Popular movies and TV shows depict FBI agents swaggering into a room, taking control of the situation by intimidation or force, and knocking the sh*t out of anyone who doesn’t want to play by their rules. Only Hallmark channel movies feature moms who understand that emotional intelligence can be more effective than brawn and fists.
The first thing I learned as an FBI agent was that “reading other people” would be essential if I hoped to live long enough to retire from my job. The second thing I learned was that “understanding myself” would be critical if I wanted to predict my response when confronted with the unknown.
Ignorance of your competition makes you vulnerable; ignorance of yourself makes you stupid—LaRae Quy
Fine-tuning self-awareness skills is the essence of emotional intelligence—recognizing, understanding, and managing the emotions of ourselves and of others.
Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. Entrepreneurs, leaders, and business owners who need a winning edge in negotiations, understanding competitive behavior, and managing people rely on their emotional intelligence skills to be successful.
Neuroscience is showing us that we can rewire our brain. With that good news, here are 4 ways you can enhance your emotional intelligence skills:
1. KICK YOURSELF INTO HIGH GEAR
The first place to start in enhancing your emotional intelligence skills is become enthusiastic about achieving your goal. When you are motivated, you activate the left prefrontal cortex.
A good way to become motivated is to reflect upon your dreams and what you want to be in the future. Once you define that goal, take a closer look at where you are now and what you need to do in order to get there.
If you are unsure about the areas in which you are emotionally competent, ask people whom you know and trust.
- Which specific behaviors reflect your strengths?
- What behaviors do you see in star performers?
- Which of your competencies need to be strengthened?
2. TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME
Refrain from taking on more than one behavior at a time. Otherwise, you’ll become overwhelmed and frustrated.
Emotionally competent people are very intentional in the way they communicate to others. This will require you to pay full attention to each specific behavior.
Developing emotional intelligence will also require you to spend time with yourself to better understand what makes you tick—you will need to pinpoint which words, situations, or people trigger favorable and unfavorable reactions.
Mental toughness is not being afraid to address your weaknesses with the same enthusiasm and vigor as your explore your strengths.
- Identify one specific behavior to change or enhance.
- Give this goal your full attention.
- Construct a plan of action on how you intend to take your goal to the next level in specific steps.
3. DEVELOP NEW HABITS
The neural connectivity of old habits is strong; their circuitry has become so connected and thick that they have become the brain’s default response.
But, when you start to form new habits that will help you be more emotionally intelligent, these new behaviors create new circuitry that will eventually compete with your old habits. Over time, the new habit will become your brain’s default response.
The length of time to replace an old habit depends on how strong it is, and the new one will need to develop the same strength of connectivity.
- Habits begin to be hardwired the very first time you practice them.
- Continual practice creates more connectivity.
- 3-6 months of continually practicing the new habit is usually about average for it to replace the old one.
4. FLEX YOUR MENTAL MUSCLES
Mental toughness is controlling your mind instead of letting your mind control you! That is why meditation is a great tool in developing mental toughness. It requires you to continually observe where your mind has gone and bringing it back to where you want it.
Mental rehearsal activates the same neural circuitry as the real activity. Mental exercises will increase your ability to perform when the real moment comes.
- Take charge of your emotional competencies by mentally rehearsing how you want a meeting to unfold, your response to anticipated questions, or a conversation with a competitor.
The important thing to remember is that you can develop and enhance your emotional intelligence skills by following these 4 effective suggestions.
How have you developed your emotional intelligence over time?
© 2016 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.
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