Patrick Schwerdtfeger is passionate about introspection, self-awareness and emotional intelligence. As a motivational speaker, he focuses on global business trends including ‘Big Data’, shifting demographics and the social media revolution, but also studies communication patterns to hone his skills as a speaker. The past 15 years has witnessed an explosion of research in positive psychology, consciousness and the science of happiness and much of it has found its way into Patrick’s motivation programs. And being highly introspective and self-aware himself, he has started offering programs designed specifically around those topics. Public interest in consciousness and emotional intelligence is on the rise and it directly affect jobs including outside sales, customer service and management. An understanding of emotional intelligence and positive psychology are also essential when cultivating a productive corporate culture. More details are included below.
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Keynote Speech on Vulnerability & Shame
Brene Brown gave a brilliant TED Talk about vulnerability and shame (embedded below) and it definitely struck a cord, accumulating millions of views both on YouTube and also on the TED website. It described how those living “whole-hearted” lives embrace vulnerability and shame as part of their human experience, but Brene Brown inferred that all people (accept narcissistic sociopaths) have the capacity to engage with those emotions. Patrick disagrees and expanded on the concept in one of his own “Strategic Business Insights” weekly videos. Both are included below.
There is a fundamental difference between people and how they process their human experience. There are essentially two different types of people: those who experience vulnerability and shame, and those who don’t. But within the category that experiences vulnerability and shame, there are two subgroups: those who like talking about it and those who hate talking about it. If you’re curious what Patrick (or Brene) is referring to with “vulnerability and shame”, it’s the difference between I have a problem and I am a problem. The latter is based on the premise that your own personal qualities are contributing to the negative situation you find yourself in.
Self-talk like “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not tall enough” or “I’m not smart enough” or “I’m not pretty enough” are at the core of vulnerability and shame. People are embarrassed of their own qualities and worry that if others saw their full reality (including their ‘bad’ qualities), they would no longer be accepted. Or worse yet, they would be rejected entirely. Even still, vulnerability and shame is not always viewed as a weakness. Those who like talking about it view it as a strength because it allows for extraordinarily deep connections with other people. Vulnerability and shame are the birthplace of compassion and empathy, so those who are comfortable with these emotions have an ability to connect with others that is far more evolved than those who avoid ‘difficult’ subjects.
The people who view vulnerability and shame as a weakness are (1) those who don’t experience critical self-talk themselves and, hence, don’t experience vulnerability and shame and (2) those who experience vulnerability and shame but are either (a) afraid of those emotions or (b) hate talking about them. For these people, self-awareness and emotional intelligence are a weakness but for those who enjoy talking about it, they’re a strength. Patrick noticed long ago that he falls clearly in the second category. He is comfortable with his insecurities and self-doubt, and admits to them proactively. In doing so, people (including audience attendees) immediately feel connected and understood by him.
What are the percentage breakdowns of the different categories described above? Patrick doesn’t know and researchers have yet to delve into that question (at least to his knowledge). Based on his personal experiences, Patrick estimates that only 20% or 25% of people are comfortable and proactive with their emotional insecurities. He also hypothesizes that this demographic skews towards women. Women are generally more emotional than men and it follows that a higher percentage of them would be comfortable talking about them and sharing them with trusted friends.
“Some people live in the shallow end of the pool while others live in the deep end,” explains Schwerdtfeger. “The interesting thing is that those in the shallow end actually think they’re in the deep end! That’s all they’ve ever known. They have no idea of the depth some relationships are based on, and no amount of explaining will illuminate it for them. It’s like describing air to a fish. They have no idea what you’re talking about.” People in the deep end are fully aware of the shallow end, but those in the shallow end have no idea that the deep end even exists.
It’s basically impossible for someone living in the deep end to have a close relationship with someone in the shallow end. They don’t understand each other. The person in the shallow end will probably think the other one is crazy. The one in the deep end will think the other one doesn’t understand anything. These relationships generally become toxic to the deep end dweller. Plenty of marriages have ended for this exact reason and many of our societal stereotypes are based on it as well. Men think women are crazy. Women think men can’t communicate. It all boils down to this one distinction and understanding it will help you choose your friends and better navigate your life.
Keynote Speaker on Introspection and Self-Awareness
Patrick Schwerdtfeger is the author of the award-winning book “Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed” (2011, Wiley) and a regular speaker for Bloomberg TV. He spoke about “Learned Intuition” at TEDx Sacramento in August 2012 and was asked to come back in June 2013. He has spoken at conferences and business events across the United States and Canada as well as destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. So if you’re looking for a dynamic motivational speaker on introspection and emotional intelligence, please contact us to check availability.