Announcer: Please note disclaimers at end of show. Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman. During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before and a new slant on investing, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.
Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it. And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the Complete Solution for Real Estate Investors™.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to another edition of the Creating Wealth Show. This is your host, Jason Hartman. This is Show No. 140, and I want to wish everybody a very happy holiday and Merry Christmas and hope you are enjoying this time of year. I know 2009, for most people, has been a very difficult year from a financial perspective, but we’re getting through it together. It wasn’t as easy for me as usual either. Things are definitely more challenging than normal out there.
But with every problem is an opportunity and the opportunities abound like crazy. One of the deals that I’m looking at purchasing right now would have never been available when the economy was booming. I mean you just really have to look for the opportunities in downtimes because they are there. And in downtimes, that’s when the rich get richer and they can pick up assets when other people can’t. So as long as you can keep things moving in an upward direction, and most people are either treading water or moving behind, unfortunately, you really have an advantage to create more wealth and more financial freedom in your life.
So that’s why we talk on the Creating Wealth Show about businesses that can produce extra income for you, and the ultimate investment, which is, of course, income property. Nothing beats it. Nothing beats it – nothing in the world that I know of. I’m going to definitely be so bold as to say gold and precious metals – and gold has been on a real rally lately, but that’s really not a rally potentially; that is really just showing how the dollar is losing its value.
I was talking to Doug this morning. I’ve had him on the show a couple of times. We talked about how gold is really a proxy and silver is a proxy for the dollar losing value, and how 2,000 years ago, an ounce of gold would buy you a pair of sandals and a toga. Today, it will buy you a pair of men’s shoes and men’s suit. An ounce of gold – it’s consistent in its value and over the years, we talked about how an ounce of silver would buy you a decent lunch, would buy you a nice lunch today; it would buy you a nice lunch ten years ago, a nice lunch 20 years ago, and a nice lunch 30 years ago. We had a guest on the show before talking about silver and he said silver will buy you about three gallons of gas, and that’s pretty much always been true.
There are little ups and downs and fluctuations in all of that, of course, but income properties, far and away, are the best investment, better than gold and silver because it has a multi-dimensional nature. We’re going to be discussing that on our conference call, which I hope you’ll join us for. A lot of you have registered. That will January 7, 2010, and we will be talking all about our predictions for the New Year for 2010. And they are looking pretty neat, like there’s going to be a lot of great opportunities out there for you, so be sure to tune in for that. That’s free.
We have a white paper that is over 20 pages long that we’re just putting the final edits on now. I think we’ll make that available to you as well. It’s going to be a small charge, minor, like $20.00 probably. But the white paper will be an awesome resource because it’s looking pretty awesome. It calculates a lot of the stuff that you don’t see calculated out there in the mainstream press or really anywhere in the press, where it accounts for the multi-dimensional nature of an income property investment. So not only will it predict whether the market will appreciate or depreciate or stay flat, but it takes into account the multi-dimensional nature of that investment, which I don’t see anywhere else and I read a lot of newsletters and I look at a lot of media. I don’t see anyone else doing that. We’re going to discuss that on our call on January 7, 2010, and it will be in the white paper as well, so make sure you take advantage of both of those things.
Our website is being all redone. Our web developers are on vacation this week. Good for them, but I wish they were working. But we’ll launch that very soon, probably right after Christmas and before New Year’s hopefully. We just have some great stuff coming up: Creating Wealth Bootcamp on January 23; Masters Weekend in March. Be sure to get engaged in our sale – we have a sale until Christmas time, 25 percent off, and you just type in the promo code “christmas”. No capitals, I believe, and type that in and you get 25 percent off any of our products or our coaching programs, newsletters, anything like that. Take advantage of that.
My charitable foundation, The Jason Hartman Foundation, is launching its own show, which is all about financial literacy for young adults. This is aimed at the 20-something crowd, graduated from high school and college, 20-something, starting your career out type of crowd. And The Jason Hartman Foundation is all about financial literacy for young adults.
We’re launching a new show, called “The Young Wealth Show.” Check that out. That’s pretty much it. You regular listeners know that every tenth show, we talk about a non-financial topic, a non-business topic, but as I always say, it always seems to relate back to business and finance in some way. This one does.
