When we’re wearing the many hats of a creative entrepreneur, how do we develop a vision of where we might go?
How do we let go of our day to day ego-involvement in order to see the bigger picture?
The answer lies in integrating “Business Intelligence’”with our “Emotional” and “Social” Intelligence.
Business, Emotional and Social Intelligence explained
Business Intelligence is what helps us transform the information we gather about our career or venture into meaningful and useful data that can helps us make decisions and take action.
Emotional and Social Intelligence help us better understand our own feelings and reactions - as well as those of other people. In this way we are able to build empathy and compassion and use our insight to guide our thinking and behaviour, and manage and/or adjust our emotions to adapt to our environment and achieve our goals.
These seemingly-contrasting types of intelligence form a powerful tool that drives Level 6 of the 7 Level model we’re using (similar to the Yoga Chakras) to potentiate our creative career or business, and help us develop a comprehensive vision for our direction.
At this level, we learn to balance our ‘wants’ and personal preferences with the wider considerations of our creative venture as a whole. We also balance our conscious, worldly ideas with our unconscious, intuitive knowing, making the most of the full gamut of information available to us.
This part of our 6th Level work is inward-looking.
By looking at the inner workings of our business, our internal processes and our intuitive feelings about our path, we are able to more accurately answer the questions:
But at Level 6 we also need to do outward-looking work. Once we’ve identified our unique gifts, talents and creativity, we determine how we can best use them to collaborate with others to make a difference in the world.
The value of collaboration
At Level 6 we recognise that the impact we can have in the world is much greater if we connect and co-operate with others who share our values and purpose - people we resonate with on a deep level. Our tribe.
This builds on the work we did at Level 3 where we learned to function both as a team player and a solo flyer - able to embrace collective opportunities without our ego getting in the way of seeing what’s best for the whole. But also able to act assertively in favour of our own best interests, when the situation demands.
At Level 6, we take on this idea with an even greater degree of maturity - recognising our limitations and assuming a larger sense of identity. This is a shift from being independent to being interdependent.
But how do we do all this work? How can we successfully identify our strengths and what works? How can we work out how best to use our gifts in the world? How do we develop emotional, social and business intelligence?
We do it using Pattern Recognition.
How Pattern Recognition increases our Emotional, Social and Business Intelligence
Pattern Recognition is one of the fundamental keys to our work at Level 6.
Our ability to see and perceive patterns in the world is what allows us to develop these different forms of intelligence and find the best answers to the kind of questions I just mentioned.
When we recognise patterns in how we or others feel and behave and how different aspects of our business function, we are able to better predict likely outcomes of our actions and so more successfully determine the most suitable actions to reach our goals.
Using dreams to connect our conscious and unconscious needs
As I mentioned earlier, Level 6 requires us to balance the conscious and unconscious.
Dreams are one of the ways to do this. They link the conscious and unconscious mind, the upper more transcendental levels with the lower, rooted ones; the bird’s eye view with the ground.
Dreams use symbols to illuminate the connection between our instincts, feelings, impulses and our deepest needs and desires. They can even help unlock the mystery that unites the individual with the universal.
“Dreams are representations of our inner world as it struggles with the demands of the outer one...Dreams open up the way for us to see things in a new light, revealing hidden feelings and understandings, desires and needs, rejected selves, unused talents, and missing pieces of our wholeness. They are often profoundly irrational images that uproot the conscious mind and open it to something larger.”
The role of intuition in Pattern Recognition
Intuition plays a big - if predominantly unconscious - role in our ability to recognise patterns.
It allows us to grasp the essence of things, cannot open ourselves to an understanding other than that available via the conscious mind.
We live in a culture that favours logic over intuition and we are not taught to honour this faculty. This leads us to discount our own hunches because we can’t logically justify what we sense. Over time, this leads to a suppression of our intuitive faculty.
We need intuition to embrace the mystery of the 6th Level. To grasp larger, more transcendental concepts we need the more direct perception available through our intuition.
Developing our vision
The insight that comes from Pattern Recognition is meaningless unless we ultimately use it to create a vision for our career or business.
To create change, we need to be able to imagine it.
Our vision is the blueprint for what we’re trying to build.
We design our vision using all the insights we’ve gained at other levels by strengthening our unique creative voice, developing a heart-centred approach and discovering how we best resonate with our audience.
With clarity of vision, we can recover our childlike curiosity about new possibilities and feel braver about trying out these new approaches.
