Emotional Intelligence is Here For All of Us
Apparently some say being emotionally intelligent is the “new sexy”. When I started teaching about this topic in one of my courses 8 years ago, that definitely wasn’t what I (or any of us practitioners) was going for, but I get it. There is indeed something about being emotionally intelligent that is very attractive. In fact, there’s so much truth in this that Emotional Intelligence has not only become very mainstream and practiced globally, but is also a “big business” in many industries and fields. It has become entrenched in Leadership Development and Training, corporate success benchmarking, job placement and onboarding, people management, conflict resolution, but most importantly to me, as a set of learnable and accessible tools for helping people thrive in their mental, emotional, physical, and energetic health.
Emotional intelligence practises are becoming thought of as the latest “superpowers” even though the concepts have been around for as long as humans have. Amidst a time in human history when we are so enormously busy, distracted and stressed, Emotional Intelligence is a timely call for us to “return to ourselves”.
So, what is it exactly? Well, as one of my teachers from OKA Training calls it, Emotional Intelligence is “knowing when to bring it, and knowing when to put it away”. There’s just so much wisdom in considering this as a way to live, in both our personal and professional lives, in the way we think, speak and behave.
Another amazing teacher of Emotional intelligence, Joshua Freedman, calls it learning to “be smart with our emotions”. It’s the unique intersection and cultivation of the gifts of our minds and our hearts. It is essentially an examination of our Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social-Awareness and Social-Management, and our level of motivation to navigate these 4 areas effectively.
More specifically, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand ourselves and others, and apply this knowledge to optimize our decisions, circumstances and relationships. There are several different ways to measure this through various assessment tools and models from a certified practitioner or coach, but we can also absolutely work on this on our own at no cost.
So first and foremost, before we can navigate the world outside of us, we need to be connected within and really understand ourselves. We all have slightly different approaches, but for me, part of the work here as an Emotional Intelligence coach is to work with people on recognizing thoughts, feelings and patterns (i.e. internal “story-making”). We also explore our beliefs about ourselves, self-talk, values, triggers, triggered reactions, stress tolerance, level of optimism and flexibility, self-esteem & self-confidence, to help develop strong emotional literacy and overall consciousness.
One way that we can work on Self-Awareness and Social Awareness on our own is to answer, revisit and review some or all of these questions in a journal:
- What are your deepest core values?
- What is your daily self-care practice?
- What do you tackle regularly that gives you satisfaction?
- What do you put off doing that you would prefer to do regularly?
- What gives you joy? What are you most passionate about?
- What are you really great at?
- Who do you get energized by? Why?
- What do you avoid?
- Who sucks your energy/drains you? Why? What are you doing to address that?
- Also include daily in your journal, your inner and outer self-talk, any emotions you felt, how long you sat with your emotions, and any triggers or upsets that came up.
Then we look at how this is outwardly expressed emotionally, behaviorally, how we communicate, what our habits are, what boundaries we use, what biases and mental models we’ve formed, how intentional, clear and purpose driven we are, how independent and self-directed versus more dependent or directed by others we tend to be, etc. We also examine how empathetic, collaborative, realistic, socially responsible we are, and how (and in what ways) we are motivated to achieve our goals. These are also things that those of us who are keen to do this work, can examine on our own.
Questions we can also ask in our daily journal about Self-Management & Social Management are:
- What goals or intentions did you set for the day?
- Did you take action on and/or achieve them?
- What did you proactively do/say today?
- What did you reactively do/say today?
- Did you look to problem-solve any issues or conflicts that arose (or that has been pre-existing), or did/do you find yourself focusing on the problem, blaming others, without looking to solve it (yet)?
The idea is to have no judgement about the answers, but rather to just notice how we are spending our time each day, and what we are focusing on.
It’s such an incredibly vast and fascinating field. Some of it is quite similar to some of the processes (though different methodologies) of Inner Work and Shadow Work, which is why I think some of my messages on social media (especially on Twitter) have perhaps resonated for some of the Spiritual Twitter community (for which I am so thankful to be tweeting amongst and learning from).