Today, we’re going to talk about some psychological things. We have an interesting guest, Dr. Susan Fletcher, and I think you’ll really like what she has to say, and we will go to that interview right now. By the way, Show No. 150, we have booked, I will say, a guy that had a huge impact on my life back at age 17, and that is Dr. Denis Waitley. I don’t know if you’re a fan. I sure am. He’s a great inspiration and he’s done a lot of great writings and publishing and speaking, and he is slated for Show No. 150. That’s a big name guest, folks, Denis Waitley. Tune in for that one. Let’s go to the interview with Susan Fletcher. I think you’ll really enjoy this piece and here it is.
Interview with Dr. Susan Fletcher
Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Dr. Susan Fletcher to the show. She is a psychologist and she’s the author of a fascinating book, entitled, Working in the Smart Zone. Susan, it’s great to have you on.
Susan Fletcher: Thanks for having me.
Jason Hartman: Tell us what the “Smart Zone” is and what is the concept around the “Smart Zone?”
Susan Fletcher: Well, the “Smart Zone” is where you work to the best of your ability emotionally, behaviorally, and intellectually. So these strategies and the idea of the Smart Zone can be applied at work, as well as at home.
Jason Hartman: You really kind of focus on the emotional intelligence aspect, which I know became very big with the book of that same title, which I read years ago. What is emotional intelligence? Can you tell our listeners?
Susan Fletcher: Emotional intelligence is something that anyone in the business world would need to know more about because organizations that have a higher level of emotional intelligence are more productive, have less turnover, more satisfaction. So basically what it is is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, while being able to read and understand the emotions of other people. People with a high level of emotional intelligence don’t get derailed by their emotions or by other people’s.
Jason Hartman: Very good point. There’s always been so much talk about IQ, and this is really EQ, the emotional intelligence quotient. IQ is important, too, right?
Susan Fletcher: IQ is important, but IQ is very limiting and that’s not a disrespectful way to look at it. We do IQ testing here in my clinical practice. I’m in the Dallas area in Texas. IQ pretty much is set. IQ is based on your intelligence and your aptitude, and it’s not really a reflection of what you’ve been exposed to as much as it is what you’re capable of in terms of the way your brain works. With IQ, you can perform higher than that magical number you might get from an IQ test, based on a couple factors, like motivation or discipline. You can also perform lower with your IQ and that could be due to emotional factors, like if somebody is depressed, their IQ could look lower. They may not be capable of some of the things intelligence-wise that they might have been capable of before.
So the difference is IQ is pretty much set. After somebody who might have an IQ test in grade school goes on, that IQ is a number that’s in a range, but always kind of in the same range if they’re tested over and over and over as an adult.
EQ is different. The beauty of EQ is we can train and raise EQ. So somebody who might have an EQ test, which we do EQ testing also for organizations, and a number of people will do that. We can let people know where those gaps are in terms of their emotional intelligence and design programs to help people increase those areas for higher productivity and satisfaction.
Jason Hartman: Well, that’s great to know that it’s not fixed. It sounds like then, Susan, the EQ is more like a muscle and you can exercise it and develop it, right?
Susan Fletcher: Yes, you can. You can exercise it and develop it. The problem is there are a lot of people that don’t really understand that they’re not in charge of their emotions and that they can’t read other people’s emotions and be able to manage emotions well. A lot of times, we’re not the best rater of that for ourselves, so that’s why school systems and organizations do a really good job of helping people improve their EQ components, the different areas of emotional intelligence, without even really needing to test because they know these are areas that would improve and benefit from improvement based on what the job description is.
So really EQ is something that we can all learn more about, and school systems have done a better job of it than a lot of organizations.
Jason Hartman: Well, that’s good to hear, and actually kind of surprising to hear. But that is good. When you drill down into EQ, when you first started talking about it, my mind instantly went to in the workplace. Is it about not getting upset and controlling your emotions? What is EQ? Are there some certain definable categories of EQ?
Susan Fletcher: Yes. Well, what it is, is we would hope that everybody can manage how upset or frustrated they are in the workplace, but there are some people it is more difficult. Those are people who may not always progress in the workplace as much as they’d like to. Some of the components of EQ can include things like empathy skills. We have an e-newsletter that comes out every two weeks and we add a lot of value to that because we know people reading the newsletter are busy. We had one that was titled, “Empathy, Not Wimpathy,” and the reason is because just because you’re empathetic doesn’t mean you’re wimpy. And you don’t have to wear pink to have a high EQ.
