Emotional Intelligence

If you want to succeed in life, both personally and professionally, you need to get a grip on your emotions. And I’m not talking about suppressing them or pretending they don’t exist – I’m talking about developing emotional intelligence.

So what the hell is emotional intelligence? It’s the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It’s about being aware of how your feelings are influencing your thoughts, behaviors, and decisions, and using that awareness to make better choices.

And let me tell you, this is absolutely critical. When you’re under stress, in the middle of a negotiation, or facing a tough decision, your emotions can easily take over. You might lash out in anger, make impulsive choices, or let fear hold you back from taking necessary risks. And that can have serious consequences – you might damage relationships, miss out on opportunities, or make choices that you’ll regret later. In “Own Your Worth” I had referenced a personal story that dealt with making sound decisions while keeping emotions in check. This led to success for the person who was able to master the emotional side of what he decided to do.

When you have emotional intelligence, you’re able to keep your cool under pressure. You can recognize when your emotions are starting to take over, and you have the tools to reign them in. You can pause, gather your thoughts, and think logically about the situation before reacting. Don’t open your mouth until you understand that the words you are about to convey are driven from logic and not from your emotions. 

And this isn’t just about controlling your own emotions – it’s also about being able to read and respond to the emotions of others. When you’re emotionally intelligent, you can pick up on subtle cues like body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. You can sense when someone is upset, even if they’re trying to hide it, and you can adjust your own approach with them accordingly. The goal is communication, not just getting your thoughts out there. 

This is especially important in high-stakes situations like negotiations or conflict resolution. If you can accurately read the other person’s emotions and respond in a way that de-escalates tension and builds trust, you’ll be much more likely to reach a positive outcome. Simply arguing your point does nobody any good. 

But developing emotional intelligence isn’t easy. It takes practice, self-awareness, and a willingness to confront some uncomfortable truths about yourself. You have to be honest about your own emotional triggers, and you have to be willing to take responsibility for your reactions. You have to learn how to deal with triggers when they are presented, and have a mental plan ready to bring you back to the reality of what is really happening. 

One of the best ways to build emotional intelligence is through mindfulness. This means taking time each day to check in with yourself, notice your thoughts and feelings, and observe them without judgment. It’s about learning to be present in the moment, rather than getting caught up in regrets about the past or worries about the future. Live in the moment, there is plenty of time for reflection later. Right now, right in front of you – there are things that need to be done. Focus on what you are currently doing to get them done. 

And finally, emotional intelligence requires practice. You have to be willing to take risks, try new approaches, and learn from your mistakes. You have to be open to feedback, even when it’s hard to hear, and you have to be committed to ongoing growth and development.

So if you want to be truly successful in life, it’s time to get serious about emotional intelligence. Stop making decisions based on knee jerk reactions or unconscious biases. Start paying attention to your own emotions and the emotions of others. Practice mindfulness, empathy, and self-awareness. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to confront the uncomfortable truths about yourself.

Because here’s the thing – life is fucking messy. There will always be challenges, setbacks, and difficult people to deal with. But if you have emotional intelligence, you’ll be able to navigate those challenges with grace, resilience, and wisdom.

So take control of your emotions, master your reactions, and start making decisions based on logic and reason. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. Because when you have emotional intelligence, you have the power to shape your own destiny – and that’s a power worth fighting for.