Figuring out your EQ – emotional intelligence – and how to develop it can be one of the best tools you can have when it comes to both your personal and professional life.
Emotional intelligence has always been a part of human existence, although it took until 1964 for Michael Beldoch to give it a name and it was not until 1995 that the idea was fully fleshed out by the legendary Daniel Goleman in his book, “Emotional Intelligence.”
EQ sets humans apart from other animals (to a debatable extent) by putting an emphasis on self-awareness, empathy and self-control. Somebody with very high emotional intelligence is likely to be good at understanding their own emotions, sensing the feelings of others and figuring out ways to empower themselves and others to use those emotions towards a positive outcome.
Many health and personal development professionals (including life and career coaches) have long worked on themselves to develop these skills, whether these are the terms they used or not. It’s good to keep them tuned up, as they are essential when helping others to learn to use them.
It’s important to learn to recognize your emotions by using periods of reflection. This is the routine of taking 15 minutes each day to think through the emotions that they’ve experienced through the past hours. So many of these feelings get rushed past or pushed down instead of being processed and understood.
Once you understand the emotions, you can learn how to manage them. That means using processes when your emotions look like they are getting the best of you – a simple example is remembering to count to 10 when they feel like yelling or lashing out at someone. And the ‘black belt’ level is learning to use these emotions. That means figuring out how to untangle confusion, how to direct the power of anger towards a positive outcome and to see moments of struggle as an opportunity to learn.
Understanding and managing your emotions is equally important in both your home and work life, so take care to recognize when you are triggered by difficult conversations with coworkers or not-so-constructive criticism from your boss. It can be easier to manage your emotions at home, when you can step away or practice self-care routines (journaling, taking a bath), opposed to when you are on the clock with tasks that need your attention.
This new resource from NetCredit provides a great introduction to the EQ school of thought that you can use to build up your emotional intelligence.
John is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway, the UK and the Balkans. Connect with him on LinkedIn.