One concept to dramatically improve your resilience, motivation and success
The real reasons that drew me into psychology were the understanding of human emotions, cognitions and behaviour. Not only of those who surrounded me or society in general, but my own feelings and needs.
There were various significant points in my life where I craved to understand and manage my own emotions, so I could live life efficiently, content and satisfied. Such an ongoing process.
Have you ever had a similar thought?
Wanting to control your emotions or to be more rational instead?
If you are anything like me, sensitive, someone who feels life intensely and who tends to give it all, then you might have seen yourself somewhere in between: having to use masks and hiding behind brick walls so you don´t get targeted and hurt; or on the other hand, having to learn to understand what is going on with you and how to best use it to your advantage.
After years of hiding away, I got to a point in my personal development where I decided I wanted to live beyond fear. I didn´t want to be ruled by my doubts and concerns to the point I would freeze and let life happen to me.
If you are at this point, I am sharing with you today the concept that totally changed my vision and the way I manage life.
The Importance Of Emotions
Have you ever wanted to be more rational rather than so emotional?
I remember several conversations with one of my dearest friends about this. We didn´t understood the importance of emotion in guiding our decision-making process or in telling us what we needed. Let alone in keeping us alive or how we could use them to our advantage.
During the first year of my psychology Degree I bumped into the concept of Emotional Intelligence. This guy was reading Daniel Goleman’s book and it totally captured my attention, to the point that I went home that day and bought it for myself.
It was then when I started to understand emotions such as fear, sadness or anger and their functionality. However, I didn´t quite understood how to train the different components of Emotional Intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence & What Are The Components?
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to become aware of your emotions and be able to regulate them, as well as, understanding others’ emotions. It is also the ability to use the information the emotions give you to guide your thinking and actions to problem solve efficiently.
Before we head towards understanding the components and working towards developing your EI skills, what about taking an Emotional Intelligence test here and to gauge at what point you are at.
Self-awareness is the foundation of EI.
Recognising and understanding our own emotions and the effect they can have on other people, is the first step to be able to experiment with other components.
It is about monitoring your moods and recognising your reactions, labelling them correctly.
By being aware of your strengths and weaknesses you can work on them and improve upon these.
#2 Self- regulation
Once you become self-aware, able to recognise your own emotions and how they fluctuate, you can go a step further by managing and regulating them.
Taking responsibility for your own behaviour you will be expressing those emotions appropriately, at the right time and the right way. Managing impulses and disruptive emotions.
Remember this doesn’t mean to supress your emotions, they must be expressed, as they are there give you information.
“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head–it is the unique intersection of both.”
In this case, motivation would come from striving to improve, to be a better version of who you are, rather than expecting external rewards only.
Get passionate about your own goals and commit to them, willing and ready to act on those opportunities that present themselves or those you generate.
Persist in perusing what you need and want despite the difficulties and setbacks.
The ability to understand other people’s feelings and connect with them at an emotional level, recognising their desires, fears and dreams, is critical when we talk about emotional intelligence.
You could resonate with their experience and respond accordingly, being able to give an appropriate response.
For example, if someone is sad, you may treat them with care and more kindness than usual in an effort to influence how they feel. Perhaps, just by giving extra comfort, time to process what is going on during a conversation or offering a cup of tea in you are in England :). There, tea can fix everything.
Coming back to seriousness, sensing other’s feelings and seeing things from their perspective does not mean you have to accept their behaviour. It just means that you understand where they are coming from and take a genuine interest in their concerns.
#5 Social Skills
The last component refers to the ability to interact with others, how you build and maintain new relationships. This will play a role in many parts of your life, from personal to professional.
Handling other people’s emotions effectively and influencing their responses, would come from understanding and communicating efficiently.
You would be able to negotiate, using empathy, to obtain Win-Win outcomes, where both parties benefit.
Why Is Emotional Intelligence So Important?
There are numerous advantages, let’s have a closer look:
Self-awareness give you confidence in yourself and your abilities as you become aware of how you tend to respond in the face of a specific situation.
Self-regulation gives you a sense of integrity, confidence and honesty. You will be able not only to connect with yourself at a deeper level but to respond the best way you possibly can in any given situation.
Self-management allows space for creativity as you are willing to enter new situations, managing uncertainty and worrying efficiently. Becoming adaptable and flexible in the face of change.
Developing emotional intelligence, means to feed intrinsic motivation (self-motivation). It will be much easier to stay on track in order to achieve your objectives and not to give up when obstacles crop up.
Feeling strong and committed to what you have set yourself up to do. Turning your mindset to lookout for new opportunities, will allow security within to flourish and support you in making steady steps towards growth and success.
Empathy will help you to navigate through your relationships supporting you to make deeper and more meaningful connections. It will help you anticipate how someone might behave and influence the outcome, which is very valuable in work settings and meeting client’s needs, in business.
Sensing what others might need will allow you to support their personal growth and development, strengthening your relationships and allowing you to give more value.
Social skills allow managing conflict and change with ease. You will become a stronger communicator and leader, as you understand how to cooperate and collaborate with others to achieve your shared objectives and goals.
It improves decision making as you are well aware of what your needs are, trust your instinct and weigh up the different options rationally, keeping an open mindset and knowing that you will be able to deal with what comes your way.
