How I Mastered My Emotional Wellness to Get Ahead at Work & You Can, Too

It takes 4 steps, and they aren’t easy. Nicole Lapin, author of career guide Becoming Super Woman, shares how to learn this skill to succeed at work.

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You’ve likely heard of emotional intelligence, or EQ, and its effect on getting ahead in your career. It is connected to both better workplace performance and higher salary. People with high EQ excel at perceiving, understanding, using, and managing emotions. Studies show that when people have roughly equal IQ and skill, EQ accounts for 90 percent of what makes some of those people more successful than others. 

You also likely know that mental wellness is a state of psychological health and well-being. People who take care of their mental wellness are able to sustain a baseline of contentment while creating and maintaining healthy relationships. They also have the ability to cope with the demands of everyday life, and are resilient when shit happens. 

Sounds great right? I agree, and wondered how to strengthen my emotional intelligence and mental wellness, since it’s not something we are born with. These things are learned. I’m not gonna lie—it’s work. Every. Single. Day. Here are the steps to master EQ and and improve your career. 

STEP 1: Find Power in Your Problems

The way you view and talk about your problems can make all the difference. Unlocking their power requires that you first identify them. Then, reframe and manage them. It means harnessing the good while recognizing what is difficult for you and where you might need support. Often the only thing standing between distress and success is asking for help. And in order to do that, you have to identify just what it is you need help with in the first place. 

STEP 2: Take Care of Yourself

Taking care of yourself is not selfish. Being “selfless” is not a good thing. Taking care of yourself, on the other hand, is a great thing. So, go ahead, be “selfish” and when someone calls you that, say “thank you.” 

STEP 3. Define What Balance Means to You

Don’t go overboard “leaning in” or you’ll fall over. What I’ve found actually actionable is to “lean out” of the things I’m not focusing on right now and not shame myself for it. Perhaps we can start replacing the phrase “chillin’ like a villain” with “chillin’ like a superhero.” I know it doesn’t have the same lovely rhyme to it, but it’s time to celebrate the dare I say heroic moments when you “lean back.” 

STEP 4: Set Boundaries

If you don’t set boundaries around your domain, which includes your time, your energy, and even your feelings, people can and will take advantage of you. As many of the greatest female leaders out there will tell you, sometimes breaking that glass ceiling requires putting up some scaffolding first. 

It’s not going to be easy, but if you stick to these steps and remember your values, you will start to grow as a person. High EQ and stellar mental wellness are each important on their own. But to be the most successful Super Woman you can be, you really need both. It took me a lot of trial and error to up my EQ. Now mastering and maintaining your Emotional Wellness is up to you.

Nicole Lapin is the New York Times Bestselling author of Rich Bitch and Boss Bitch. She is the host of the nationally syndicated business reality competition show, “Hatched.” She has been an anchor on CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg. Her latest book, Becoming Super Woman, is available now. Take control of your money this year with her online personal finance course, The Money School (hyperlink to Use promo code MONEY2020 until 1/31 for 50% off tuition.

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