Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

Let’s talk EQ.

By now, most people have heard the term Emotional Intelligence or EQ. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional intelligence truly is the key to both professional and personal success!

Self awareness is precisely where emotional intelligence begins. Emotional intelligence is how I built my career. As difficult as it can be, recognizing my own emotions, as well as others, and how they affect specific situations and environments has been one of my greatest (and only) strengths.
While I consider myself to have an average to (maybe) slightly above average IQ, I am certainly no Einstein. I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree, no special skills and not much creativity. I never knew what I wanted to be “when I grew up.” Hell, I still don’t know to this day. What I do have is indomitable drive and more importantly, emotional intelligence. Those two traits have helped me overcome some major life obstacles, both personally and professionally.
My journey is a constant work in progress but despite lacking the education and skills that many “successful” people have, I’ve managed to build a decent career for myself at a relatively young age, with nothing more than the power within me. (and some great role models!) The good news is that you can do the same! Unlike IQ, which is an inherent trait, emotional intelligence can be acquired. You must be willing to do some soul searching. You must be able to consistently administer doses of humility to yourself (humble pie!). If you are willing and able to do those things, rest assured, the end results will astound you.
I personally believe that EQ trumps IQ in almost all settings. As an employer, I’ve noticed that those with emotional intelligence make the best, most productive team members. On a personal level, emotional intelligence has provided me the ability to build some powerful and fulfilling connections with people who have helped me grow in enormous ways.
Emotional intelligence is generating a lot of buzz these days and rightfully so. I thought I would share with you what components make up emotional intelligence in my world.
  • Empathy. Empathy is the driving force behind successful businesses and performers. When you display empathy to others, a level of trust is built. Emotionally intelligent people are trusted and well liked. People are WAY more likely to do business and/or engage with someone they trust and like. Most people are willing to pay a premium to interact with someone they trust. Myself included.
  • Authenticity. Be true to who you are. Recognize where you excel. Build your life around your greatest strengths.
  • EGO. Throw your ego out the window. If there is only one thing you take from this post, let it be this. Ego is a killer. It can destroy personal relationships and careers. It will absolutely stunt your growth. The sooner you learn to swallow your pride, the faster you will grow. We are all imperfect. We all have a ton of room for improvement. Embrace that. In fact, be excited for it. Growth is exciting! It’s all about perspective.
  • Open Mindedness. Feedback and suggestions from an outside perspective are essential for growth. When looking at ourselves, we tend to be myopic, focusing only on what’s directly in front of us. Outsiders tend to see an unbiased, broader picture. Let the people around you lead you away from the tree so you can actually see the forest. You’ll be amazed at everything you’ve overlooked.
  • Listening. This is crucial. There is so much to be learned by listening and asking the right questions. So often, we don’t actually listen. We’re too busy thinking about what we want to respond with instead of focusing on what’s being said. It’s best to listen to others’ opinions before sharing yours. The less you speak, the more you are listened to.
  • Restraint. The old adage of “Think before you speak” is so relevant to EQ. It takes time to process things, and it’s best to refrain from reacting until you have a clear understanding of what’s happening. Before you say something you can’t take back, sleep on it. Most times, you’ll be grateful you waited. We should be careful with our demeanor as those around us tend to absorb whatever energy we’re putting out. Having a positive attitude is everything. It’s hard as hell at times, but put on your game face every day. (Fake it til you make it!) It will pay off.
  • Altruism. Do what’s best for the greater good. Take care of others and it will come back to you tenfold. A cohesive environment is a productive environment. Selfishness will destroy efficiency and harmony.
  • Mindfulness. There is SO much value in awareness. Know exactly what you’re projecting, how you’re coming across and how others might be feeling (regardless of how you think they should feel). Don’t be clueless (yes, that is a choice) and get your head out of the sand!
  • Kindness. Soften your approach. You catch way more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
  • Humility. Understand how small you really are in the grand scheme of things. Never stop learning.
  • Adaptability. Be flexible. The human psyche is far from cookie cutter. Cater to the specific needs of the individual you’re communicating with. By paying attention, listening and asking the right questions, you can handle any adverse situation appropriately. Being a step ahead is always beneficial and will make conflict resolution much easier.
  • Accountabilty. We all mess up. There is no better solution to a mistake than an action plan to fix it. Making excuses is one of the worst things you can do. Own it, fix it and move on.
Emotional intelligence is gaining a ton of momentum in the professional arena and is something almost everyone is capable of. Many companies seek out emotionally intelligent people as they typically make exceptional leaders and employees. You can set yourself apart from most by demonstrating emotional intelligence. It can give you a huge leg up when you are seeking a new position, promotion or raise.

