“There is no separation of mind and emotions; emotions, thinking, and learning are all linked.” — Eric Jensen
Improving my emotional intelligence is my number one priority. I am trying to convince you, dear reader, that if it's not a strength of yours, you should care about it and explore it with me over the coming weeks.
Why you should really care about emotional intelligence
Imagine a day without emotions. There would be no hurt, no fear and no anxiety. But, there would be no love, joy or savouring too. Whenever we achieve a milestone in life, our feeling towards it gives it meaning. I haven't always felt this way about emotions.
As a 25 year old, in the world of finance having studied a STEM subject, I felt that emotions were a 'fly in the ointment', a weakness and something that corrupted analysis. What I failed to see then, and am now working on, is how emotions help us navigate complex situations.
Emotionally intelligent people (also known as people with high EQ) identify, understand, use and manage emotions. They are able to make emotions work for them, rather than reacting to or suppressing them.
5 benefits of a high EQ
1) Unsurprisingly, I start with decision-making. EQ enhances our decision-making abilities. Understanding our feelings about things can help us make more informed and balanced decisions. Emotional awareness around investment decisions, is a topic I will be researching later on in the year.
2) EQ deepens our relationships. Understanding and responding to other people's emotions achieves a richer connection. Empathy is one of those rare skills that exceptional people seem to possess.
3) EQ is essential to be a good member or leader of a team. Understanding how you can act to best serve the team is a function of really getting to know one another at a deeper level.
4) EQ can help us through the inevitable challenges of life. Identifying and managing emotions as they appear helps people exit potential downward spirals. Whether it's coping with stress, anxiety or other mental health issues, understanding what you are feeling is an important part of the solution.
5) EQ is the secret sauce of many people who have been successful in business. Forming relationships, communicating in a compelling way, maintaining good morale, getting people to work with you are all enhanced with strong emotional intelligence.
A sneak peak on the series
The bible of Emotional Intelligence is unimaginatively titled 'Emotional Intelligence' by Daniel Goleman. It is one of the books I recommend most in terms of KPP (knowledge per page). There are 12 elements of emotional intelligence within the four pillars of Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. By the end of the series I hope you will be thoroughly acquainted with all of them.
Key topics in the series:
1) What are emotions and why do we have them?
2) Classifying and Identifying emotions
3) Managing emotions and impulse control
4) What is empathy?
5) Social awareness
6) Why leaders need high EQ?
I'll leave you with an excellent article by Daniel Goleman. Thank you for joining, next week is 'What are emotions and why do we have them?'. (Don't forget to subscribe to the blog).
Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On? (hbr.org)