How can you maintain the best of intentions when you set new goals for yourself or your agency? Here, EQ Academy Chief Executive Officer and coach Ush Dhanak explains how developing your emotional intelligence can keep you on the right track.
Developing your emotional intelligence can help you foster greater self-confidence and achieve your goals more easily and effectively.
Not only will you gain a greater understanding of what you’ve committed to, you will be able to develop closer relationships with those around you and become a role model.
But intentions made from a frail or weak emotional foundation will nearly always fail.
They often appear to others like mere wishes rather than commitments.
Start working on the following three areas of emotional intelligence to build a solid foundation and a rudder for future direction. This will guide you in the commitments you make, both in business and in your personal life.
1. Learn what you’re capable of by raising self-awareness
Working on your self-awareness, enables you to become more conscious of how you’re feeling and how that affects your behaviour. You are better able to control your emotions and regulate their effect on you, as well as better understanding your strengths and limitations.
It’s easy to see how developing self-awareness might help you stay on track and achieve the goals you set.
If you understanding how you react in certain situations, you can be more prepared for anything life throws at you.
Fewer ‘surprises’ means you can plan ahead with more confidence knowing that, if difficulties arise, you are a purposeful human being with the power to overcome them.
Self-awareness helps you balance your emotions and reduce stress, even in pressure situations.
Work on your self-awareness and self-assessment by:
- Labelling emotions – naming emotions reduces their intensity and limits potentially negative outcomes.
- Learning basic meditation – mindfulness techniques can help you relax, be more comfortable with your emotions, and make fewer rash judgments.
- Connecting emotions with specific events – making you less likely to act rashly.
- Self-reflection – make time daily to reflect on what’s important in your life.
- Writing things down – keeping a journal may help you improve understanding of your thoughts and feelings.
- Seeking feedback – ask trusted friends or colleagues for feedback about how they see you react in given situations.
2. Stay self-disciplined with better self-management
Have you ever heard the phrase, “They are their own worst enemy”?
The best-laid plans are often derailed, not because of external factors beyond our control, but because we sabotage them ourselves.
It’s easy to allow your emotions to get the better of you.
You may think you are in control, but emotions have a habit of hijacking our plans, causing disruptive results and sending us off track.
If you master self-management, you display more self-control and emotional intelligence, which allows you to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check.
If you think positively, maintain high standards of honesty and live your values; you are open to change, innovation and new approaches. You are proactive, resilient, intentional and look to achieve higher standards all the time.
Can you see how this could help keep you on a direct path to achieving your goals?
Work on your self-management by:
- Starting with self-awareness – this will give you the foundation you need to exert more control over your emotional intelligence and subsequent behaviours.
- Recognising the tell-tale physical signs of emotional ‘hijack’ – what happens when you are about to react emotionally?
- Taking a deep breath – when you feel a stress response, take a breather.
- Delay decisions – next time you recognise emotions taking over, delay your reaction and any decisions you need to make.
- Acknowledge your values and ambitions – write down your beliefs, goals and desires.
- Practise not taking the easy option – unless it’s in line with your values and goals.
- Practise saying ‘no’ – it’s important to be able to say ‘no’ sometimes if you want to say ‘yes’ to your goals.
3. Harness the power of relationships by improving your social awareness and management
Your goals may be personal ones, but you never act as an island.
Your thoughts, feelings and actions affect others in your personal and professional life.
Most people will identify their best times in life as time spent with those closest to them.
We are social beings, though we all show this in different ways.
This means that, while the foundation of emotional intelligence is self-awareness, there is an important social element to it too.
By recognising and harnessing the power of our relationships, we get the ‘buy-in’ of others; we become more social, accepting of others and adaptable.
We can use the collective power to help us stay on track with what we hope to achieve.
Work on your social awareness by:
- Practising listening – we have two ears and one mouth. If we start to use our ears more and our mouth less, we tap into others’ thoughts and feelings.
- Working on communication skills – are you understanding messages from others and communicating your own needs clearly enough?
- Developing more empathy – emotional intelligence comes from self-awareness, which helps you recognise similar emotions in others. Empathising with others will make them feel more at ease, helping you build rapport and develop closer relationships.
- Thinking about the needs of others – rather than being wrapped up in ourselves, we need to practise anticipating and recognising the needs of others.
- Resolving conflicts and disputes – don’t let problems fester; work to negotiate and resolve disputes before they snowball.
- Setting collaborative goals – if your goals include others, you are more likely to help each other stick to them.
If you work on these three key elements of emotional intelligence, you may be able to resurrect intentions and commitments that you thought were dead in the water.
Then you will have a blueprint for success for the rest of your life.