Drawn to the shadows
Can you focus on the light?
Learning What Matters In Business
Emotional Intelligence: Keeping Your Balance in Business & Life
“The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain.”
– Daniel Goleman
Our emotional intelligence (EQ) determines how aware we are about how we deal with frustration, misunderstandings, hurt, defensiveness, shame, and anger that may arise as we encounter different personalities and demands during a day in business and in life.
EQ determines our ability to think clearly, focus on what is important, and stay calm as we work with those around us and deal with the thousands of little and big frustrations that happen daily.
It therefore determines a degree of our success as we attempt to keep our balance in our business world and life at home.
A paraphrase of a Wikipedia definition: Emotional Intelligence is: “Our ability to recognize our own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings, between thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, to label them appropriately, and to use this information to guide our thinking and behavior.” (https://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_Intelligence)
Keeping our balance and staying focused as we run a business and live life demands that we become more aware of how to tell the difference between
- what we feel and what we think,
- what we think we know (i.e. what we believe to be true), and what the reality is.
The ability to tell the difference, to work with the possibility that our perception may not reflect reality, and begin to manage our reactions determines to some degree, the level of stress under which we live.
If we are not aware of our own emotional responses, we are likely losing sight of our purpose, our goals, and what is most important – to us, and to the business!
If we remain closed and not aware, we are:
- often not using skills and abilities we actually have access to,
- likely not getting past the emotional flooding (feelings that sometimes overtake us during and after difficult events) very quickly, and
- more likely to not forgive ourselves or others for the human mistakes that are part of living and learning
It is not easy to change our own behavior, but the results if we do, are worth it! Emotional Intelligence can improve with focus and effort.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I act around others when a situation is getting difficult or tense? Why do I react the way I do?
- What do I think is at risk? Who do I trust or not trust? Why? How does that serve my business or the goals I am trying to reach?
- How do I deal with other people’s bad behavior? Do I ignore it? Do I begin to prepare for battle? Do I become aggressive, defensive, or throw in the towel?
- What drives my responses? Do I recognize when I am feeling closed and defensive or angry rather than open to new possibilities?
Think through some examples for each situation above. Write down what happened, what triggered you, and what you find out about your reactions and responses.
If we live our lives on waves of emotions, or avoid and ignore emotions, we are much more likely to be closed to new opportunities as they arise, and… to become more rigid and less flexible about what happens in our lives and businesses.
Working on our development of emotional intelligence and being aware helps put us back in greater control of what happens to us, what we say, think, and do.
“Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom…the power to choose, to respond, [and] to change.”
– Stephen Covey
The answers we come up with to the questions above play a rather big role in determining how good we feel about who we are, what we say and do, and the outcomes we get as a result. And we will still make mistakes, and miss – or ignore a red flag or two.
But the reality is that we are always in process of growing and developing as we move through life. And it’s never too late to grow and change. More on this topic in the next article.
Below is a link to a series of online webinars (which can also be accessed through YouTube), each about 30 minutes long covering aspects of behaviors that impact all of us and our results.
I’m not suggesting that you go out and become an EI or EQ-i coach. Far from it!
I’m recommending these webinars to help you move closer to a work/life balance that serves you both personally and business-wise. Building a business requires focus, and the ability to stay focused when the going gets tough.
You decide which webinars make the most sense for you. Learn more about how you move through this world. It will serve you and your business well. It is a lifelong journey. Seek to find the right questions, and the possibilities will open up to you.
Let me know what you think. If you would like more coaching around this aspect of achieving more balance and success in business (and life), send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will get a response usually within 24 hours.