Kristy Arnett: The Benefits of Learning About Emotional Intelligence

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An interview with Kristy Arnett where we learn about her new role as an emotional intelligence coach, her experience of the Choice Centre and much more.

Kristy Arnett: The Benefits of Learning About Emotional Intelligence

[Image Credit: PokerNews / Jayne Furman]

Who didn’t fall in love with the adorable, intelligent and funny sideline reporter working for PokerNews?

Kristy Arnett was one of the best in the business.

Then she quit.

An urge to see if she could make it as a professional poker player pushing her head-first into a new challenge. 18-months later, with that goal fulfilled, it was time for the next phase of Arnett’s life.

It was time to see if she could change the world.

Arnett went back to school and learned how to become an emotional intelligence coach. She is now ready to take what she has learned and share it with as many people as she can reach.

In this interview, we talk about this journey, her personal struggles with anxiety and how she plans to make a change in the world through her involvement in a new app helping people find mentors.

*This is an abridged version of an audio interview you can find here.

From poker player to emotional intelligence coach, please do tell.

“I have a full-time position co-founding a company called Mentorer which is a mobile app for on-demand mentoring. It’s taken my attention away from poker, but I still get on the grind once or twice per week.

“I was a pro poker player for a year and a half. It was up and down. It was amazing. I made more money than I made at PokerNews, but it’s not what moves me. I see in you a passion that something else is calling you to be in service to people, and that’s what drives and moves me in a way that makes me feel good, connected and helpful.”

Emotional intelligence (EI) – from a student to a coach take me through your process.

“EI has been gaining a lot of ground lately in the mainstream media. The Harvard Business Review wrote an entire journal on the subject, and it was the leading indicator of success in all domains. Yale University has changed the name of the centre that had been researching this topic, and it’s now called the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

“EI is our ability to identify and manage our emotions and identify and empathise with the emotions of others. Emotional intelligent people take responsibility, they don’t blame others, they are empathetic, they are kind, self-motivated, have things they are passionate about and are inspiring.

“I started on my journey two years ago. My husband and I took a course on EI and Leadership. Our marriage was at a crossroads. We had been in a relationship for 8-years at that time. We both had stuff going on that was creating anxiety and depression. It was driving us apart.

“When we went to the class and handled those things together our marriage went to another level. He has passion; he is worthy and powerful and I the same. We are like that apart and together. As I have done the work and gone back and coached and have seen the difference in people’s lives when they have that self-worth and confidence and clarity of what it is they want to create. It’s beautiful.

“It’s easy for us to become scared of what we want. I have single friends who always wanted a family. I will ask them if they have been dating and they are like, “I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do right now?” I can see that they are afraid to say that they want someone because they are afraid of failure or what it that future holds. EI breaks that shit down. I am so passionate about coaching it.”

Isn’t communication within a relationship difficult if both parties don’t have a strong sense of EI?

“It requires vulnerability and being seen. It’s opening ourselves up in a way that people can hurt us but opens ourselves up to love. What people don’t realise is when we close ourselves off to protect ourselves from pain, we are hurting ourselves.

“What I have seen through coaching is people create a closeness and intimacy and passion they have always wanted. When people hide things and are not authentic, it creates space.”

Did you undertake your EI training in The Choice Centre?

“Yes, I did. Choice Centre is a place that teaches emotional intelligence. It’s an experiential course. Google have a course on emotional intelligence that sells out each time. It’s run by a man called Chade-Meng Tan. He wrote a book about it. Reading books is a great learning tool. However, to change thought patterns and create mindfulness and purpose in a way that breaks up what we have done for so long, experiential learning is better. It’s the difference between thinking about riding a bike and riding a bike.

“Choice Centre has a couple of weekends where it’s pretty intense. But you are doing interactive exercises and games. There is a little bit of lecture. It’s mostly hands on where you see the things that have stopped you and you learn to break through it. One of the things going on for me was I became so attached to how I thought things should look. If I set a goal for myself and failed, I would spend so much time beating myself up about it and being ashamed. It didn’t serve me. I learned to pick up tools to forgive myself and shift that energy. It’s easy to say, it still comes up, but it’s a continual practice. These times have been some of the most valuable experiences I have ever had, and a lot of fun.”

