Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ or EI, describes a person’s ability to recognize, process and effectively use emotions to the benefit of everyone involved.
In recent years, EQ has become a highly sought after skillset, with an increasing number of certification programs around the world.
The challenge with many of the certification programs is that they can easily create a false sense of “I’ve got this.” With the certification in hand, many leaders forget the real work begins when you come face-to-face with the emotional difficulties in your life and career.
By learning to process and dissolve your emotional triggers, you gain the awareness and compassion to help others do the same. Being in the presence of compassionate, clear and honest leaders is a ripe playing ground for potential to emerge as fear loses its grip.
Emotionally intelligent leaders naturally create a safe space for people to butt up against their fears as they progress toward their potential. The outcome of such support leads to highly collaborative and creative teams that work hard to help each other reach milestones and grand visions.
While you cannot rid anyone of the stories they conjure up between their ears, you can help them to see their fears for what they really are—False Evidence Appearing Real. Having lived the experience of wrangling your own fearful thoughts, you gain the humility needed to help others move beyond their fears.
Leaders who exude calm confidence in the midst of what may seem like a catastrophic situation are treasures to be around. While they may feel fear, they manage to continue progressing, knowing deep inside that everything is always working out for the highest good of all. Such knowing is the clearest indication of emotional intelligence.
The challenge of refining your internal (that all-too-easily become external) reactions is real, and it’s the reason those who have reached mastery wind up becoming exceedingly valuable in the global marketplace. Yes, certifications can give you the foundation for cultivating greater awareness, but the real opportunity lies in becoming intimately familiar with your own emotional triggers.
Your ability to be present and compassionate with others is a natural outcome of your ability to be present and compassionate with yourself.
In many cases, it’s relatively easy to get EQ certified. Putting certification into action, though, is where the real rewards come in. By practicing these five steps every day, you will build a powerful foundation for strengthening your EQ:
- Notice when you get triggered (angry, irritated, frustrated, etc) and pause. What’s happening? What are you hearing or seeing, specifically?
- Write it down as soon as possible. What did you see, hear or notice? What conclusions did you come to as a result of what you heard and saw?
- Check your assumptions. Once your emotional reaction has settled down, gain clarity, if necessary. With a sincere interest in understanding their perspective, share with them, “Here’s what I think I heard you say (repeat what you think you heard them say). Did I understand you correctly?”
- Reflect. At the end of every day, go over your day. Notice, what brought you the most joy—the most irritation? Did you remove yourself before your internal reactions were externalized? How did you do it? If not, what could you have done differently?
- Remember. You did not come with an instruction manual for overcoming difficult life experiences. Coming to understand your triggers is a life-long process that comes as a result of learning your internal workings. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you uncover the self-sabotaging belief systems you unconsciously adopted, your reactions to each, and learn to set boundaries that allow for meaningful connections in work and in life.
Whether you’ve received the certification or not, challenging yourself to dig deeper when fear hi-jacks your brain positions you for depth in awareness and compassion toward yourself and others. As a result, you naturally become a magnet to those seeking to evolve into their greatness.
Here’s to your greatness,