Tap into your emotions and the emotions of those around you and you can totally elevate your career and/or relationships.

Would you consider yourself emotionally intelligent?

How to Avoid Being an Asshole

There seems to be a serious asshole epidemic spreading around the US right now.  I thought I would do my part and lend a hand by offering some tips on how to avoid this terrible condition. Below is a list I’ve compiled of basic techniques on how to avoid being an asshole.

  1. Comprehend the fact that you are entitled to NOTHING in life.
  2. You are NOT the only person driving on the road.
  3. Stop assuming that successful people do not HAVE to work hard.
  4. Stop assuming that people of little means do not WANT to work hard. Actually, just stop assuming altogether.
  5. Show up to appointments that you schedule. If you’re even remotely unsure if you will be able to make it, DO NOT schedule it. People who work by appointment depend on you to show up to earn income. Cancelling at the last minute is just as bad. (emergencies aside)
  6. Learn how to have patience. If you are not able to do that, please just stay home.
  7. Compassion! If you can’t learn it, then fake it. The world is so hard, please spread love.
  8. Do not scream at or demean the person on the phone, working behind the counter or serving you food and drinks. You look like an idiot and people speak poorly about you when you leave, so just stop. You are embarrassing yourself and you don’t even know it.
  9. If you’re too cheap to tip properly, do not eat out. Servers make less than minimum wage. They are not there volunteering to serve you. This is how they put food on their own table. End of story.
  10. Do not blast businesses online and leave nasty reviews before giving them an opportunity to make it right. More importantly, STOP leaving reviews for businesses you’ve never patronized. You’re stripping integrity from the system and ruining this concept for businesses and consumers.
  11. Be happy when others succeed or have something good going for them. Celebrate their wins. Never say things like “Must be nice!” “Do you ever work?” Or “You’re always on vacation.” It makes you look jealous and bitter and that is not a good look.
  12. Stop being so damn unreasonable!
  13. Your lack of planning is NO ONE else’s emergency!
  14. Respect others’ time. It is extremely valuable so stop WASTING it.
  15. Miserable? Cool, but please keep that to yourself. Company does NOT love misery!
  16. Discipline your kids.  It takes an enormous amount of discipline to be successful in life.  Instill that in them now while its still learnable.  There were no “ice cream bribes” for me growing up. All my mom had to do was give me “the look” and I knew what time it was. Your kids will be grateful later in life for that discipline. I certainly am.
  17. Sick? Kids sick? STAY HOME. If that is impossible, wear a mask. Your kids’ sick days are not your personal days to run errands. That’s how the rest of us get sick. And it’s unfair to your kids. They should be home resting. So please, just don’t.
  18. Quit believing that your children do no wrong. STOP blaming teachers for your children not doing well. You are LYING to yourself and doing them no favors. Put down your phone and teach them accountability and how to interact with difficult people.  Our future desperately needs this.
  19. Learn how to have a filter when in a professional setting or dealing with strangers. Stop making people feel so uncomfortable.
  20. Understand this… most business owners are not “rich” nor do they “have it made.” You have NO CLUE how much time, energy and stress goes into operating a business so unless you’ve owned one personally, keep your snide remarks to yourself.
  21. You know what they say about opinions… everyone’s got one. Yours is no more valid than anyone else’s. (And we heard you the first 20 times!)
  22. For the love of God, please understand that you will never change anyone’s political views. So before you share another biased political garbage article, please consider the rest of us who are tired of that drama on social media. Also, you’ve probably been unfollowed by the people you’re passive aggressively trying to reach.
  23. Stop slacking at work. All you’re doing is dumping more work onto your colleagues and they resent you for it.  And if you think your boss doesn’t notice, you’re wrong. Take pride in your performance.
  24. Quit complaining about stupid first world problems. If you’re one of those people, please go out to see and experience different parts of the world. It will change your perspective and you desperately need that. Stop embarrassing the rest of us.
  25. Do not have speaker phone conversations in public places. It’s awkward for everyone around you and no one wants to hear it. Text like everyone else or take it somewhere private.
  26. Do not drive under the influence. It is completely UNACCEPTABLE. Dowload the Uber and Lyft apps. Be a responsible adult.
  27. STOP TEXTING AND DRIVING.  When we see you weaving all over the road, we know what you are doing.  You’re displaying a blatant disregard for human life. STOP!
  28. Stop feeling sorry for yourself over trivial stuff. We’ve all been dealt a bad hand before, it’s all about how you play that hand.  Skill>Luck
  29. Quit holding grudges. Grudges are bad for you and everyone else who is caught in the crossfire. Life is short, move on.
  30. Follow through with your word. That’s called INTEGRITY and it is one of the most important qualities you can possess.
  31. RSVP to events. EVEN IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND! (I’m still working on this myself)
  32. Last but not least, USE YOUR FREAKING TURN SIGNAL!  Why is that so difficult?
It’s really not rocket science! Can you imagine what a difference it could make if everyone just made a small effort to practice common courtesy?
What would you add to the list?