For people to really understand, it’s the ability to listen, to have good empathy skills, good communication skills. If you have a fight with your spouse in the morning and you go to work, it’s the ability to separate the two so you don’t take it out on other people. The other side of it is if you have a bad day at work, you don’t go home and throw it all over your family. So it’s the ability to manage your emotions, and there are a variety of emotions that will be under EQ.
And EQ is one component of the Smart Zone model, but it is the major component. We also talk a lot about providing a high trust environment, and then we have ten concepts in the model that reflect EQ and trust. The EQ certainly is the powerhouse of what we talk about in the programs we do.
Jason Hartman: I believe in your Table of Contents you have one entry entitled, “Trust is Not an Agenda Item.” I find that to be a really compelling title. I’m a big fan of Stephen Covey and he talks a lot about trust. What does that mean that it’s not an agenda item?
Susan Fletcher: Well, basically – and I’m a big fan of Stephen M.R. Covey, the son of Stephen Covey, the one who wrote The Speed of Trust and it came out a few years ago, I believe in 2007, and I actually went through some of the training and they were very aware that I was finishing my book at that point. I love the ideas that he has and some of them are the same that we talk about. The difference is I don’t think that trust is an agenda item. You don’t say, okay, we’re going to build a high-trust environment. Let’s all pay attention to that and do a better job. I believe what you do is you create the high-trust environment so that people will follow that.
Let me give you an example. There are a lot of organizations that have a supply closet and they may lock that supply closet, and then they tell their employees, “Well, we do trust you in other areas,” in terms of their expense reports and things like that, but the environment itself really does breed the idea that we don’t trust you. So one of the things to do is look at the environment. How many locks do you need to have in order to get through things? Who has the major key? Who’s the decision maker? Do you allow entry level people in the organization to be able to have some room to make decisions or represent the organization with a customer?
So to me, trust is not an agenda item. It’s an environment. It’s a culture. So it’s what you do every single day in order to create the kind of environment where you raise the expectations so people know that you trust them. And if you think about it, that could happen for families, too, that you also need to let the rope out sometimes. Not totally. You don’t want gullible trust, but you certainly do want to give people the opportunity to show you that they can be trusted.
Jason Hartman: Good points. So are you really mostly on the organizational side or is this book meant for an individual, or is it both?
Susan Fletcher: Well, working in the Smart Zone is meant for a variety of target audiences. So we have individuals who will purchase the book off our website, but we also, for organizations when I’m doing opening programs for conferences or association meetings, or even retreats or some of the leadership development that we do, they will prepurchase the book for everyone that’s going to be involved in the program. And that way, they have the supplemental materials to what I’m doing onsite and we can do so much more with the organization.
So we do have organizations that will create what they call a Smart Zone Culture, so that they can all work to be in the Smart Zone and be able to let that trickle down to other people throughout the organization. Individuals will find this beneficial. We see a lot of organizations who will get this book for their organization or department.
Jason Hartman: You had a recent Success Magazine article, where you talked about the concept of the mental theater and how that creates sort of self-induced stress. Let’s talk about stress a little bit because it’s so prevalent in today’s society. How does the mental theater play into that and what is the mental theater?
Susan Fletcher: Well, to me, I think all of us have voices in our heads and it doesn’t mean we need medication for that at all. What it means is we’re giving ourselves messages and we may not even be aware of it, so I call that “Mental Theater.” One of the jokes I’ll make is that sometimes I’m in a fight with my husband and he doesn’t even know it because the whole mental theater is going on in my head because I’m thinking things just because worry is the misuse of imagination, if you really think about it. So if you’re worried about something or trying to deal with something at work or at home, many times, your imagination can go wild and you start thinking of all sorts of scenarios about what’s going on.
So mental theater is really that scenario that we play in our heads and we need to be really careful of that because that’s what can get us all worked up, more than maybe we need to. That might interfere with our performance or even with what’s in our head being able to come out of our mouth. Many people are afraid of public speaking and one of the reasons people are afraid is because it’s scary to them. They may not do it very often and you’re in front of a large group of people, many times your peers. We can talk ourselves into thinking the worst before we actually stand up and give that presentation.
So as a professional speaker myself, I know that I do a better job than most at managing that mental theater, especially if something goes wrong before you start. You have to get your head straight and get yourself thinking in the right direction so you don’t get derailed, and that’s where mental theater can really work to your advantage.