Whatever paradigm we’re living, interacting or working in, whether it’s through a more pragmatic, logical, career-focused, numbers-focused, or science-based lens, or through a more creative or spiritual lens, or a combination of perspectives, Emotional Intelligence is accessible to everyone. It can be applied as a way to better understand ourselves and others, navigate the social world and work in more harmonious ways with others, develop regular mindfulness skills to work through/reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, sadness, grief, or hopelessness. In addition, it helps to clarify our life purpose, rewire our brain to shed limiting mindsets and foster positive mindsets, set, strategize and achieve goals, dissolve conflicts, reclaim our energy, improve communications, develop authentic, realistic, purpose-driven intentions, and the list goes on.
Emotional Intelligence provides a set of methodologies that helps us reveal more about ourselves and the world around us, and thereby create a personalized toolkit of strategies and methods to help us navigate life from an authentic, empowering, productive, and compassionate place. It’s preventative, restorative, and solutions-focused. It can help us find the most suitable career path or even the most suitable job. It can help us hone our communication skills or diffuse conflict. It can help us curb or alleviate unhealthy habits or tendencies. It can enlighten us to our patterns or biases that might be holding us back from reaching our potential, and there are countless more reported outcomes.
Emotional Intelligence work also helps us to move from a place of criticism or judgement to a place of discernment, where we have developed a healthy detachment from our ego, and particularly the thornier issues and triggers that previously may have caused us to react in ways that don’t “serve”. As many of us who’ve done some spiritual “deep diving”, we’ve come to examine our egos and how we use it in various situations, interactions and aspects of our lives. We’ve done inner work, shadow work, and some healing and shedding of things that formerly kept us down or brought us lasting grief, sadness, anger, regret or shame, and allowed us to rise up vibrationally. The result is that we then feel everything on the emotional spectrum without getting stuck in any particular emotion, and take personal responsibility for our lives in a way that mobilizes and empowers us to do and be our best and help others do the same.
Emotional Intelligence work creates an inner freedom. It teaches us to see and face things as they are, develop a healthy optimism and a healthy detachment from the things we cannot control, and supports us in working, living, loving and flowing from a place of authenticity, understanding and compassion. It doesn’t mean we don’t have attachments. It doesn’t mean we don’t have opinions. It doesn’t mean we don’t have fears, concerns, sadness, or setbacks. Conversely, doing the work does mean we’ve developed a certain level of resilience, tenacity, optimism and confidence in ourselves that allows us to navigate it all from an empowered, grounded, present-minded, forward-thinking, solutions-focused, and intentional place.
• In each of the 4 areas of Emotional Intelligence, the best strategies for success are to:
• Set daily intentions.
• Set appropriate scheduled goals and strategize each goal.
• Create short & long term goals and review them daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.
• Find a mentor, coach, trusted friend/family member to get support, feedback and practice with.
• Practice daily self-care and take care of yourself first by developing healthy daily habits that foster a healthy mind, body, heart and soul, (i.e. through movement, stretching, cleansing, breathing deeply, getting at least 6-8 hours of quality sleep a day, hydrating, eating more plant-based whole foods, meditating, praying, getting into nature, sweating, connecting with loved ones, petting an animal, forgiving, creating, journalling, listening to uplifting music/binaural beats, conscious consumption, dazzling our senses with the things that bring you joy, caring for ourselves & others compassionately and lovingly). Then take of how you are with others, and how you give and “serve” others.
• Create, produce, and share something with someone each day.
• Work to cultivate joy or other uplifting vibes in your interactions each day. (And I’m not suggesting to feed into “toxic positivity”, but rather to attempt to end conversations on a high note, share uplifting or hopeful messages with others, notice the “positive” alongside any “negative”, and choose your battles wisely and speak with compassion.).
• Look for the lessons or the blessings each day, and in every challenge.
• Practice every day and don’t give up! You’ve got this!
In closing, in the wise words of Ann McKee, a Neuropathologist, best-selling author and expert in neurodegenerative disease at New England Veterans Administrations Medical Centers, “Emotional intelligence does make a difference…creating what we would call a “resonant environment that is ripe with enthusiasm and appropriate levels of challenge and hope…[It] does make a difference, because it allows people to be at their best.”
I couldn’t agree more. I truly hope that more and more people find their way into conversations about Emotional Intelligence and start to consider doing the work that works for them in this arena.
My deepest wish and belief are that we are all here to expand and live our fullest lives authentically and in personal sovereignty. This is why I am so passionate about the work I do.
“May we all take care of the world inside of us, so that we can take care of the world outside of us.” #iammybestandsoareyou