Developing Emotional Intelligence and Self-Care Strategies for Travel Agents
It's a tough time to be in an industry that's beloved by many.
In this interview with Ahron Young of Ticker TV, Nicole O'Sullivan shares her practical strategies for developing Emotional Intelligence and self-care practices.
Nicole O'Sullivan: Thanks so much for having me.
Ahron Young: We often think about economic problems as just numbers on a page but right now we're very much learning about the emotional side as well.
Nicole O'Sullivan: Yeah, absolutely. And right now it's really about being kind to yourself because there are lots, lots are happening out there that's a little bit of out of, out of our control, isn't that?
Ahron Young: What does be kind to yourself mean?
Nicole O'Sullivan: So really, it's about understanding that right now in the travel and especially the rug is being pulled out literally from underneath everybody and so this is about the time now by working with your skills so that when businesses going to come back, it's going to be a way that you can navigate through your thoughts and feelings confidently, as well as identifying feelings and emotions more easily with your customers. So no doubt the travel companies at the moment are feeling quite stressed and scared about what the future looks like. So uncertainty is going to make it hard to think clearly and put some really good short-term goals in place now because when, if we don't get ahead of the curve, in terms of getting back to what the travel industry is that we know and love, you know, it's just going to be hard to navigate through what we need to look at for future we're going to be stuck a little bit in the past. So this is around, you know, keeping yourself busy and focused on small things so that.
Ahron Young: I just want to ask you about those. You mentioned short-term goals, and you mentioned each day keeping yourself busy. What sort of things should people be doing, particularly if they're unemployed, have been unemployed for a few weeks, and we also think of the long-term unemployed who'll be feeling even more difficult right now that they're now up against so many people fresh candidates who have more recent experience, for example, what are the short-term goals people should be having?
Nicole O'Sullivan: Oh, look at the moment especially, uh, you know, a lot of people in the travel space have a really good database of customers and I think right now we're feeling a little bit reactionary. Where, you know, talking about the refund processes and all the things that are going on in that space but right now look at proactively so you know, it could be little goals, like, you know, getting a refund back for a customer, like, get those little things that are happening in your world right now and set those up, instead of looking for future goals. So think also about how you can connect to your customer and stand out and make a difference. So it's not just calling them about the doom and gloom, you're calling them about, oh, it's your birthday today or, hi, it's your anniversary or, what is the next trip that you're planning so that we can talk about it and start to get excited about the little things right now? Because yeah, long-term is going to be a little while away, I think.
Ahron Young: Yeah, and also people who have higher levels of EI emotional intelligence are more effective impactful in life? Is that also the case when it comes to the workplace at a time right now?
Nicole O'Sullivan: Oh, absolutely. I mean, empathy right now is the most important thing that you could be having in your business, not just from a leadership perspective, but from a person to person perspective. So customers are feeling a little bit doubtful and suspicious at the moment, especially around travel agencies. So it's really important now that we are in tune and regulate what we're feeling so that we're able to then have those great conversations with our customers and understand that how they're feeling but also really how we're feeling. So it is important the emotional intelligence space at the moment to ramp up that human to human connection. So yeah.
Ahron Young: Do you think some bosses are scared of saying people who have too much empathy?
Nicole O'Sullivan: Oh, no, I mean, I guess there's that empathy versus sympathy, you know, you've got to look at the two and there's definitely a vast difference between the two empathy is just being able to really understand you and then understand the person but not sympathize or sympathize and empathize at the same time. So it's a, it's understanding and regulating your understanding of the situation and being able to really relay that to the customer so that they feel safe that they're in really good hands.
Ahron Young: And who are the people who are better would you say at emotional intelligence compared to those who aren't? Is there any telltale signs? Is there any way to be broad-ranging or is it person to person?
Nicole O'Sullivan: Look, emotional intelligence is one of the things that you can grow. You know, it's not like your IQ. Your IQ is generally set in stone but your EQ is it fluctuates. So it is about how you can put your finger on the pulse on yourself and understand and regulate your feelings and emotions and once someone can identify what those are in in your spectrum for yourself, then you're able to then work on little bits and pieces of how you're going to grow that emotional intelligence for sure.
Ahron Young: And how do we measure emotional intelligence? You mentioned IQ tests, there are plenty. What do you do about emotional intelligence?
Nicole O'Sullivan: There's also tests for your EQ as well and so and that's obviously something that I specialize in, I do a lot of EQ testing, so that I can help navigate teams on finding gaps of where they can actually bond together and look at how they grow. That social awareness, that self-awareness and all those things that are helping motivating them to get through to the next stages, so yeah, absolutely. That's what I love to do is to be able to help identify those gaps for people so that they can actually look at those short term goals and work on themselves and their own skills.
Ahron Young: Yeah, Nicole, really appreciate your time. Thank you.
Nicole O'Sullivan: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me.