So you were talking about stress and with stress, I think that – I wouldn’t say all of it, but a good amount of stress we impose on ourselves. Some stress is good. For some people, that gets them motivated and adds energy to what they’re doing. But we have to be careful that it’s productive the way we’re thinking because the way you think affects the way you feel and that affects the way you behave. So if you’re really trying to increase your performance, you’re really trying to manage your emotions, then you really need to look at what kind of mental theater you have going on in your head with your thoughts.
Jason Hartman: Okay, so here’s an odd question for you. I’m going to just guess that you never get this one. Everything you said makes perfect sense and I completely agree that people sort of over-worry about things and so forth, but is there ever a time when it really makes sense to get worked up? The fact that we have that mechanism within us, the worry mechanism, the getting all worked up and stewing about something, is there ever a time when that actually is helpful?
Susan Fletcher: Yes. In fact, that’s what I would mean when I would tell people that that’s what sometimes gives you the energy that you need. Sometimes it’s good, and there are people that we’d like to see them maybe have more energy and be a little bit more stressed. So there’s eustress and distress. So eustress is the type that is good for people. The distress is the type that can interfere with your productivity. So really the line that you don’t want to cross is when your stress interferes with your daily functioning.
So as long as somebody’s stress is in a range that it doesn’t interfere with their daily functioning – they can get to the meeting on time; they can have the conversation with their coworker that they need to have, that they’re stressed about – as long as they’re able to be productive and it doesn’t interfere with daily functioning, then stress can be a motivator and also be good for people. No stress would be horrible, I would think.
Jason Hartman: Right because you’re either asleep or dead if you have no stress.
Susan Fletcher: Yeah. Either way, asleep or dead, you’re not productive, and also, you’re not very fun to be around. You don’t have a whole lot of energy. So it’s being able to keep it in check so the stress isn’t in control of you. You want to be in control of the stress.
Jason Hartman: I kind of equate that to the concept – I think it sort of spills over into the concept of forgiveness a little bit. And people hold a grudge and don’t forgive; that can be bad. But is there some time where it sort of makes sense to not forgive, to sort of keep the passion, if you will – I mean I could have easily called it anger or malice, I guess – but is there a time when that makes sense? I mean there are battles in life, right? And sometimes we need to fight a battle and we need to be passionate about it, don’t we?
Susan Fletcher: Right, we do. Your question is more about forgiveness, so there are times that it’s okay not to forgive, is that what you’re asking?
Jason Hartman: Yeah.
Susan Fletcher: I would say that there are times, but again, I would use that same parameter we were talking about with stress, that sometimes forgiveness can define a person. So if somebody works at one company and it doesn’t work out well, or they get laid off, and then they go to another company, if they can perform and move on from the bad thing that happened at the previous environment, then that means that they’ve got that all in check. But if the lack of forgiveness or the resentment continues into the next workplace, then that’s where there’s a problem. So I would say it’s very similar to what we’re talking about with stress. You have to be in control of it.
And I’ll tell you, some things are not forgivable. Some things you don’t have to forgive, but you have to be careful that you don’t let it define you. In addition to the work that I do as a speaker, as a consultant with organizations, I still maintain a clinical private practice in the Dallas area in Plano, Texas. And a lot of the people that I see, I see probably about ten patients a week still because I do enjoy that part of what I do in my career and have had this practice for 20 years, that what I find is that forgiveness is one of the hardest things for people to deal with. By the time they come into the therapist’s office, they spent a lot of time, most of the time, just stuck, not being able to forgive or forget, and letting things define them.
What I find some of the best steps are is to be able to change the way you look at yourself, to be able to work on that mental theater again. People that are in a Smart Zone are better able to really say, “You know what? I’m not going to let this define me.” And sometimes that mental theater in their head could be from the person or the organization, where they felt that they were put upon, that there’s some resentment still. A boss that says, “You’ll never amount to anything,” sometimes that’s part of their mental theater and they have to work hard to deliberately override that with their own thought process, and say, you know what? I can do what I put my mind to. And be able to see themselves differently to be able to move forward.
Jason Hartman: That’s a good distinction because I find it so popular for people and the various speakers out there on the topic to say just forgive everybody. I’m kind of thinking this sounds like a great idea, but when it really comes down to real life, are we supposed to forgive all of the evil people throughout history, who have murdered innocent people? I don’t think that’s forgivable.
Susan Fletcher: Or the things we see on the news today that are happening. So I don’t think it’s forgivable either, but it’s really that line about not letting it define you.
