Perhaps you have watched the comedy show, Big Bang Theory. On the show is a very intelligent man named Sheldon Cooper. His IQ is off the charts. However, his EQ is abysmal. Sheldon is an intellectual giant but an emotional dwarf. His lack of emotional intelligence causes his relationships to flounder. I wonder if that is somewhat true for you as well. Are your relationships struggling because of your emotions? Do your emotions get the best of you? I believe that everyone can improve in this area. Everyone can master their emotions and increase their EQ.
Gauges Not Guides
The other day I was driving my car and the engine light came on. I stopped into an auto parts store and had them scan my car’s brain for the problem. The good news was that it only cost me $30 to fix the problem. However, what if I just ignored the light on my instrumental panel? What if I disconnected the fuse so that the light went away? That would be foolish. Something serious could be going on with my car and I would never know until it was too late. I could end up stranded because I did not pay attention to my gauges.
I believe our emotions are just like gauges in our automobiles. They are informing and warning us of what is going on overall. Emotions should never control us and guide our actions. When you become sad or angry, do you see that as a warning? Do you search out the root cause of why you are feeling depressed or hostile? If you do not, then you most likely end up saying something you wish you did not or taking undesirable actions. If you want to master your emotions, then you need to see them as gauges and act quickly when you experience them.
Daniel Goleman is credited with “emotional intelligence” because of his 1995 book and continued work on this topic. According to Goleman, there are four components of emotional intelligence. The first two are self-awareness and self-management. This is what I have been writing about so far and is the first step in mastering your emotions. Your emotions are gauges that you must recognize quickly and then manage correctly. As you do this consciously, you should begin to see emotional patterns. Do your emotions change from positive to negative at a certain time of the day, week, month or season? Do you get “hangry” around 5pm? Does Sunday nights bring anxiety because you have to go to work in the morning? Does winter or weather bring about depression? Do certain people cause an emotion in you? Many things can bring about undesired, negative emotions. The key to mastering yours is to be aware and manage appropriately. One of the easiest and quickest ways to manage is by breathing. Whenever I recognize that I am overwhelmed or anxious, I just start taking deep breaths. It really works! Besides breathing, there are other methods to regain your happiness and be at peace. You can maneuver from negative to positive emotions by working out, going for a walk, changing scenery, praying, meditating, listening to uplifting music, watching comedy, renewing your mind and writing down gratitude statements.
The second step in mastering your emotions is related to the social awareness and management components taught by Goleman. Are you aware of other people’s emotions and how do you respond to them? Do you show empathy? That takes awareness. Then, do you inspire others to do great things? That is what it means to manage other’s emotions. This is what separates great leaders and coaches from the average ones. This is what drives performance within an organization. This is what companies should and do look for when placing their employees in higher levels of leadership. Clearly, it is one thing to master your own emotions, but another to master others.
I believe that great leaders have high emotional intelligence. I also believe that everyone is a leader in one capacity or another. Parents are leaders. Teachers and coaches are leaders. You are a leader at home, school, work and in your neighborhood. Someone is looking up to you and wants to be inspired by you. Are you up to the task? Will you accept the mission to lead others? If so, you need to improve your emotional intelligence. You need to not only be aware and manage your own emotions but others as well. Great is the reward for those that pour into others.
I hope this helps you and please add your comments below.