Emotional intelligence plays a key role in our personal wellbeing, career success and developing healthy relationships. It’s working from the inside out; fully understanding your emotions and how to manage them. Why would anyone want to do that? Because we experience life through our emotions.
If we feel that bad things always happen to you, you will feel depressed, unhappy and angry. If you understand life is full of normal ups/downs, you will experience life with an open mind and calmer demeanor. Emotional intelligence helps us to understand why we are feeling a certain way and provides us with a new perspective on ourselves and others.
Here are 5 ways to flex your emotional intelligence muscles:
- Step 1
Because your emotions originate from past experiences, pinpointing the root cause can help you understand why you act or respond a certain way. Many are not willing or have the courage to look at themselves but let me reassure you that it doesn’t have to be a scary or painful process. The first step to making changes is to tap into your Self-Perception; the first competency of emotional intelligence which, in part, is looking at your strengths and weaknesses. This competency also delves into how failures and mistakes are holding you back from doing what you would want to do, what you are worried about, how willing are you to try something new without knowing what the outcome will be, and do you trust yourself when making choices and decisions? Self-Perception is the place where confidence grows and strengthens so you can navigate whatever comes your way.
- Step 2
Having a difficult or sensitive conversation with someone is something many people try to avoid at all costs. They prefer to ignore it or let someone else do the dirty work. These conversations are tough and never easy to have. Even when proper planning is put in place, prepare for the unexpected, and know what and how you will communicate what you need to. Beware of any negative emotions you may be bringing into a conversation which leads to Step 3…
- Step 3
Our assumptions, judgements and negative opinions about another person will interfere with your ability to remain open and receptive to hearing what someone has to say. Create a safe space for them to share what’s going on with them. Do you have a tendency to fix, give advice or provide a solution? If so, become an active listener instead. Leave your perspective in your back pocket along with the other negative thoughts.
- Step 4
Being an active listener will help develop compassion and understanding for others. By asking questions, you will gain clarity around the “why” behind someone’s behaviour. The other person will recognize your genuine interest in their wellbeing rather than become defensive. They will feel heard. This is how trust and respect are cultivated. Muster up your confidence and allow vulnerability to peak through. Validate and honor where they are at, admit your perception was incorrect, remain accountable, and follow through on promises. It may also be helpful to check in with them days later. It is how trust and respect will help you cultivate relationships to a level you may never have experienced before.
- Step 5
Whenever I ask someone what they do to manage their stress, I hear hiking, going to the gym, spa treatments, and wine. I hate to burst your bubble, but these are only temporary fixes to your stress level. No matter how far you jog, how long you are on the treadmill, or how many glasses of wine you consume, your stress will still be there tomorrow. First step to identifying what is the cause of your stress is to examine your core values. What’s important to you? Make a list of up to 10. Now take a closer look at your stress. What is at the root of your stress? Can you connect the dots between your stress and your core values? For example, if you are feeling overworked, are those long hours taking away valuable family time? Is “family” a core value for you? If so, then your stress is directly linked to that core value being ignored. Consider Step 2. Perhaps a courageous conversation is needed.
Flexing your emotional intelligence muscles will do wonders in how you experience life both at home and at work. Set your intention on a daily basis and start to show off those EI muscles!