Jason Hartman: You tell people that they can improve their entire communication with just two simple little words. What are the two words? These are the $64,000.00 words here.
Susan Fletcher: Yes, and this is one that people can start using today. A lot of times, people ask the question “why.” So if you’re having a meeting or you’re involved with a team and you’re leading the team and there’s a big project, and somebody doesn’t meet their deadline, if you say, “Why aren’t you meeting your deadline?” you’re going to hear a whole host of excuses of why that deadline wasn’t met. In other words, they’re going to talk about the problem over and over and over. So “why” is not a bad question, but more often than not, we should substitute the word “why” for “what” and “how”. The difference is you could ask, “Why were you late on the deadline” and they’ll give you the excuses, or you could say, “What are you going to do in the future to make sure you meet the deadline on your piece of the project?” Or “how are you going to meet the deadline next time because we can’t afford for you to be late again?”
Then you get the other person talking about the solution and that’s a much better conversation to have when you ask how and what versus why because “why” gets you to be very problem focused, but “how” and “what” gets you to be very solution oriented. The beauty of “how” and “what” is the other person works harder than you do. You’re not sitting there trying to solve a problem for them. And we know that when people work harder and generate their own ideas, they are more likely invested in those ideas and following through.
Jason Hartman: Good point. What else would you like people to know about the Smart Zone? This is a long table of contents and there’s a lot here. What are buckets? Talk to us about that. There’s that famous movie, “The Bucket List.” Does this relate to that?
Susan Fletcher: Yes, it came out after the book did. I loved it because the metaphor of the bucket is a good one. I’ll tell you one of the reasons there’s a long table of contents is because people are busy and I wanted them to be able to pick up my book and just read relevant chapters, and then pick up the other chapters as they saw fit. I have another book that came out in 2005 called, Parenting in the Smart Zone, and we designed that book the same way because there are a lot of us that can’t pick up a book at the beginning and finish it through the end. So we want to just get the value in the areas that are most relevant to us.
So “The Bucket” is really just another form of the way that I help people with stress management. I think all of us have a bucket inside of us and when that bucket gets full, or things frustrate us or when we get stressed out, the bucket gets full, and then something small happens and we might react with what I call an exaggerated response. In other words, you might yell at somebody or blow up a little bit more than really you should for what happened.
So when the bucket gets full, we’re less in charge of our own emotions. I joke that when I was growing up, I was one of those kids that was a little bit oppositional and I liked to take a lot of risks. I had a brother and so my mom and dad were always floored when the only girl would be taking these risks. I remember my mother holding her hand out, almost like she was saluting somebody, saying, “Susie, I’ve had it up to here with you!” And to me, she was talking about the bucket because she was saying this is the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back.
The bucket gets full for all of us. Even weddings can fill our buckets. So what we have to do is we can’t wait until our bucket gets full. We have to learn how to empty our bucket before it gets full. So briefly, the way people can empty their bucket before it gets full is they can take care of their bodies. They can make sure they get enough rest. They eat. A lot of people skip lunch. That’s a bad thing to do. We can exercise. Some people, it’s going to church regularly. Some people, it’s doing things with their friends. We have to have things in our life that really are stress reducers before the stress builds up.
So the bucket theory is just being able to empty your bucket before it gets full.
Jason Hartman: So taking care of things before they become urgent then, it sounds like.
Susan Fletcher: Yes. And you know what? When we get busy and we have too much on our plate or we have a lot of responsibility, we tend to give up the very things that are going to empty our bucket. It’s the first thing we stop doing and that’s a shame. We shouldn’t do that. If you want to be in the Smart Zone, it’s not about balancing your life as much as it is about looking ahead and saying what do I need to do now to prevent my bucket getting full later.
Jason Hartman: The Smart Zone Secret, when you say take the focus off of yourself, and you also talk about extending the Smart Zone, what do you mean there?
Susan Fletcher: Well, the Smart Zone Secret is really important to me. In my bio, I know that you saw that I used to work for Dr. Phil. I worked for him when he was just finishing up the Oprah trial and that was in 1999 and 2000. And I had a very short time with him, a little bit over a year, and I worked in Courtroom Sciences. I ended up getting pregnant with my third child and then had some problems with that pregnancy. And then after he was born, I went back to my clinical practice and what I was doing because it was a better way to balance my life with three kids, three boys. So working for Phil, Phil always said we train people how to treat us. He used to always say, as he does on his show now, we need to put ourselves first sometimes because other people aren’t going to do that.