It builds resilience as you are willing and motivated to peruse your objectives even on the face of the setbacks and obstacles. Not only getting back on track after experiencing failure or a disappointment but growing and learning from the experience!
It will help you succeed as you work on self-improvement and development. You know what makes you function better and what leads you to flourish, choosing the right course of action and boosting your performance.
How Can You Train The Different Components Of Your Emotional Intelligence To Succeed In Your Career & Life?
I am going to share 5 things you can start doing now in order to develop skills from the different components mentioned above, so you can continue to improve your Emotional Intelligence.
# 1 Practice Observation
Practice observing your own emotions, label or name them, without trying to change them. They are neither good or bad, they are there, as you know, for a reason, to tell you something important.
Question yourself: what exactly do I feel? Is it sadness, is it frustration or anger? Where do I feel it in the body? What shape does it have?
Practice observing your reactions. How you respond to situations, how you behave when under pressure or feeling stressed.
You can stop for 3 minutes at the end of your day and make a short review.
Ask yourself: What has happened today? What did I do/ how did I responded to those situations? What was I feeling right before I did what I did?
I like to stop and write the key learning points on my Bullet Journal. You can jot down the responses or you can just go through them/things in your mind. But stop to reflect.
We often go through our busy lives, easily losing touch with our emotions and not allowing time to reconnect and reflect.
This can end up with you making wrong decisions, focusing your time on things that are not that important anymore and letting time pass, as if it wasn’t important.
Once you know what emotions you tend to have and under which circumstances these come to the fore, it will be much easier to step up and manage them to your advantage.
# 2 Get to know who you are
Understand your motivations, what keeps you energised, what projects get you inspired and what keeps you going when adversity knocks at your door.
Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses, try to create an honest picture of who you really are. Ask people you are surrounded by and be genuinely curious about what are they basing their opinion(s) on.
This way you have the base from where to start to make changes, improving on your strengths and perhaps workingon what you need to work on. Personally, I prefer to focus on my strengths and use them as my superpowers.
What is your #1 superpower?
Have a deeper look at what you want from your life, who you want to become. Set up objectives and goals in different areas of your life and focus on those that make your soul sing.
How could your superpower support you in getting there, where you want to be?
I have the world traveller bug, no matter how many setbacks I have, I will continue to delight my spirit with new corners of nature and cultures.
I am determined to make my dreams come true. What are yours?
# 3 Schedule for commitment
So, now you know much more about yourself, and what your objectives and dreams are, it is time to schedule for success.
In order to build trust in yourself and become much more productive, it is really important that you note down when you would like to start to get hands on with what you need to do or achieve.
Know when and how long it will take to go to that meeting, to write that chapter’s draft, to create your course content, to prepare yourself for the next interview or the next assessment, or to prepare your next class.
Then use a beautiful calendar and ask yourself: What can you do to make sure you remember your commitments with yourself?
Scheduling and preparing yourself to say no to those things that are not as important as achieving your dreams, is essential to committing to yourself and breaking the habit of procrastination. Learn to say: “Oh, today it’s impossible, I am busy from 1-5 I am working on something that is really important for me”. No need for more explanation.
# 4 Become comfortable with uncomfortable
Embrace new, embrace different.
Start doing those things that get you out of your comfort zone.
Ok, yes, this is absolutely everywhere, but I don’t want to obviate it because it is really important.
Get to know what you fear, make a list and gradually start confronting each fear. Choose one and make a fear ladder from 0-10 of what actions, in relation to that fear scare, the least (zero) and the ones that scare you the most (10). Then start from #5 upwards in the ladder.
Think, what are you avoiding that is stopping you from moving forward?
Is there a fear behind what you are avoiding?
Fear of being judged?
Fear of failure?
Fear of confronting other’s emotions?
Then become a scientist, put yourself in those positions you fear, gather data and draw conclusions.
Get out there do things that you know will bring judgement, do things that you know you will fail at, be honest with others and study their responses and study what happens to you. Go back to point # 1, observe.
Always, always, reflect about what you have learned.
# 5 Cultivate genuine curiosity about others
Start encouraging deep and meaningful conversations with others. Do not just talk about the weather or other trivial subjects. This is ok, but I want you to really get to understand others.
Become genuinely curious about how they feel, what their passions and likes are, what their battles are and what keeps them motivated.
Meet new people, become curious about strangers and other cultures.
What are the reasons behind them being where they are at? What does a specific situation, circumstance or experience mean to them? What are their values?!
One of my projects, as I travel around the world, is to get to know the values of those in as many different countries as I go to. I have a good amount so far, I may do a documentary one day… who knows.
Coming back to you, you’d be really surprised by how many things you can learn by practising active listening, not just about others but about yourself.
In the following TED talk Ramona Hacker shares with you another 6 steps you can take to improve you Emotional Intelligence.
Developing your Emotional Intelligence is worth giving attention to. It has numerous advantages to guide you along through life and facilitate your growth in many areas.
Your relationships will suffer the impact of a greater connection, which will bring you so many new opportunities. The way you work and manage your career will totally change by being able to predict and influence not only other’s behaviours but you own, overcoming setbacks and difficulties with resilience, flexibility and strength.
Finally, your wellbeing will improve as the diverse areas of your life do too, as you understand how your emotions work and how to manage them, nurturing your needs, and those of others.
So…which training technique are you going to try first?