Emotional intelligence: it starts with you!
You deserve to be the leader of your own life
Be true to yourself
Be your best self
Be in the moment
Follow your heart
Listen to your intuition
Don’t worry what other people think
In some form or other, I would wager that we hear, see or come across one of the above sayings almost every day. We live in a time when we know more about being a human being and what makes us tick than ever before. We understand more too about what makes life fulfilling and meaningful for each of us.
On the flip side, we also live in a time with unprecedented levels of depression and anxiety, with loneliness recently being found to be deadlier than obesity in causing early death.
Something then isn’t so easy. Something then doesn’t add up. We have all the knowledge and understanding to live our best lives, but somehow we are falling increasingly into despair.
In the business world, there has been a big shift in recent years in identifying what makes a great leader. We recognise that being super smart and even super charismatic is not enough.
More important is two things - how well we know ourselves and how we manage ourselves and our relationships. Knowing yourself is the cornerstone of authentic leadership and managing yourself and relationships is emotional intelligence, now recognised as more important than IQ to professional success and fulfilment.
I love that emotional intelligence and authentic leadership are understood to be at the heart of healthy leadership, businesses and lives. It puts how we know and respect ourselves, and each other at the heart of a thriving economy. It also challenges us to be ourselves, be proud, be human, be brave, be honest, admit mistakes, and be vulnerable.
This list goes on, but the challenge at the heart of it and the cause of much anxiety and depression is, I think, that we don’t automatically know who we are. And sometimes we don’t know where to begin. We don’t necessarily know what our best self looks like. We don’t always know what we’re good at or even what is most important to us. Many of us don’t know what we’re feeling or what to do about it. Very few of us are completely sure exactly what is in our heart that we are supposed to follow.
So, whether you are aspiring to be a leader in business or simply the courageous navigator of your own life, start with yourself.
Become the authentic leader of your own life by spending time getting to know who you are and making a commitment to yourself about how you want to develop. At the heart of being authentic, and some places to start are to think about:
Knowing your values
Owning your story
Understanding your strengths and weaknesses
Understanding what motivates you
Understanding how you hold yourself back
Understanding what support you need
Understanding how you want to develop
You can work with a friend, partner, colleague or coach to think about some of these questions, and there are oodles of resources online you can use to support you.
Emotional intelligence will help you to live that journey more steadily, ride the highs and lows more nimbly and it is something that we can learn and practice. You can test your EQ score and identify areas for development here.
If you do nothing else but commit to developing your emotional intelligence, it is guaranteed to improve your confidence, relationships, earning power and feeling of satisfaction in life. What have you got to lose?
Karen is an expert in team work, communication and emotional intelligence. She especially runs two workshops with Mind It: Great conversations at work and Healthy Conflict. Get in touch to know more and get some workshops in your workplace!