Well, while I agree with all of that, I really believe the secret to being in the Smart Zone is to take the focus off ourselves because I think we take ourselves just a little bit too seriously sometimes. So what that means, just very briefly, is to engage with people a little bit more. It doesn’t cost us money. It doesn’t cost us more time. So just say hello to the tollbooth operator at the airport. Don’t have long conversations because I’m behind you and I want you to hurry, but engage with people, your dry cleaner, the person that is waiting on you at the restaurant this evening. When he starts telling you all about the specials, just stop him and say tell us what you like on the menu. We want to know what you like. We’ve never been here before. Get them engaged in conversation with you. It doesn’t take a lot of time.
But what you’ll find is you’ll have a more enjoyable time and so will he because the bottom line is there are a lot of people out there in pain, dealing with a lot of difficulties, and we don’t know it. We don’t need to know the drama going on in people’s lives, but we can make a difference if we just engage ever so slightly with people because that’s how we extend the Smart Zone Secret. And that’s how we can create an environment of happiness and optimism without really needing to take on other people’s problems because the waiter tonight could be somebody’s kid who’s going to the community college and he doesn’t have enough money to sign up for classes again. And because he has an enjoyable time with you and he felt successful and it was more fun, he may be able, by the end of the night, to come up with some creative ways to make sure that he doesn’t have to sit out a semester.
We never know what’s going on and we can truly make a difference.
Jason Hartman: You really never know what’s going on in someone else’s life and I tell you, if you want to make the world a better place, right there is the secret. And it’s just a little, very easy thing to do. It’s so easy for all of us to do that.
Susan Fletcher: It’s so easy and we get so caught up in what’s going on that we stop doing that. And it just is not the way to be in my opinion. I think the Smart Zone Secret is just to take the focus off yourself sometimes.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, no question. You talk about something that is very common. We’ve all experienced what I’m about to mention in our lives. And I think one of the keys to success in life is saying no and eliminating things from our lives. Not getting more things in our lives, but some things, it’s really saying no and eliminating and reducing. And one of the things that it’s really important to reduce or eliminate is toxic influences. There are certain people that are just sort of toxic. There are certain experiences that are sort of toxic. How can we eliminate these influences, or identify them first, I guess?
Susan Fletcher: Well, it’s hard sometimes to identify them because we’re so caught up in it. It could be a family member. It could be a boss. It could be a coworker or somebody you supervise. Sometimes it’s difficult to know that that’s happening. We’re not able to put our finger on it. So what we have to do is we just have to pay attention a little bit more and we have to look at what our reaction is to people.
You first were asking how do we identify it. It’s difficult. I’ll tell you; sometimes other people identify it for you. Sometimes, people might say to you, “You know what? That wasn’t nice the way they talked to you in that meeting.” Or “You know what? I didn’t like the way she brought that up or he brought that up when you were talking about that particular topic.” Sometimes, other people, without using the word “toxic”, can identify it for you. But we all have to deal with people who have a variety of skills and we have to learn how to best manage that. So that was your first question about how do we identify it.
So your second question is how do you we deal with it?
Jason Hartman: Yeah, how do we eliminate it?
Susan Fletcher: Well, I wish we could eliminate it altogether because everybody has a couple people on their list. It’s really managing the way we react to it and that’s part of emotional intelligence, to kind of come full circle to what we started talking about earlier, is that we have to manage our emotions and our reactions so that we don’t let it define us. We really work to define it ourselves.
So here’s a tip I would tell people listening. If you know this is a difficult area for you and you have more difficulty, on the ones that are – I don’t want to say less valuable to you – but maybe there are fewer consequences, maybe there’s somebody who makes you nervous that’s involved in Boy Scouts or on a committee that you’re involved in through your children’s school, or if you don’t have children, maybe in the community, start spacing the ones that are easy in the very beginning. It may be somebody who intimidates you in your private life.
Start changing the way you think about it so you can act differently. In other words, going back to your idea about the muscle, exercise your muscle a little bit more and be able to manage your emotions when you’re talking to someone that makes you a little bit nervous. It could be your doctor.
And just try to figure out where are the areas and the opportunities where I can learn to work through when I feel like I should be quiet because this person is toxic, makes me nervous, or intimidates me. Identify some of those people in your life where you can start to behave differently in order to manage it better because it’s better to find the ones that maybe are less important or there are fewer consequences, and help yourself learn to manage it in those areas, and that will help exercise your ability on the ones that are even bigger in your life. Unfortunately, it may be a family member or a boss to be able to stand up for yourself and respond differently in the future. You have to practice before it really matters.
