It is safe to say that the world has changed.  How we navigate life socially, relationally and financially, particularly with our work life, has altered irrevocably since March 2020. The way that organisations, social systems and individuals operate in the world and the changes that need to happen NOW. The current models don’t work, the anger and fear that permeates the fabric of society everywhere is reaching a critical boiling point. It is clear things need to change. 

Rocked by this uncertainty many have begun questioning how and why they live life as they do. If harmony for individual, family and community is to exist (if indeed it can) what big shifts need to take place in thinking? The politicians are not going to do it on their own. 

The development of value, purpose and humility are the underpinning elements of the new frontier in personal and organisation growth and development, Spiritual Intelligence (SQ). We will look at what it is, why it is important to foster in yourself , your organisation and the impact on the the community.

Spirituality can be defined as: ‘the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things; ‘soul’ (the animate life, or the seat of the senses, desires, affections, and appetites) with ‘spirit’ (that part of us that connects us to each other and the Divine).

So what is SQ?

The need to foster greater spiritual intelligence within ourselves and our organisations for increasing profits and also fostering peace and connection is becoming clearer as we move through this pandemic, observe human rights violations in multiple global regions and the violent uprising of the disenfranchised. It is  no longer enough to just make money, organisations and governments need to pay close attention to their people. 

‘A term coined by renowned physicist and thought leader, Danah Zohar,  ‘SQ, or spiritual intelligence, underpins IQ and EQ. Spiritual intelligence is an ability to access higher meanings, values, abiding purposes, and unconscious aspects of the self and to embed these meanings, values, and purposes in living richer and more creative lives. Signs of high SQ include an ability to think out of the box, humility, and an access to energies that come from something beyond the ego, beyond just  me and my day-to-day concerns…Researchers say that 70 percent of adults throughout the world, regardless of culture, education, or background, have had what they call “peak experiences.” Peak experiences are those moments when you suddenly feel that everything is beautiful, that there’s a tremendous oneness to being, or that love suffuses the world.’ [4] 

What does SQ mean for the Individual?

Being able to deal with anything life brings to you and navigate it without getting thrown off emotional, intellectual or spiritual course you are able to navigate change and adapt with ease because you are responding rather than reacting. ‘Reactivity’ is driven by ego needs and ‘Responding’ is driven by your Inner Being based on your values, purpose and the desire to maintain an alignment based action strategy.  

“Spirituality gives people a transcendental perspective. Furthermore, spiritual intelligence brings about a deeper understanding of life, heightened values, a strong sense of purpose and a high level of motivation” [4]. Further more,  Scott A. McGreal MSc. states that “spiritual intelligence” consists of forming an all-encompassing narrative that provides an overarching purpose for one’s life that allows a person to attribute meaning to everyday activities [2]

Resilience is like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly. The way we process information and our ability to remove the personal aspect from the situation has been shown to create greater resilience and emotional stability in an individual than those who catastrophic or become the ‘victim’ of the situations they encounter. Danka Zohar states, “Positive use of adversity is also the ability to recognise that suffering is inevitable in life…This principle is about owning, recognising, accepting, and acknowledging mistakes.” [4]

What does SQ mean for Organisations?

Organisations that foster and support SQ amongst their teams profit in both talent and financially. Researcher Lyle Spencer studied managers of a $2 billion global division of Siemens with 400 branches in 56 countries. When he compared the competencies of the star performers and average performers (Star performers were the Top 10% performers with average annual sales of $29.8 million against $17 million annual sales of average performers), he found that the differentiators were the four competencies of ESI (Emotional and Social Intelligence) and not a single technical or cognitive competency. [1]

How to foster greater SQ in yourself:

Commit to taking time for yourself each day. Just 5-15 min is enough to begin to refine your subtle awareness; paying attention to the breath, to thoughts and to emotional shifts with yourself. Meditation, Mindfulness and Yoga are often slow enough in pace and encourage reflective awareness to be able to create space and integrate the different aspects of mind and body. A commitment to clean eating, expertise and clean thought/language ‘self talk’ is also a great way to begin to hone your SQ. Notice how you speak to yourself in any given moment and ask if you would speak to others in the same way. Often we are far less forgiving of ourselves than others and this is where we can being to improve the relationship we have with ourselves. 

How to foster greater SQ in your workplace

Analyse what your organization does to build the three kinds of capital material, social, and spiritual. What changes could you suggest to help foster great SQ in your teams. 

Look at what motivates people in your organization. 

  • Do they generally operate out of fear, craving, anger, and self-assertion or mastery, self-control, cooperation, and exploration? 
  • Why is this the case? 
  • What impact does it have on how people work together?
  • Consider the timeframe on which your organization bases its decisions and concept of success. 
  • How could you reframe thinking to be more holistic and take into consideration the long-term impact of decision-making?

Brene Brown states in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ that ‘Spirituality is recognising and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning and purpose to our lives.’ [5]

As we question the changes that need to be made within society, within families and within ourselves to ensure we survive and that our planet survives, I believe these questions are worth reflecting on. The old cliché of  ‘survival of the fittest’ simply does not make sense anymore. It is survival of the most adaptable, resilient and courageous; those with the courage to drop their fear, those willing to embrace difference and inclusivity, those willing to listen and acknowledge pain and suffering in others. These are the qualities of survivors and the marks of true strength and endurance. 

RESOURCES:

 [1] Dr. Sandeep Atre, https://www.socialigence.net/blog/difference-between-iq-eq-and-sq-the-social-intelligence-and-why-sq-is-the-future/

[2] Scott A. McGreal MSc., What is “Spiritual Intelligence” Anyway?, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/unique-everybody-else/201709/what-is-spiritual-intelligence-anyway

[3] Richard Griffiths, The Difference between Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence, https://sqi.co/the-difference-between-emotional-intelligence-and-spiritual-intelligence/ 

[4] DANAH ZOHAR, SPIRITUAL INTELLIGENCE: A NEW PARADIGM FOR COLLABORATIVE ACTION https://thesystemsthinker.com/spiritual-intelligence-a-new-paradigm-for-collaborative-action/ 

[5] Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection