work and the expertise if they need help in this space?

[00:39:58] My website is 

[00:39:59] Teresa Quinlan: best iq eq, and that’ll take you to all the socials. There’s just one LinkedIn and programs and work and being able to connect, but also my YouTube page where there’s just a library of videos of snippets like this that you could just munch on, like consume it bit by bit by bit.

[00:40:19] Learn something about yourself. Put it in action. Learn about yourself, put it in action. You could do that for d. I was gonna say days on end, but there’s probably 400 plus clips there, so years. 

[00:40:29] Zach White: Yeah, I love that. And I’ll just acknowledge for you, for the engineer mind, part of why I love your approach is because it’s not just this eq, uh, bubble where we need to ignore our IQ in the process.

[00:40:44] You’re very, very good at bringing your whole self, your total intelligence into the conversation. And so I think every happy engineer will love your work. Teresa, thanks again for your time today. This is fun.