We’ve all experienced challenges in life that test our emotional intelligence. It’s usually a time when we feel disconnected from others, confused by what is happening, or our emotions got the better of us.
Emotional intelligence is a skill that can mean more connection with the people in your life and a higher ability to cope with these challenging situations. When you read people well and respond in a way that helps everyone feel comfortable, you are onto a good thing. Your relationships are not only more satisfying, you are more likely to make that business deal and deal with that conflict situation in a calm and rational manner.
We could all do with more tips on how to boost our emotional intelligence, so here it is: five things emotionally intelligent people do, that you can practice, too:
They are aware that working with others is a strength, not a weakness
If you’re emotionally intelligent you’re aware of both your weaknesses and your strengths, and accept both wholeheartedly. You know yourself well enough to understand that having weaknesses is normal; so you are not afraid to ask a colleague for help in order to get the job done. If you’re able to admit defeat and ask for guidance, you can see working as a team and sharing your vulnerability as a strong move. Sharing your problem just became an opportunity for you to grow.
They can take a hit
No one likes being criticized for anything, and most people will react on some level, to a critique of their work. The difference between someone who is emotionally intelligent or not, is, that they will process their emotions differently. They are more self-aware when reacting, manage any unpleasant emotions better, and this could be because they more aware of what might be going on for the person doing the criticizing, able to connect with that reality. Once they have taken a step back and processed their emotions, they can more easily look at the reality of whether the criticism can help them to improve whatever it is they are doing, or not.
Failure doesn’t phase them
Similarly, failure affects everyone, but if you’re emotionally intelligent, you will move on from setbacks quicker and more efficiently than someone who is stuck in self-criticism and doubt. They tend to have an unfaltering self-belief that means they are confident no matter the obstacle or problem, they will still succeed. This means they are less likely to get too upset about the small stuff, and to carry on doing what they love without worrying too much about it.
They bring the good feeling, even when things are looking dire. They keep their cool outwardly and end up being the kind of people want to follow as a result.
The next time you have a setback, notice what you think about it, and how it makes you feel. If you can spot any self-criticism, change the direction you’re heading in. Try telling yourself instead, that you know this sucks, but at the end of the day, you know you can do it, no matter the obstacle or challenge.
“What was that?…”
When emotionally intelligent people are misunderstood or misheard, they don’t get into a fluster. -It is their aim to communicate effectively with their audience, and nothing will hold them back from getting their message across. So you change your plan instantly to meet their needs. Even when the projector you have been working with breaks down, or you spill coffee down your shirt, or even turn up to an interview in filthy clothes, you get your message across and end up with people appreciating you even more as a result.
Next time you’re caught off guard, try improvising and enjoying the moment, instead of worrying about what ‘went wrong’. This builds rapport more than any planned interactions ever could.
They see actions and not reactions
Emotionally intelligent people see what actually happens in a conflict, not a blurred version with their judgments mixed into their interpretation of what happened. They are aware of what they felt at the time, but they do not let that color what they actually saw. They know how to take social cues from others at the time to inform them of what’s best to do, and they know how to manage those strong feelings in the moment, so that they don’t get out of hand, and can be calm enough to find a resolution. So next time you find yourself in the middle of a conflict take a deep breath, connect to your feelings first and react from a place of calm to what’s happening.
They’re connected to themselves
Emotionally intelligent people do not rely on the approval of others, nor do they heed their doubtful or negative thoughts.
Having trained as a computer programmer, I learned early on the principle of ‘garbage in, garbage out’. While this works for creating websites, it also works with our own mental health. The beliefs we choose to believe or the unconfident people we spend our time with can have a huge effect. Sometimes we can’t avoid certain people, but we can add to the amount of positive people we surround ourselves with. So next time someone says something that leaves you feeling unsure of yourself, check your own opinion about it, before believing it to be true.
Connecting to your inner knowing can help free you of worry about what anyone else is saying or doing, and allow you to get on with your life’s work.
I hope these quick tips will help you to practice more emotional intelligence in your own life, so that you feel more able to be yourself, to put your whole self in your work, and to connect deeply with those around you.