Digging a Little Deeper to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

Over the summer I was listening to a book on CD about Frank Sinatra during my daily commute. He used to stand outside nightclubs begging the owners for a chance to sing for free, pushing his talents on to anyone willing to listen to his story. This was a recurrent theme throughout his early career. He would get a break then blow it because he let his temper get the best of him. He was forced to recreate himself until he discovered his emotional stability. Yes, he always had a temper, but he used that anger to spur his actions. His actions as one of the greatest singers of his era and his fearlessness when fighting for racial equality speak volumes of his ability to harness his emotions.

J.D. over at Get Rich Slowly forced me to take a hard look at my own writing. He turned down my last submission to GRS because he felt that it didn’t offer enough value. He was right. The article was about spending less and saving more, so you don’t have to work from paycheck to paycheck, but all of his readers already know this. J.D. pointed this out and gave me another chance to write a better article. Incidentally this post was also going to be a guest post too. J.D. felt it was good, but had too much of a personal development angle for his finance blog. So instead of giving it to someone else I’ve decided that I wanted to post it right here.


Your Success

Your emotional intelligence is probably the most important factor to your success. We try so hard to be productive, save money and exercise, but we neglect the most important part to our happiness – our Emotional Quotient (EQ).

What happens to you when your emotions bubble up? Do you acknowledge, release and move on, or do you let your emotions affect future choices? When you can learn to use your emotions to spur change you can better yourself. We all get upset at work. Maybe you aren’t treated with respect or the work doesn’t excite you. Regardless of what causes you trouble, it is important that you must find a system to improve your EQ.


Step 1 – Become Aware of Your Recurring Emotions and Why They Arise

When J.D. asked me to write another article my emotions took over. At first I felt sadness. My shoulders slumped and my head followed. Then I began to feel upset as I clasped my hands and squeezed as hard as I could.

I was in the RSS Idol Competition over at Daily Blog Tips during the month of July and I was hoping that the guest post would help me reach a new audience. My plan had fallen apart and that meant that I was probably out of the $3,000 competition.

I knew why my emotions occurred and how they arose, but working with them to help spur change is always the most difficult part.


Step 2 – Work with Your Emotions

J.D. gave me a much needed kick in the butt. To become a top flight writer you need to go deeper than everyone else. A few years ago I might have thrown in the towel and told myself I didn’t need to bother. My blog was growing just fine. The old me would have used an excuse like this to cop out, letting the fear dictate my choices.  Fear was just an emotional obstacle that I needed to overcome if I want to take my writing to a new level. I had to go deeper to give all of you something that would bounce around your mind for hours or even days. The problem was my lack of inspiration.

I went to the library to check out what other authors were writing about. I browsed the books, picking one up here and there and that’s when I realized that I was developing my emotional muscles. I had calmed myself and rose to action to improve the situation. If I let my emotions run wild I might have allowed my frustration take over and given up. Instead I was using these emotions to create a new direction that led to this article.


Step 3 – Practice Your Emotional Development

Just like curbing the Starbucks habit and brown bagging your lunch for work takes commitment, so does working with your emotions. At first it’s painful. Almost every good habit that I have now was painful at first, until I practiced it over and over and it became a welcomed friend. Remember your first job and how traumatic it all was? It was exciting, but a lot of mental work, dealing with co-workers, finding your niche, and getting the work done well. Over time it became routine and easy, preparing you for your next job.

When that first uncomfortable emotion occurs, whether it’s your commuter rage or low self-esteem, it’s malleable if you take the time to work with it. Next time you let your anger get a hold of you, notice where it comes from and what situations cause it to arise and next time you are in a similar situation be aware and open to these feelings. Allow them to sink in and find a way to allocate this energy to improve your circumstances. The quicker you can rebound from upsetting feelings the quicker you can get back to being productive.


Step 4 – Celebrate Even the Smallest Wins

I actually gave a Tiger fist pump, the same one he used at the U.S. Open, in the middle of the library because I realized my development was happening in that moment. My fist just jumped out and I went with it. The middle aged woman next to me stepped back. I whispered my apology and walked away. It didn’t bother me that I looked like some crazy guy because I was using my emotions to encourage positive change.

I was enjoying the process of bringing valuable content to the internet. Something that could really help other people work happier.

Your EQ is the most important aspect to your success. It helps you create solid relationships with co-workers. Over 60% of all new hires are based on referrals. If you are a balanced, warm and thoughtful person, you’ll have no trouble staying employed. There are plenty of brilliant people who are unemployed because they don’t understand how to develop their emotional skills. Don’t fall into the trap of tackling the same problems with the same emotional habits. Use your feelings to spur change and you’ll uncover new depths of strength that you never thought possible.


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Image courtesy of Mr. Theklan

7 thoughts on “Digging a Little Deeper to Develop Your Emotional Intelligence”

  1. Heya Karl! I’m also in the current Blogging Idol 2 competition!

    Liked it when you mentioned on the need to work with your emotions and how it will affect our works (including writing) if we let our emotions run ahead of us.

    Celebrating the small changes helps us create a better environment for ourselves and also to those around us. And like how your blog’s name goes, we can truly work happy now – with a developed EQ! 🙂


    Daniel Richard’s last blog post..7 Anti-Worry Hacks During This Financial Crisis

  2. I like this approach. You turned your disappointment into growth and improvement, which it sounds like is what J.D. wanted. I would add that, if working with your emotions doesn’t seem to be enough or doesn’t seem to work, getting professional help can improve many areas of your life.

    Dot’s last blog post..Featured Reader

  3. Firstly, do I really have to curb the starbucks habit?! 😉

    You’ve made some interesting points about emotions, and emotional intelligence.

    Not giving in, not being self defeated and learning to deal with your emotions are powerful steps for being productive and “rising above” many problems. Celebrating small victories also helps as you mention.

    Cheers, have a great week

    Ross’s last blog post..You see in your own life what you believe

  4. Hi Karl,
    Good stuff. Emotions can get the best of us, if we let them. If we don’t understand why we’re having those feelings. Getting to the point where we can see our emotions, understand why we are having a particular emotional reaction, and then let go and move on – this can be a freeing place to get to. Sometimes it’s easier than others. But I think if we keep actively working on it, we can get a better handle on our emotional needs – and become better because of that.

    Lance’s last blog post..Don’t Worry, Be Happy

  5. Hi Karl – It sounds like J.D. did you a favor by rejecting your post. As hard as something like that is, it does teach us a great lesson, doesn’t it?

    BTW – I love your new theme. It so clean and professional looking. Also, I just listened to your interview with Steve Pavlina. Your questions were perfect and Steve shared tons of valuable information. Congratulations again for landing the interview.

    Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog’s last blog post..You Asked For It – What About My Avatar

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