BY BRITTANY M. ORIE LEAK
When we look at immensely successful people such as Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Mother Teresa, and Eleanor Roosevelt, they all have one major common denominator: they are all incredibly caring and unselfish individuals. They made an impact on humanity by giving tirelessly to not only those in need but to people in general. They are compassionate, understand the emotional needs of others, and satisfy those emotional needs. These famous individuals likely have a very high degree of emotional intelligence. This means they are aware of their own emotions, the emotions of others, how to manage their emotions and how to use human emotions to their advantage.
What if someone told you that your emotional quotient (EQ) determined your personal success more than your intelligence quotient (IQ)? Well, according to Emotional Intelligence 2.0, a book written by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves, your emotional intelligence can be a great predictor of your success. Even Oprah Winfrey stated, while speaking to one of the authors on her podcast, that although her IQ wasn’t as high as some of her peers and although she may not have made the highest grades in school compared to some other students, she is still much more successful than they are today. She concluded that her success was ignited by her emotional intelligence, her natural gift of empathy and giving to humanity.
The truth about success isn’t about how much knowledge or even how much skill we may have (though those factors do make a difference), but it’s more about how well we connect with others and how we tend to their emotions, versus ruling emotions out as human weakness. This is a social world filled with people and in order to thrive in it, we must have the emotional intelligence to effectively communicate, encourage, and empathize with them, as well as truly give to them.
Everyone’s brains are wired with a unique technology. Some folks are more logical and rational, while others may be more emotional and nurturing. Some people are naturally in touch with their emotions, while others need more time to process what they are feeling. Emotional intelligence begins with being aware and attuned with our feelings: what we are feeling at the moment, how we show them, and how we manage them. Here are some helpful ways of becoming more aware of our emotions, according to Emotional Intelligence 2.0:
- Know your stressors and pay attention to how they make you feel at that moment.
- Keep a daily journal of your emotions throughout the day. Write down what made you joyful, anxious, excited, or fearful. How did you respond when you felt those emotions? Write down why you believe you felt such emotions.
- Pay attention to your physiological responses. Strong emotions such as fear, excitement, love, and anger are accompanied by intense physiological responses such as increased heart rate and changes in body temperature. Notice how your emotions match these physical responses.
- Engage yourself in books, movies, or music and identify the emotions that arise within you. Spending time alone will help you turn inward and become more attuned to your emotional makeup.
While sympathy means feeling for others, empathy is feeling with others, as though their feelings and situations are our own. How does empathy boost our emotional intelligence? It helps us see and feel things from the other person’s perspective. Empathy strengthens our connections with others and makes us more aligned with the human condition as a whole. With advanced levels of empathy, we become more sensitive to the needs of others with a natural desire to give without expecting anything in return.
Being emotionally intelligent helps us in all areas of life: work, home, socially, and in our personal life. Our jobs can be stressful! With our bosses constantly commanding us and critiquing our work with very little or no positive reinforcement, it’s hard to stay positive. But whether you are in management, or working underneath it, every workplace needs encouragement and emotional support because it fuels our performance. Having strong emotional intelligence at home helps us within the family to improve relationships. It also helps marriages last and keeps us emotionally intimate with ourselves.