Whether it’s in the workplace, classroom or any social setting, when it comes to happiness and success in life, Emotional Intelligence matters just as much as intellectual ability (IQ). Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at work, and achieve your career and personal goals.
As human beings we have a wonderful capacity, the capacity to feel a myriad of emotions. From elation to sorrow, from passion to peace, from satisfied to wanting, we can ”feel” in ways that no other living thing can. We experience the world not through just what we think, but especially through how we feel.
The power of emotion is amazing. It can enrich our lives beyond measure but when we don’t use it wisely it can destroy us just as easily. Like fire, emotions can warm us or burn us. Emotions drive many of our decisions and actions, for better or worse. They build energy assets to add to our quality of life or create energy deficits that rob us of vitality. During the course of any day, we experience an emotional adventure or in some cases, a roller coaster ride.
Emotional Intelligence has been studied for many years now, but with more demand for a balanced and efficient workforce, it has now made it into many college curriculums. There are five basic competencies that comprise the field of Emotional Intelligence. The first three are intra-personal: they are invisible to others and occur inside of us. The last two are inter-personal: they occur between us and other people and are observable in our behavior. The better developed your intra-personal skills, the easier it is to demonstrate your inter-personal skills.
The first competency is Emotional Self-Awareness, and is defined as having the skill to focus your attention on your emotional state, being aware. Are you happy, excited, worried, or angry? Given that information about your emotional state, what should (or shouldn’t) you say next? You can use that information to help yourself make effective decisions to achieve better outcomes for yourself and others.
The second competency, Emotional Self-Regulation means having the skill to be able to choose the emotions you want to experience, rather than being the victim of whatever emotions occur, not letting others “push your buttons.” It is about processing the ability to manage your emotional state. Don’t confuse this with “stuffing” your feelings. Emotional Self-Regulation is the skill to choose the emotions that you want, typically to be able to transform negative draining emotional states into positive productive ones.
Emotional Self-Motivation is the ability to use your emotions to move yourself to take positive action and continue to persistently pursue goals even in the face of significant adversity or difficulty. This is about using your emotions to be positive, optimistic, confident, and persistent rather than negative and pessimistic, second guessing yourself and your decisions.
The fourth competency is Empathy, a word that is used a lot lately. This is often confused with sympathy, but it really isn’t the same. Empathy is about possessing the ability to listen effectively and accurately enough to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. This is not necessarily to agree with them, but to truly understand the situation from their point-of-view in order to improve communication, problem solving, and trust.
Probably the most important competency in Emotional Intelligence is Nurturing Relationships. This is the ability to demonstrate sincere care for others. Through word and deed, showing appreciation of people’s efforts and contribution. It’s about setting a positive tone of cooperation no matter how difficult the situation or conversation and having other’s best interests in mind while focusing on achieving goals to create win-win outcomes.
Whether it is in the workplace or in our personal relationships, Emotional Intelligence has been getting a lot of momentum on how to take control of our thoughts, and thus our outcomes. In addition, practicing emotional and social intelligence creates emotional contagion with others that we interact with in our day.
Emotions don’t have to be a mystery and looking at them does not have to be an uncomfortable process. With a little courage, which comes from the heart, you can embark on an adventure, the exploration of the power of emotion. Add some genuine effort, which also comes from the heart, to replace less desirable emotions with ones that serve you and things will start to change quickly.
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