We know about our intelligence quotient (or IQ) but how is your emotional quotient (or EQ)? Your emotional intelligence could be more important in how successful you are in life.
Studio 5 Relationship Coach Dr. Matt Townsend walks us through a quiz and shares the tools to work on to improve your emotional quotient.
In today’s day and age you really won’t be able to get too far without being somewhat self-sufficient, right? Many seem to think that to be self-sufficient you simply need to make a good enough living and know how to effectively manage your finances and debts. In order to thoroughly study the topic of “self-sufficiency”, one should seriously focus first and foremost on the topic of “self” first and sufficiency, second.
A self-sufficient person must know themselves! They must understand what drives them, their strengths, their weaknesses and their ability to integrate and work well with others. Self-sufficient people aren’t always the smartest, fastest or most beautiful. They do however know how to relate. They relate to themselves, to their personal feelings, fears and reactions. They also know how to relate to others and their feelings, fears and reactions. Self-sufficient people also relate to their world, their environment and conditions around them, and are confident in their ability to adapt, learn and survive. This essential skill of “relatability” to the world, both inside of you and outside of you, is what is known as emotional intelligence.
In Daniel Goleman’s best selling book called Emotional Intelligence (1998) he defined intelligence as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships” (p.317). Goleman broke emotional intelligence down into 5 very basic skillsets. For a quick quiz on how you’re doing on those 5 skills, answer the following questions:
1. Do you recognize your own emotions and feelings as they are happening, and do you understand how your emotions impact you?
2. Do you know how to regulate and manage your own emotions so they don’t get the best of you?
3. Do you recognize the emotions and feeling in others, as they are being presented?
4. Do you know how to validate and effectively manage the emotions of others for improved relationships?
5. Do you know how to relate well enough with others to enroll them into your emotions and ideas?
Each of these questions is related to one of the 5 keys to emotional intelligence. Let’s take a quick review of the 5 areas and give you a simple activity to improve each condition. These competencies are based on Daniel Goleman’s redefined, five broad skills, with their correlating competencies.
Question #1- Do you recognize your own emotions and feelings as they are happening, and do understand how your emotions impact you?
Self-awareness is the ability to know one’s own emotions, your internal states, your personal preferences, intuitive promptings and feelings about a situation. It is a process that exists deeply inside you that helps you recognize the contributions you might be making or are able to improve or harm the interactions you are in. Until we engage our self-awareness, we are unable to make the real changes that need to be made in life to be self-sufficient.
Tool- In order to increase your self-awareness, start evaluating your life regularly by asking yourself the simple question, “How did I contribute to the situation I just experienced? Or what part of the problem or solution am I to this current situation?”
Question #2- Do you know how to regulate and manage your own emotions so they don’t get the best of you?
Self-regulation is the ability to manage one’s own emotional reaction, internal states and impulses. Self-regulation is the ability to feel the emotion, recognize what it is and to keep the emotion contained in a healthier space, so you can handle it in a more effective way. Self-regulation fosters trust with yourself and others. It also begets higher and higher levels of discipline and growth as you begin to see that your mastery over self strengthens your ability to have more success with all aspects of your life.
Tool- Set a goal of a reactive tendency you want to improve. Perhaps it’s yelling at your children when you’re frustrated or getting angry in traffic. Identify the trigger that upsets you in those situations and build an alternate strategy for what you will do when the children are up too late or traffic is backing up. Perhaps you could listen to music, practice breathing exercises or simply notice what is going on. Continue to practice self-regulation on that issue and chart how many days, weeks or months you can go without a blow up.
Question # 3- Do you recognize the emotions and feeling in others, as they are being presented?
Empathy is the ability to recognize the emotions of others, their feelings, needs and concerns. If self-awareness is the skill of me understanding me, than empathy is the skill of me understanding others. Empathy is the beginning of creating change and better relationships with the people around us. In fact, the ability to see the conditions of another and to actually be influenced by them increases your ability to influence more people. People follow those that they feel understand them, so empathy is the pathway to increase your power with others.
Tool- The minute you see someone doing something that frustrates you, or makes you want to react, try getting into their shoes. Ask yourself the following questions “Why would I ever do what this person is doing? What would push me far enough to warrant such behavior?” The simple of act of humanizing another person, or making them more like you may actually increase your ability to empathize with others. Force yourself to come up with legitimate reasons for their behavior and don’t allow yourself to just call them crazy!
Question #4- Do you know how to validate and effectively manage the emotions of others for improved relationships?
The social skills necessary to effectively handle the emotional blow ups and break downs of others is a critical set of life skills. As our empathy helps us to recognize the pain that others are emoting, our social skills help us to better validate and mitigate their pain. This ability to lower the emotional stress of others through communication skills, validation and effective listening are all ways to get more done in your most important relationships.
Tool- There are literally thousands of books, websites and online videos you can go to to improve your social skills. Get online and perform a search on the topic of communication and conflict resolutions skills. Go to You Tube and watch videos on how to reflectively listen, empathize or validate others. You can also go to my website at www.matttownsend.com and search through the video library there for topics related to social skills. In the end, your social skills are all worn on your sleeves. Either you know how to do them effectively, or you don’t, but it really can’t be faked. So don’t give up . . . and just get skilled.
Question #5- Do you know how to relate well enough with others to enroll them into your emotions and ideas?
Motivation is the ability and skills to understand the motivating emotional tendencies of yourself and others. Motivation is understanding how our emotional tendencies guide people to make the decisions we do, and help us to be driven to do what we want to do with our lives. By understanding how humans are motivated, we can better understand how to truly succeed in our own goals and dreams, and how to enroll others to help us on our journey. The ability to motivate others is found in every great leader and is a core skill to personal success and also success with those around us.
Tool- Spend the next couple of weeks closely looking at what personally motivates you most. Is it money, faith, fortune, fame, duty, obligation? Identify what drives you the most and be ready to answer the simply question, “What is your most basic personal motivator?” Then go and share your answer with the people closest to you and ask for their feedback. See if they have other views about what they think motivates you.
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