Why do some people bash on things like Choice Centre?

“I have to admit, in the beginning I was sceptical before I went. I didn’t understand a lot of it; how people were getting results and were seeming so happy. It seemed fake. Having gone through it, I get it now. But I also understand people’s fears. People are fearful of what they don’t know and what they may feel is unattainable for them. If they are in a place where they don’t feel that being joyful, healthy, free, accepting and loving themselves; if they don’t see that’s possible for them, they are going to see everything that someone else is doing towards that end as being wrong. When they say, things are weird, or it’s a cult it’s allowing them to feel safe where they are.”

There was a time you were the face in front of the PokerNews camera. What does it feel like to always need to look good for the camera? Did it lead to some anxiety?

“Yes, it did. I have always been a perfectionist, and it has to do with how I grew up. I had a Tiger Mum. I love and respect my mum and in many ways it served me because I have been able to achieve meaningful goals. But internally I took criticism very hard. I took it to my self worth. I became someone who would change to try and be what people wanted me to be. I was so focused on me; what I looked like, what they said, what they were thinking about me.

“It was awful living like that that. I had stomach issues, headaches and a receding hairline. It was difficult. It didn’t show up on camera because in places where I compete I am comfortable. But when I would go to a party or before and after interviews the constant worry about what people were thinking was tough.”

How did you use EI to deal with anxiety?

“It had a lot to do with the element of surrender and knowing what that feels like experientially. Gratitude also played a vital role. Gratitude is my ability to soothe the anxiety as to be grateful for who I am and what I have. It soothes the need to be different. Surrendering to ‘what is’ sounds like this weird woo-woo concept, but what it has done ‘in the moment’, I can say I am here now, this is who I am right now, and I am enough, and it’s ok. It calms me. Finding my self-worth from within and loving who I am. Who I am is loving other people and making a difference. In those moments if I can get grounded and be grateful and understand my current situation is ‘enough’ then those things help me.”

How do you go from being anxious about things to being ok?

“It’s hard, but there are many things you can do. Take gratitude as an example. One example would be to have a journal, wake up each morning and say five things you are grateful for and send them to a friend. It’s a practice that will eventually enter every area of your life if you make a commitment to practice. It will change and increase your sense of self-worth eventually.

“There is also deep work we can all do in finding where these triggers come from and healing those wounds. You can confront this by doing leaderships course or working with professionals. Practicing mindfulness, meditating and practicing gratitude can make a huge difference.”

There needs to balance between being ‘enough’ and also improving your life. Talk about this concept.

“That’s an excellent point. The distinction for me is this. Before, I was driven by a search to fill this void of ‘enough’. I was driven to get acknowledged, to be loved, because I felt accomplishment meant I would be loved because I didn’t love myself. Now I am driven by the difference I can make. The bigger person I am, the more I understand these tools, the better coach I become. I am driven by my mission to change the world instead of my mission to be loved and gain acknowledgement. This new way of thinking is more fulfilling than the old way. I am driven by my passion for people, and I am doing it in a way that’s exciting. It’s a change in perception that takes time to practice. Today, I can turn that anxiety and pressure into positive action.”

What books would you suggest for further EI learning?

“I would say, Brene Brown and Daniel Goleman. Chade-Meng Tan is also great. Also, books like the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz totally changed the way I look at life. He is incredible.”

Give my 14 Year Old Son Some Advice

“You matter. You make a difference in who you are. You are always responsible for the energy that you bring.”

Talk about your upcoming Mentor App

“It’s crazy when we find a passion in life how things just fall into place. My passion is coaching, inspiring and supporting people to achieve their dreams. The way to change the world is if we help and support each other. If we can tranferr the knowledge, we have into each other. Mentor will be launched on Android at the end of Dec. You can get on the app and find mentors in anything, for example, personal training, parenting, even poker, and each mentor will be user rated and will include their own rate per minute as to what they charge. There will be someone know matter what time of day. Our aim is that anything you need, any knowledge you need is available at all times. Mentors will have the ability to have subscribers, and people will also be able to schedule wake up calls from your favourite mentors. I am so excited because it will bring positive change to the world.”


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