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Entries from February 2017

The Heart of the Matter – Emotional Intelligence

20th February 2017

Emotional Intelligence

There has been much written about emotional intelligence showing the more emotional intelligent leaders are the most successful.

But what makes someone more emotionally intelligent than another?

There are many tools that will allow you to assess your EI (Emotional Intelligence) however; you don’t need to use them. You could do a quick self-assessment by reviewing these 5 elements:

Self-Awareness

This, for me, is the most important component and transcends all elements of leadership. My belief is that you cannot lead others until you first learn to lead yourself. Those with higher levels of self-awareness tend to be confident and self-assured. When you are self-aware you can recognise your own particular emotional reactions to situations. You understand your moods and how they affect others.

Self-Regulation

To have emotional intelligence, not only are you aware of your own emotions, you are also able to control them. You act according to the situation. You don’t suppress your feelings. You know the right time to express them and the right way in which to do it. You’ll be great at managing conflict and diffusing difficult situations. Something many of us struggle with. You also take full responsibility for your actions.

Empathy

You are able to ‘emotionally read’ others, to understand how others are feeling. If someone is feeling down or sad, you have the emotional toolkit to manage the situation without it impacting on your own emotions. You can bring people’s moods up without bringing yours down. You can earn the respect and loyalty of your team and stakeholders by showing them that you understand.

Social Skills 

Being able to interact with others is so important in all areas of life. It builds trust and respect. You need to know when to listen and when to act. Give praise where it’s due, communicate clearly and resolve any conflicts in a calm and controlled manner.

Motivation

Last but by no means least, is motivation. Emotionally intelligent people are motivated to achieve their own internal goals. It’s not just about money, status and recognition. They understand their values and how they inform their decision-making.

An Emotional Intelligence Exercise

This activity can be used whenever you want to understand what is causing you to feel in a certain way.

Albert Ellis (a psychologist) identified that every feeling has an activating event, which create a rational or irrational belief(s) and self-talk. When we act on any irrational belief or self talk our behaviour can be less impactful. If you have been in a situation recently where you know you could have handled it better use this process to identify what you could do differently next time.

Take an emotion that may be getting in your way, or you know you need to manage more positively e.g. anger, irritation, impatience, frustration.

Step one: Identify the event that triggered the emotion e.g. the comment someone made, the number of errors in a piece of work.

Step two: Identify the self-talk and beliefs you hold around the event e.g. He never seems to be happy with what I do! She never pay’s attention to detail – does she think I’m stupid! What ever you think or believe write it down – it doesn’t mean it’s true.

Step three: For each belief and statement list the consequences. How do you feel? What’s the emotion and behaviour it creates e.g. I become irritated and stop listening; or I get frustrated and start criticising others

Step four: Now identify how you want to be handling the situation differently and start practicing.

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” 

Golda Meir 

 

Are you the author of your life?

1st February 2017

Are you the author of your life?

  • Do you find that you are not getting what you want?
  • Are you feeling limited or stuck in some way?
  • Do you find that you are repeating patterns of behaviour, or phrases or ways of thinking that get in your way?
  • Have you settled for less?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes then I’ll bet you are living your life according to old patterns of thinking and conditioned ways of being.

But, it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can get whatever you want and be the author of your life if you are prepared to make changes to the way you think and perceive the world around you.

Why do we get stuck?

Being stuck, or thinking that you can’t do or have what you want is normal. We all have limiting thoughts about our abilities and it happens when we attach ourselves to the past or the future.

Often it’s due to an unconscious decision we have made in the past, and more often than not it’s driven by emotion rather than logic. We make choices thinking that having a certain belief will help us get what we want or keep us safe.

Being stuck is a mental state that becomes a habit because it’s driven by a deep-rooted belief.

Your brain drives your thoughts and your behaviour. When you are stuck in old patterns, the body responds automatically. When you are on ‘automatic pilot’, your habitual patterns play out so life seems repetitive.

Rising above your conditioned way of being

The first step to change is self-awareness.

Start by becoming an observer of yourself. It’s very easy to be critical of things that you do, particularly when it’s a habit you want to change. Additionally, being critical is more likely to close your thinking down. Instead open up your thinking, be curious and ask yourself questions such as:

  • How did I create this habit in the first place?
  • What is it about this situation that is causing me to behave in this way?
  • How do I actually feel right now?
  • What one thing can I do to begin to change?

Once you start to break an old pattern, you can learn new ways to operate and build more positive, enabling habits.

Practice is the key to being the author of your life

The thing that got you into this stuck state was practice. You took on thoughts, beliefs and actions, and repeated them until they became automatic. Therefore, it makes sense that a new practice will help you to become un-stuck .

To find the practice that is right for you be clear about what you want.

For some people this can be the real challenge. As a coach, when I first ask this question, I often hear ‘I don’t know’. The second most common response I receive is people telling me what they don’t want. For example, if I’m working with someone who wants to be more confident, they’ll tell me they don’t want to be nervous, or they don’t want to forget what they are planning to say, or they don’t want to stutter over their words.

This focuses your brain on what already happens – your old practice. Your aim is to train your brain to focus on what you really want. Get a crystal clear picture in your mind. Be as specific as you can. Think about what you will do, how you will look, what you will say to yourself – and write all this down.

Be consistent in your practice. Remember you are creating new habits that will help you live the life you want. Consider where you will practice, with whom, and in what situations. Then, do it!

A word of advice

Be patient! You are re-wiring your brain. It has been doing things in a certain way for many years. Start small and build on it. Praise yourself for small successes. Focus on what is working and adjust what isn’t

Think about the first time you got on a bike, or drove a car. You started by practising some of the basic actions and had support. You made mistakes along the way but through hours of practice you became competent

The same rules apply here. Be kind to yourself and find someone who will cheer you on as you make small steps to living the life you want.

“Our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.”

Barbara Geraci

 

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