Jason Hartman: Okay, very important. Two quick areas I want to cover. I know these aren’t quick, but you can just summarize them because I know we have to conclude here. First one is generational differences and I just have to say, Susan, I love the fact that you covered that in the book because there are big differences in the psychology of baby boomers, traditionalists or matures, and Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers. Can you cover that really briefly for us?
Susan Fletcher: I can briefly and I’ll tell you one of the reasons I do include it in the book is because it’s so valuable. My Master’s thesis for my – I have a PhD and a Master’s in Psychology. My Master’s thesis was on men and women’s platonic relationship, mostly in the workplace. And what I found was there were generational differences. People that are up to about age 35, they’re very comfortable with having relationships with women that are platonic; in other words, that are not sexual in nature. People 35 and 40 and up, they were raised in a different generation. So even Zig Ziglar, who’s, I believe, in his 70s now, when he has a meeting with someone who’s a woman, he leaves the door open as a courtesy, just because he’s from a different generation.
So there are generational differences a lot of places and we need to learn more about that so we know how to best behave. It’s sort of like a lot of people in their workplace have to find out about cultural differences because they travel and deal with customers in a variety of countries. Well, it is the same thing that we need to do with generational differences. Otherwise, we’re going to have false expectations about how we’re going to manage that person or how we’re best going to relate to that person.
So a lot of baby boomers are learning to work with Generation Y, and Generation Y, those people just getting out of college and in the workplace. I’ve even had the experience in our organization where we had someone that worked with us very briefly. She wasn’t successful and we were disappointed, but one of the main reasons was because she was raised to think that everything she did was great. We did a great job of inflating the self-esteem of a whole generation by celebrating their every success and that generation, the Generation Y, does have more difficulty than other generations managing disappointments and managing things not being about them. And they’re entering the workplace and they’re asking for time off very early in their careers. They’re looking for more balance, and all those things that we do value, they don’t know how to best negotiate when they’re dealing with other generations.
So we need to do a better job of learning about the culture of the different generations to know their differences.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, no question Gen Y has been coddled more than any other generation in history probably, right?
Susan Fletcher: Yeah, and my children are 14, 12, and 9, and so one, I understand all that, so they already have it tough with me. I try not to make that mistake. And then they have a mom who’s a psychologist, so they have a lot of things that are trying to help groom them to be prepared for tomorrow. But it’s important for all of us to realize that we need to celebrate our successes as well as our defeats. There’s self-regard. Self-regard is what I’m good at, as well as what I’m bad at, and unfortunately, with Generation Y, we forgot the “what I’m bad at” part and they may be entering the workforce with fewer coping skills. And we just have to be prepared if we’re going to manage someone from Generation Y.
Jason Hartman: Good points. Okay, we have to wrap up. Can you just close with some of the Smart lifetime goals and give out your website?
Susan Fletcher: First of all, the website is FletcherPhD.com. If people are interested in the Parenting in the Smart Zone or the Working in the Smart Zone book, they can certainly order them off of our website. And then some of the life skills, just to kind of leave people with, are to look at the importance of being able to be solution focused, being able to be more proactive than reactive, learning more about emotional intelligence, and that would be being able to manage your emotions as well as understand the emotions of other people. And learn not to make emotional decisions, but to be able to think clearly in a logical fashion, with some emotion in it.
In the future, anyone who wants to be able to be in the Smart Zone can look at it in the areas of working to the best of your ability in the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you behave, and to understand all of those are connected. To me, that’s the best part of the story is that we can change the way we do things, we can think differently about things that have happened to us, or that are in front of us, in order to move forward to accomplish the goals that we’ve really set for ourselves.
Jason Hartman: Yeah, and that’s a great way to close. I think that’s like Victor Frankel’s Last Human Freedom. We get to choose how we think about any given situation, don’t we?
Susan Fletcher: Yes, we do, and the sad thing is a lot of people don’t realize that until later in life, but the good thing is people do realize it, so I would encourage everyone to realize the power they have to create a Smart Zone community and have a Smart Zone life.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. Well, Dr. Susan Fletcher, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate your insights.
Susan Fletcher: Thanks for having me.
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Duration: 37 minutes