EQ Skills for Life and WorkFeb 06, 2023
Up to this point, this blog has focused on people and organizations. Now I want to make it personal...very personal.
To achieve success and satisfaction in life, we human beings need to be able to operate in a way that allows us to make our best decisions, take our best actions, and have a mindset that fosters this consistently. We all want to experience our best life, to be the best we can be in our work, and to enjoy the journey. That only happens when there is a balance in our lives that frees up our time, focus, and energy. These three critical resources are limited. How well we spend them will determine our outcomes.
EQ in Life and Work
The emotional environment we live in plays a massive role in our satisfaction, success, enjoyment, wellbeing, effectiveness, and relationships. The amount of "emotional load" we carry around with us is a measure of that emotional environment.
EQ (the measure of emotional intelligence) has three major categories; self-awareness, self-management, and self-direction. Some say there is a fourth, social awareness. For our focus, let's focus on the three.
Self-awareness is the ability to clearly and objectively see yourself. From an EQ perspective, it is truly understanding your emotions, the impact they have, being able to define them, and recognizing your patterns and what emotions (emotional drivers) are embedded in your patterns. The deeper you go, the more you learn about yourself, the more self-aware you become. This is a journey, not a destination.
Why is self-awareness important? For many reasons:
- To make better decisions.
- To behave more intentionally.
- To foster emotional courage to take action.
- To identify unhealthy or unwanted patterns that you would like to change.
- To enhance your agility and resilience.
- To connect and build trust with others.
Self-management is the ability to maintain intentionality in making good choices for good outcomes. EQ allows us to manage our emotional responses when our EQ skills are well developed. Self-management is a set of EQ skills and competencies that help us to be more intentional with our choices. Or, as Six Seconds says, "Being smarter with emotions".
It is easy to react to something, but are the outcomes what we want them to be? Usually, reaction is rapid and not well thought through. That is not necessarily a bad thing when you are in a situation where the triggering of emotions happens to save you from bodily harm. It is a natural part of our survival instincts. The "fight, flight, freeze" reactions are embedded in a part of our brain that houses our survival reactions. We have all experienced times in our lives when emotions have "kicked in" to limit harm to us, giving us the energy and motivation to stay safe.
In our world today, these reactions may not be the best response to everyday emotions. Rarely is fight, flight, or freeze a good thing at home or at work, barring extreme circumstances.
Responding to emotions that we feel is usually a better way to go. There is real science behind the old saying, "count to 10 when you are mad." The science is simply that a flood of emotion(s) that happen when we experience something clears the brain in about 6 seconds, allowing us to think more clearly and be more intentional with our choices. That does not mean the emotion(s) completely go away, just that the intensity is reduced.
Self-direction is about purpose. What is the overarching purpose in your life that you use as a standard to hold your decisions up to? What standards have you chosen to live your life by? Self-direction is a leadership function. You are a leader to yourself.
I am sure you observe people who lead themselves well and others who do not. If you look deep enough, you will find emotional drivers and detractors that will explain the differences that you are seeing. Self-direction has two main components, empathy (the ability to truly understand others perspectives, perceptions, and feelings) and the standard(s) that you choose to live your life by. People who have these two competencies of emotional intelligence well developed, connect well with others and have a sense of purpose that drives their decisions and actions. To state is simply, they care about what others think and feel, take that into account as they make decisions and take action, and stay true to their purpose. You could also call this self-leadership.
In this world of constant change, uncertainty, and complexity, maintaining a healthy emotional mindset can be difficult at times. Let's try a quick exercise:
- Think of something that is unresolved in your life right now that your mind keeps coming back to.
- What are your thoughts about this?
- What are the emotions that are generated when you think of this? Be specific in naming those emotions.
- What impact are those emotions having on you? (keeping you stuck, non-productive cycling, wasting time, focus, energy...)
- What would it be like to have resolution? What would you feel then?
Even if you cannot resolve the specific situation, you can achieve emotional resolution. Our emotional environment is what we choose it to be. Yes, when we experience something, we will have an immediate emotional response. That is normal. But that initial flood of emotions only lasts for about six seconds. It is then that we make a choice of what emotions we allow to "live on" in our emotional environment. Do those initial emotions go away entirely, probably not, but the intensity of those emotions will diminish...IF we allow them to. Have you ever hung on to emotions because you wanted to? Maybe when someone has wronged you? I think we have all done that at some point.
We can choose to hang on to emotions that are hurtful, essentially reinforcing them. Or, we can choose to redirect those emotions into something that is more productive. We definitely want to hang on to emotions that encourage us and lift us up. The point is that we choose our emotional environment to a great degree. While we cannot control everything, we can control how we choose to react/respond to situations. We can choose the emotions we allow to live on in our lives.
EQ (emotional intelligence) is the one skill set most predictive of success. Research shows it to be 2-4 times more predictive of success than IQ (rational intelligence).
A question to reflect on: If you could invest in something that would make you more successful, satisfied, and live a more enjoyable life, how much value does that hold for you?
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Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected]
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