We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life.
But we can decide what happens in us, how we can take it, what we do with it,
and that is what really counts in the end.
In a world replete with abbreviations, many of which are understood by industry “insiders,” it is hard to keep up. One of the newer ones that you have probably seen, and should become more familiar with is “EI.” This stands for emotional intelligence. There are several sites that speak of this often, but today, we will take a step back and try to sort out some of the basics for you. To discuss a thing, you must first be able to define it.
What is EI?
What does emotional intelligence mean? It is the skill in perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings. Emotional intelligence encompasses five basic areas. They are:
- Knowing your feelings and using them to make life decisions that you can live with.
- Being able to manage your emotional life without being a slave to it. You are not paralyzed by depression or worry, or swept away in a fit of anger.
- Persisting in the face of setbacks and channeling your impulses in order to pursue your goals.
- Having empathy. Being able to read the emotions of other without them having to tell you exactly what they are feeling.
- Being able to handle feelings in relationships with skill, grace and harmony.
Because of the broad scope of these skills, there is always room for all of us to learn, grow, and improve. There is a lot to learn here. Use sailing for example. It is like reading every book you can lay your hands on about sailing. Then, after you have mastered the book theory, you have to get some hands-on practice to learn to apply what you’ve read.
How do you get better at EI?
- There are assessment tools, some of which you can access online, and are a great way to learn to identify your own emotions
- Persistence can be learned. In fact, taking on challenges and overcoming hardships has already given you ample opportunity to develop persistence and stick-to-itiveness. Goal-setting is also just one of the many tools you can use.
- Developing your sense of empathy is powerful in leadership situations. Understanding EI will help you learn to pay more attention to your instincts in this area instead of second-guessing yourself.
- Once you learn to be the manager (or master) of your feelings, it becomes an easy habit to apply it to almost any business or personal relationship.
Learning about emotional intelligence will not happen for you overnight. As you diligently practice, learn to pay more attention to cues, and apply what you learn, it will start to become second nature to you.
Here are a couple of good resources for more in-depth information from my friend, Irene Becker, who writes and coaches extensively in this area: