Living an emotionally intelligent life

Emotional intelligence is becoming more and more popular. Your ability to succeed is no longer determined by your I.Q. E.Q. is just as important. The concept of emotional intelligence has existed for a long time but it really came to light when Daniel Goleman’s books on Emotional Intelligence were first published. It is now widely accepted that great leaders must possess emotional intelligence but you do not have to and, should not, wait until you become a leader to develop your emotional intelligence. Anybody can choose to live an emotionally intelligent life. It is not a simple matter of flicking a switch and suddenly you are living an emotionally intelligent life. It is a lifelong process which requires a desire to learn and improve.

A critical step in Emotional Intelligence is to identify and live your purpose. You can check whether you are living with purpose with my FREE Live With Purpose Checklist.

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Characteristics of an emotionally intelligent life

There are many characteristics which are displayed by somebody living an emotionally intelligent life. This article focuses mainly on the aspects of an emotionally intelligent life which involve your relationship with others.

1. You accept responsibility for your actions

We live in a culture where blame is prevalent. When people fail to achieve their targets or, they perform at a lower standard than they are capable of, they rush to find somebody else to blame for what happened. We are always looking for a scapegoat so that we can feel better about ourselves.

Blame is useless. Of all the times that you have blamed somebody else for something, has it ever resolved the situation? Of course not. When you live an emotionally intelligent life, you realise that it is far better to focus on what you can change next time so that you can achieve the result you desire. When you identify and, make the necessary changes, you improve the situation. When you sit around blaming, you get nowhere.

2. You live your values and standards

When you are living an emotionally intelligent life, you are clear on your most important values. You set the highest standards for how you expect to behave. Then, you always strive to live true to these values and standards. When you ask the most of yourself, in terms of behaviour, you will consistently perform to your highest standards which will allow you to achieve your best results and build better relationships with others. Remember, you cannot always control your outcomes but you can control your behaviour.

3. You help others to raise their game

By living to your highest standard you set a shining example for others to follow. You understand that if you want somebody to perform in a certain way, you should be an example of the behaviour that you are seeking from them e.g. if you want a colleague or employee to improve their time management, you should be an example of effective time management.

Rather than blame or attack others, when things go wrong, you focus on helping them to improve. You use constructive feedback to help them identify the changes they need to make. You then support them as they implement those changes.

4. You build the confidence of others

When you live an emotionally intelligent life, you not only build your own confidence; you help others to build their confidence. You understand that one of the best ways to help others live to their best is to offer positive reinforcement. Whenever you see them do something well, you are quick to offer praise.

5. You practice acceptance

Variety and diversity make the world a more beautiful place. We were never meant to be all the same. Accepting others for who they are is critical to an emotionally intelligent life. You don’t have to agree with everything that others believe, say or do but, within reason, you accept their right to their way of life. If they are not seeking to harm others, then there is usually no reason for you to take issue with them. You are comfortable in your skin and so you do not feel threatened by those who are different.

6. You practice compassion

Understanding your own human, spiritual and emotional nature allows you to understand the experience of your fellow man. You try to deal with things in the most compassionate way possible, even during conflict. It is more important to be kind than to be right and while you may have to take assertive action to deal with others, it is not motivated by a desire to inflict pain or suffering.

A critical step in Emotional Intelligence is to identify and live your purpose. You can check whether you are living with purpose with my FREE Live With Purpose Checklist.

Get Your FREE Copy Here  

7. You attempt to respond in the positive

There will always be times in life where you are treated in an unkind, disrespectful or negative manner. When you live an emotionally intelligent life, you realise that responding with more negative behaviour will not improve the situation; it will only make matters worse. Instead, you will respond in the kindest manner that you can manage at the time.

Responding in a positive manner does not mean that you must tolerate unacceptable behaviour from others. It simply requires that you refuse to escalate the spiral of negative behaviour e.g. if somebody is being nasty to you, you may feel that the kindest thing to do is to walk away. It may not make the other person feel better but it sends a clear message that you are not prepared to participate in the negative behaviour and, it gives them an opportunity to calm down and think about their behaviour. As such, it is certainly an act of kindness.

Values lie at the heart of an emotionally intelligent life. You can discover your values with Values Based Living.

Living an emotionally intelligent life requires commitment and a willingness to learn. Nobody ever achieves the maximum level of emotional intelligence. We are all fallible human beings who screw things up from time to time. The important thing is that you try to do your best and act in the kindest way that you can towards others, and towards yourself. If you try to turn the 7 behaviours above into regular habits, you will go a long way towards living an emotionally intelligent life and you will build better relationships in the process.