Emotional Intelligence is our ability to monitor and manage our emotions and to have an awareness of others and competency to interact. Emotional Intelligence can be taught, and the earlier we learn, the more effective we will be in life. I can honestly share that in many of the programs I have facilitated, it is not uncommon for senior managers and company owners or executives to share how they wished that they had attended this program earlier in life. When I hear this comment, I always ask ‘why do you say that?’ The answers I have gotten range from, I could have saved my marriage, our team could have been more effective, I’d have a better relationship with my children, I would have had the ability to end a toxic relationship sooner…it goes on and on.
As I think back on this I feel that often people have the impression that being emotionally intelligent and socially aware requires being kind and nice all the time. It does not mean this at all. As we become more self-aware, we are equipped with the skills needed to make better decisions about the people we choose to be around professionally and personally.
As you reflect on the people around you, consider the value they bring to your life and what you can add to theirs. As you think on these people, ask yourself; is this a relationship that I need to start, is it a relationship that needs to be nurtured or is it a relationship that needs to be ended? These three questions allow us to prioritize the importance of the people in our lives and the time commitment it takes for us to win them over and build a friendship or professional relationship with them.
- Start a relationship – Who is someone that you need to work with closer or befriend more because they can add value to you personally or professionally. Perhaps there is a strong alignment between you and them in terms of skill set and you could make their lives more meaningful professionally and or personally. Do this by taking genuine interest in them and invest time so that they feel important. Once you take the initiative, they will reciprocate.
- Nurture a relationship – Who do you enjoy being around and feel that perhaps they could use more of your attention. This could be a client, colleague or a family member. Make time to touch base and catch-up with what is happening in their lives and share what is happening in yours.
- End a relationship – Some people in our circle are just not good for us to be around. It could be the one that is always negative or makes mean spirited jokes at your expense all the time. A chronic complainer that just saps your energy. It doesn’t have to be this obvious, it could also just be someone that doesn’t value who you are as friend.
As our family settles into our new home, our focus is on points 1 and 2 above. We need to invest in those around us and we need to nurture those we have leaned on to get us to where we are today. Think of investing time into people the way you would invest into your savings account. The more you deposit into it, the more you will be able to draw from it when the time comes. Make the emotional deposits into the people that will enable you to grow into your best selves. This will ensure a more meaningful journey on the road for life.