We may go through many iterations of blueprints as our life unfolds and our understanding deepens. Often a new vision replaces the old one after a time of crisis. We literally emerge from the darkness into the light of new understanding and resolve.
The demon of illusion
Illusion - the demon of the 6th Level - is the polar opposite of vision. Instead of opening up the future, it holds us trapped in a past illusion of how something ‘should’ be but isn’t.
“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.”
Whereas visions are a fluid and changeable source of inspiration, an illusion is a misguided ‘certainty’ that must be held down by force. Inevitably, this constant expenditure of force depletes us of energy.
6th level in balance
When we achieve balance at this 6th Level, we are intuitive, perceptive, imaginative and creative. We have good memory and good dream recall. We are able to perceive patterns, visualise, and imagine different outcomes, ultimately finding a guiding vision that gives meaning to life.
Yet balance at this level also means we are able to ground ourselves in the important structural levels 1-3, and filter intuitive information in order to use it wisely in our daily life.
Imbalance at the 6th level
Imbalance at the 6th level, on the other hand, shows up as a lack of vision.
We are insensitive to other people’s feelings and our own, we have difficulty both in remembering and seeing the future. We lack imagination, are unable to visualise, or remember our dreams.
We are also often in denial (i.e. refusing to see what’s going on), dogmatic and overly reliant on logic.
Extreme imbalance at this level may lead to delusions of grandeur such as ambitious plans for making money when we can’t even cover the rent, getting lost in fantasies, obsessions, difficulty concentrating, nightmares and compulsive habits.
We tend to be ‘ lost in our own head’, unable to rationalise at all - relying too much on intuition and fantasy and ignoring reality altogether.
We have difficulty tuning out stimuli and might even be incapable of sitting still due to fear of having to face up to the stuff we don’t want to think about.
Imbalance at the 6th Level can also show up as a conflict between our outer image and our real self. We might give up what feels natural and authentic in order to conform to an external image that doesn’t fit.
Achieving balance at Level 6 by developing 3 types of intelligence
The good news for the more ‘right-brained’ amongst us, is that the work to develop our emotional and social intelligence makes full use of our creativity and natural insight.
However, at first glance the kind of data analysis we need to do to develop our business intelligence - reviewing metrics, analysing income and expenditure, and watching for commercial trends - looks very is ‘left-brained’. But, in fact, it’s our right-brained depth of insight and creativity that will enable us to make meaning out of the results.
If we do this work to develop our emotional, social and business intelligence, we can gradually go beyond the purely personal in our decision-making, seeking not only to take into account the needs of all the other levels of our creative career or business, but to understand our position in the greater scheme of things.
We are able to reach a much larger understanding of what and who we are and our function in the world.
Level 6 Health-check
To get an idea of your stage of development in Business, Emotional and Social Intelligence, ask yourself:
Exercise: Make a Vision Board with an Emotional Intelligence twist
A vision board is a collection or collage of images and words that is generally used to help focus your intention on achieving an outcome.
As we’ve said, to create change we need to be able to imagine it. We need to something tangible to help guide our energy and activity towards manifesting something new.
But the process of using a vision board to increase our emotional intelligence is a bit different - although it may yield a similar outcome in the end.
In this exercise the Vision Board is used to get in touch with our subconscious so that it can tell us what we truly need or identify a way forward for us that we haven’t consciously acknowledged. It shortcuts the self-censorship that normally happens when we try to ‘envision’ our future.
Unlike the usual method of doing a vision board, for our purposes you DON’T need a clear idea of what you want to achieve before you start creating your board. In fact, it’s much better to approach the exercise with an empty mind.
Instructions for making the vision board
You’re going to go on a hunt for words and images that feel meaningful to you at this time.
Not that long ago, all you would have needed for this exercise was a stack of magazines. These days, with so much information coming to us digitally, you may not have any magazines in your home, or very few.
If this is the case for you, be creative about where you to find images and even text:
If you’re using digital images, you can use an online service like Canva to create a digital collage. If you have a Mac or iPad, Apple’s own free app Pages is great for this. There are also lots of photo apps that let you create collages and add text.
If you prefer to do it the old-school way, either print out digital images you’ve found or tear/cut images from magazines.
Steps to making the vision board
If the process reveals insight into a new direction but you need more clarity about how to achieve it, you can repeat the process but this time holding this new direction in your mind as you search for images and words.
If you try this Emotional Intelligence Vision Board exercise, please share what you discover in the comments!
Read the final post in the series - Level 7: Why Your Creative Mindset is the Key to Becoming Outstanding