By Candice King
In part one of this series, we will be exploring what EQ means and how we can grow and develop EQ in our every day lives.
Emotional Intelligence sounds like a business term used in the corporate world. It is listed as one of the top 10 skills to have when in a corporate setting however when we start looking deeper into EQ you will see that it impacts every moment of every day that we show up in the world – at work, at home, with family, friends and even with ourselves.
What is your understanding of emotional intelligence?
If this is the first time you are reading about it or have heard of the term, stick around a little longer and we will dive deeper into emotional intelligence for every day. Emotional Intelligence is connecting our hearts and mind. The logical thinking with the emotional feeling. They say that success in life comes from developing our EQ and the most successful people have a high EQ. The amazing fact about EQ is it is learnable and measurable and it fuels better quality of life, relationships, effectiveness, and wellbeing for adults and yes even our children.
I want you to grab a piece of paper and write down all the names of emotions that you know of. How did that go? How many did you get? Did you know there are approximately 3000 emotions words in the English dictionary? When I first did this exercise I managed to list about 10 emotions.
Emotional Intelligence impacts 4 success factors in our lives
Our effectiveness is our capacity to generate results. So how we influence people and make decisions.
It influences wellbeing which is our capacity to maintain optimal energy and functioning. Do you have balance in your life and are you looking after your health, which includes mental health too.
Relationships are impacted by your emotional intelligence which includes building and maintaining our networks at work and home.
And finally, our quality of life is about our achievements and satisfaction in our everyday lives.
On the same piece of paper, I would like you to draw a circle and draw yourself in the middle and then split it into 4. Each quadrant represents the 4 success factors: Wellbeing, Relationships, Quality of Life, and Effectiveness. On a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being areas that need development and 10 meaning you have balance in this area) where are you now in your life.
In another coloured pen, I want you to write where you would like to be in those areas, again on a scale of 1 – 10. Does this surprise you?
So how can you use EQ to reach your dreams of building and growing a better life for yourself?
We start with 3 pursuits: Know Yourself by clearly seeing what you feel and do. Knowing your strengths and challenges, you know what you are doing, what you want, and what to change.
Choose Yourself is doing what you mean to do. Instead of reacting on autopilot, you know how to take action, how to influence yourself and others, and how to put these into action.
Finally, Give Yourself is connected to your vision and purpose. Why you do what you do, why you move in a new direction, why you should connect more with people. Your guiding light and northern star.
How do we put this into action in our everyday lives?
We start by building the know yourself pursuit. The naming emotions exercise above is one way to start tuning in to what we are feeling. What would be so important about this? Emotions carry messages, emotions are important data telling us what we need to look out for.
For instance, let’s look at fear. The message here is something is at risk. We have all had our fair share of fear this year. I would like you to think about sometime this year when you felt fear. What do you think this feeling was trying to tell you at the time?
Let’s look at anger. The message here is what’s in my way. Think of a time recently that you felt really angry. If I could share that I got angry when we went into lockdown and I wasn’t able to exercise. So I asked what made me so angry. What is in my way? I felt like my freedom had been taken away.
If we don’t know what we are feeling because we cannot label what we are feeling how will we know what the messages are. Part of know yourself is recognizing your patterns. Are you acting on autopilot or do you respond with an intention for the best possible outcome? While this is not always an easy practice, the more we explore our patterns and what triggers us, the more it will help us understand why we behave in the same way again and again.
Think of a time when you reacted instantly to something. On a piece of paper, I would like you to write: When (stimulus), I (typical reaction). For instance: When I think someone is criticizing me I stop talking to them. When I think someone isn’t doing what I want them to do, I shout at them.
As humans, we are creatures of habit. Our brains like efficiency and so it will re-use a pattern over and over again even if a situation isn’t exactly the same. The reaction becomes so engrained we react on autopilot and sometimes we don’t even know we are reacting in a certain way.
So how can we get to “know yourself” better? Here are the top 10 tips to do so:
Get fluent in the language of emotions: naming and understanding their messages.
Name your emotions: to name is to tame. Neuroscience suggests when we name our emotions it lessens the intensity
…..in the 3rd person: instead of saying I am feeling……., say Candice is feeling……….This is a natural calming mechanism
Observe what you are feeling. Instead of suppressing, pushing away or numbing, just allow yourself to feel
Feel your emotions in your body. Identify what emotions show up in your body.
Bad emotions are a myth. All emotions are data and if we stop ourselves from experiencing the “bad” emotions we stop ourselves from truly experience and enjoying good emotions.
Notice the build-up before the trigger. Self-check-in’s are important. We all wear a filter when viewing the world/situation.
Recognize your patterns: When (stimulus), I (typical reaction)
Write down your feelings: checking in during the day around what you are feeling, even writing it down will help develop your emotional intelligence.
Remind yourself emotions are data: When we stop ignoring them or fighting them they give us valuable information
I really believe that becoming self-aware creates opportunity for growth and change. Emotions play such a big role in how we show up in the world and they are the drivers behind our thinking and behaviour.
I hope the first part of this EQ series has been insightful. As part of doing this series in collaboration with Cahya + Ailey, I am offering a free unlocking EQ assessment to any reader that would like to start exploring their own emotional intelligence. All you have to do is send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org and use Cahya+Ailey EQ as your subject and I will get in touch so we can chat.
Look out for part two for more diving deep into emotional intelligence.