Forgive Yourself…but don’t Forget!

“To err is human; to forgive divine.”

Religious or not, there is so much truth to this.  If you’re really paying attention, you have  probably noticed that your life has been chock full of mistakes. Most of them can be categorized as bad decisions and if you’re anything like me, you’ve spent countless hours beating yourself up and exhausting a ton of energy regretting those bad decisions.  That’s fine for a brief period of time because it is super important to acknowledge where YOU went wrong.  I emphasize “you”  because I have noticed that common behavior is to inadvertently try to find a way to place blame on someone or something else.  We’ve all done it!   If you’ve ever found yourself saying “It’s not my fault!”, there’s a 99% chance that it was (at least partially) your fault.  Instead of making excuses, make solutions.

It is painful and uncomfortable as hell to look at yourself in the figurative mirror and say,  “This is my responsibility.  I will own this.”  Stop obsessing about the “Why did this happen to me?” or  “It’s not my fault!” Take a step back and figure out exactly where you took a wrong turn.  Why did you make that decision that ended poorly?  Once you have honestly and thoroughly acknowledged where the actual misstep occurred, you’ve gotten to the root of the problem and you will be way more mindful of that behavior the next time around.  (There WILL be a next time.)  Doing this will set you up for one less failure or painful experience in the future.  It will also serve great purpose in your personal refinement.  That is what growth is all about… refinement!  I will be talking about that often.

Contrary to popular belief, I have made more mistakes than I can count.  Some of them have taken me a very long time to forgive myself for.  Some of them will stay in the back of my mind forever and I’m OK with that.  I have forgiven myself for every bad decision I have made but I refuse to forget!  The lessons I’ve learned from those mistakes are invaluable.  They have added incredible enhancement to my growth and I like to keep them on hand as reminders of where I’ve been and where I am going.

People tell me all of the time not to be so hard on myself.  I wholeheartedly disagree with that.  We should be hard on ourselves!   We should hold ourselves to a standard higher than anyone else ever possibly could.  It is called self awareness and once you can get through the initial discomfort of  that process, you will see an unbelievable jump in your growth, production and contribution.   I cannot express how important it is to be honest with yourself.  Do it.  TRUST ME!

Self awareness= Acknowledgement.  Acknowledgment=Acceptance.  Acceptance=Forgiveness.  Forgiveness=Peace.