Flexing Your Emotional Intelligence Muscle – Part 1

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply emotions to be more collaborative and productive with others. The most intriguing aspect of emotional intelligence is that it is not fixed. With a little hard work and some ambition, emotional intelligence can be developed over time.

Why flex your EI Muscle? Studies have shown that successful leaders and superior performers tend to have superb emotional intelligence skills. You may not naturally think of yourself as a leader if you define leadership by the role you have in your workplace but let me tell you with confidence, at home, with your children you are seen as THE leader! Performing better as a leader is in everyone’s interest.

There are 5 basic and distinct factors that make up our Emotional Intelligence:

1. Self – Awareness

Being self aware means you can recognize and understand your own moods, emotions and what drives you, as well as the effect you have on others.

2. Self – Regulation

Your ability to recognize impulsiveness, control your urge to act impulsively and redirect disruptive impulses. Self-Regulation is the propensity to think before acting.

3. Motivation

A passion for work that goes beyond money or status. Your motivation reflects the amount of energy and persistence you will apply to an activity.

4. Social Awareness

Being in tune with and observant of the emotional makeup of others. This is more outward focused, how you are able to read others and understand them.

5. Social Regulation

A person’s ability to create, manage and nurture networks.

These 5 distinct factors are explained with the individual in mind, but they can also apply to organizations as a whole. This makes sense as organizations are made up of individuals! And what takes place among the leadership of an organization often trickles through its people and finds its way outside of the organization bubble.

It is important to flex our Emotional Intelligence muscles often and with consistency. Just like building actual body muscle, the only way that happens is by hitting the gym often and putting in consistent effort to lift a little more, or run a little farther each time. As someone who has been studying emotional intelligence over the last few years, including completing the EQi 2.0 Trainers Course, advising fellow entrepreneur’s on how they can help their themselves and their employees grow their EI Competencies for the success of the company, and crucially, implementing these tools and techniques myself, I have seen the powerful growth that takes place when we consciously work to expand our EI.

This article wouldn’t be complete (or useful) if I didn’t share some tips on how to develop your own EI Muscle! Below are my top six tips for doing just that:

  1. Journal Every Day. Here are three questions you can use consistently to help you become more self aware. Be completely honest with yourself. This is an opportunity to learn and grow.
    1. When did I feel good today?
    2. When did I not feel good today?
    3. How do I act when I feel good vs when I don’t feel good?
  2. Identify Your Triggers. Each day reflecting on the relationship between your emotions and your behaviour can help you identify your triggers. Identify the triggers that create a negative emotion or reaction in your day. Then ask yourself:
    1. What sets me off?
    2. How could I have responded differently?
    3. How can I change the way I respond when I notice this trigger in future?
  3. Regular Physical Exercise. Yes, this may seem out of place, but it’s not. I promise! Regular physical activity, not necessarily heavy exertion, just regular activity, a long walk, a bike ride, yoga, hitting the weights, whatever works for you, helps you manage your emotions and stay more relaxed. When we are relaxed we have a propensity to be more open minded, the endorphins released during exercise are a key factor in this.
  4. Practise Mindfulness (I am still building my practise, it’s going slowly, but it’s getting better!). The first thing that might come to mind is Meditation. And that is definitely a great way to practise mindfulness. But in its simplest form mindfulness is slowing yourself down and giving your mind and body a deserved break. You can start your mindfulness practices by simply closing your eyes wherever you may be, and visualizing a place that brings you calm and peace. What is surrounding you? A forest? A beachfront with waves lapping at the shore? The inside of your favorite room in your house or snow capped mountains? What sounds do you hear? What might you smell? The wet pine cones? The cold wind? The sea? Let yourself get lost in the visualization. Embrace the calm and peace you feel in this favorite place.
  5. Set EI Goals. It’s natural for us to be more committed to a goal that we write down or otherwise announce. So think about your own EI goals and write them down or tell someone (or better…do both!). You can ask yourself:
    1. What do I want to accomplish with regards to my emotions and feelings?
    2. When do I want to achieve these goals?
    3. What do I need to do, what techniques or habits do I need to lean in on to practise my goals?
  6. Visualize your aspirations. Go beyond considering the journey to accomplish your goals, and visualize what the end state will look like. You can create a vision board that expresses what life feels like when you have achieved your EI goals. Go further and take a picture of it and set it as your laptop background! Consider these few questions:
    1. What does my ideal state look like?
    2. What will it feel like when I get there?
    3. Why is this goal important to me?
    4. What might get in my way? How will I handle the roadblock?

There are many ways you can increase your emotional intelligence. Remember, Emotional Intelligence is built over time, just like your physical muscles. We have a saying in Spain (I spend a few months here every year), poco a poco, which translates to little by little and with this in mind, I encourage you to take the tips above that you can commit to and start your journey with confidence!

You have the ability to improve your Emotional Intelligence and accomplish great strides in your personal, parental and professional relationships. With just a little extra effort and attention daily you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

Robyn Hochglaube serves as Director Emiretus for Adventure Valley, and practices as a relationship leadership coach and Kolbe© Trainer for progressive business leaders. Eager to assist all Adventure Valley connections, she is excited to work with anyone in the AV community who is on a personal self improvement journey! If you want to learn more about what your current EI competencies are, you can reach out to Robyn at robyn (at) vervconsulting (.) com to take the EQi 2.0 assessment and discuss your unique results and how you can reach your goals.

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