In the book, Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, Dan Goleman defines emotional intelligence as the following:
“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. If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
I used to feel poorly about myself whenever I was called “too sensitive.” Referring back to my LinkedIn post a few days ago:
The power of #emotionalintelligence. I used to feel insecure when I was called ‘sensitive.’ I can now appreciate the gift of feeling emotions and being empathetic, especially in moving through daily life. Being empathetic is a huge strength that can help to move through #challenges and #opportunities. It’s also a really important part of being a relationship builder.
How can you own and embrace your insecurities help you move forward? #lessons #gifts #experiences #empathy
It’s been work in progress to fully embrace my gifts instead of criticize myself for my weaknesses. It’s been a journey with so many ups and downs. It’s been a lot of course-correcting when things don’t go as planned.
A main part of emotional intelligence is self-reflection. It can be a challenging thing to do, as our lives have gotten busier and things feel as they are moving “at the speed of light.”
Taking a step back can be challenging, especially when you feel like you are constantly reacting to external events. It can feel like your body is in flight-or-flight, where you are reacting to whatever life throws at you.
Looking within and asking yourself thoughtful questions can stop the reactivity and give insight to become more proactive and in control. Think about the lessons that you have learned and the opportunities that are being presented to you.
For me, I realized how important it was to take a step back and look after myself first. I started letting myself cry when I needed to cry. I started questioning why I was feeling anger and frustration. I continued to explore feelings of comparing and contrasting.
When I couldn’t see my own strengths, I reached out for help to gain clarity and perspective.
When I started to feel like the inner voices of being “too emotional” and “too sensitive” come up, I asked myself how I could use these gifts to help and serve others. I have to admit — this took some time to get to this place.
I tapped into my intuition and I started sharing more of my experiences with others in a safe environment. In releasing the emotion, I created space to realize that being emotional and sensitive can create greater empathy and understanding.
I started being appreciative of the capacity to deeply feel the emotions instead of feeling nothing. In turn, my emotions helped me to better relate to others; a skill to support me in my career. The gift to make me a better communicator.
As conflict arose in work situations, I practiced my skills of empathy and deep listening to become more collaborative and gain a different perspective. As uncomfortable as it was, I started asking more questions to create clarity and I started to speak up more often. I realized how many times I wasn’t breathing deeply in stressful situations. From that point, I had to consciously remind myself to practice breathing deeply, especially during times of stress to move through these situations.
I would love to hear from you and continue the conversation.
How do you practice emotional intelligence in your career?
Originally published on Medium.