Do you have high emotional intelligence?

emotional intelligence

Decades of research proves that emotional intelligence is critical to success. 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence.

How to work out whether you have high or low EQ, isn’t easy. However, Dr Travis Bradberry co-author of the leading book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 collected data from a million-plus people tested in order to identify the behaviours that are the hallmarks of a high EQ.

What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

1. A robust emotional vocabulary

All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately depict them as they occur. In fact, only 36% of people can do this. Misunderstood emotions lead to frustrations and even actions that we regret.

People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so.

2. They are curious about people

Emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is from their underlying empathy. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

3. They embrace change

Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They are the leaders of innovation. They understand that success means embracing change and feeling the change of the wind.

4. They are aware of their strengths and weaknesses

Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand their emotions they are self-aware about what their weaknesses and strengths are. They keep tabs on their frustrations and work harder every day to be a better person.  Having a high EQ means you take full advantage of your strengths while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

5. They are excellent judges of character

Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness. This is the ability to read other people, know how to manage them and empathise with them.

6. They are difficult to offend

People with high EQ have a high sense of who they are and can’t easily be knocked down. Don’t get me wrong they are open to constructive criticism but anything else is water off a ducks back.

Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin.

7. They don’t hold grudges

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Emotionally intelligent people recognise that grudges are simply an inability to let negative experiences go. The weightless experience of letting go of grudges is a clear path towards future success.

8. They neutralise toxic people

High EQ individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they must deal with a toxic person they approach the situation rationally, they don’t let their emotions take leadership. They try to empathise even pity the toxic person but the one thing they don’t do is give them any importance.

The best self-awareness exercises to aid your success

self-awareness

“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” – Marcus Aurelius

Your inner self governs everything you do. Those frustrations you feel come from deep within. Your inner self can either afflict you or be the string in your bow of success.

Self-awareness is one of the most important skills for success.

Your behaviour and responses are governed by internal mental processes. Self-awareness uncovers any destructive thought-patterns and/or unhealthy habits.

If you find yourself lashing out, or frustrated then perhaps it’s time to get your self-awareness in check. Even if you feel fine, self-awareness adds indispensable value to your life and without it, you can’t possibly hope to be the best version of youself.

Here are the best exercises for self-awareness.

1. The three why’s

Before acting on a decision, ask yourself “Why?” Then follow up your reasoning with another  “Why?” And then a third. If you can find three good reasons to pursue something, you’ll have clarity and be more confident in your actions. Don’t go through your day being a bag of unreasoned emotions. Think before you act. It pays dividends.

Self-awareness is about understanding your motives and assuring yourself that your actions are reasoned.

2. Expand your emotional vocabulary

When we can’t explain how we feel we feel frustrated. Emotions hold a lot of power towards our actions. Putting your feelings into words has a therapeutic effect on your brain. Here is a great list of “feeling words” to help with describing and labelling your emotions.

3. Take responsibility for your flaws

Nobody is perfect. Being aware of your flaws means accepting responsibility for the things you do wrong. It’s very easy to criticise others but we can’t do that without turning the mirror on ourselves. We wouldn’t want to be hypocrites now, would we? Self-improvement only happens once you recognize a flaw. Create a habit of acknowledging your mistakes, rather than making excuses.

4. Practice saying ‘no’ to yourself

One of the most valuable aspects of self-awareness is self-control. Stopping yourself from doing things that will hurt you or others is a major part of what keeps us successful.

The ability to say “no” to yourself to put off short-term gratification for the long-term gain. It’s a core life-skill. The more you practice saying “no” to small daily challenges, the better you can withstand major temptations.

5. Monitor your self-talk

Be very aware of how you communicate to yourself. If you pass off your achievements as luck and crucify yourself after failures you are lacking in confidence and your self-talk could be making it worse. You need to put an immediate stop to it. How can you expect to be successful if your main supporter (you) doesn’t even believe in you?

A little bit of negative self-talk can spiral into stress and depression.

Balance tough talk with self-compassion. That’s a real winners mentality.

6. Improve your body language awareness

Watching yourself on video can be a cringeworthy experience, but awareness of your body language, posture, and mannerisms improves your confidence.

Slouching, or taking a “low-power-pose” increases cortisol and feeds low self-esteem, while standing tall or taking a “high-power-pose” stimulates testosterone and improves your performance. Using hand gestures helps with articulating your thoughts and affects how people respond to you.

7. Ask for constructive feedback, regularly

We all have blind spots in our thinking patterns and behaviours. Asking for regular constructive feedback cuts through any incorrectly perceived characteristics or blind spots we might have about ourselves. It gives us a rare glimpse of how other people see us and it’s invaluable to our progress.

8. Break visceral reactions

Last but by no means least. A person without self-awareness runs on auto-pilot and responds with knee-jerk reactions. Self-awareness allows you to assess situations objectively and rationally, without letting your actions overcome your chances of success.

Add space between your thoughts and actions this is the key to a life of self-awareness.

How to practice patience

patience

We all want instant gratification. We have all forgotten about patience.

In today’s fast-paced society where everything can be at our fingertips in seconds, waiting seems like such an outdated concept. Except that it’s not. It’s arguably one of the most important characteristics of a successful career and life. We can’t get immediate results in the gym and we can’t become successful overnight.

The most important things require patience.

So in light of that truth, maybe it’s time we slow down and practice, patience. It is, after all, a necessity.

1. Start practising patience

The best way to practice patience is to make yourself wait. Sounds hard but it does pay off. A study published in Psychological Science shows that waiting for things actually makes us happier. Start with something small like waiting a few extra minutes to eat your breakfast or eating your dinner, then move on to something bigger. You will start to train yourself to be better at patience.

2. Remove from your day what isn’t important 

We all have things in our lives that take time away from what is important. So, one way to get more of what we want quicker is to remove the things that are not important. Take a few minutes and evaluate your week. Look at your schedule from the moment you wake up to when you sleep. Take out two or three things that are time wasting but take time. This can be anything from scrolling on social media to spending time worrying.

3. Know your triggers 

Sometimes certain tasks can trigger our impatience. If we know we need to spend more time on something due to our lack of knowledge or skills we are more likely to get frustrated when it takes more time. It is better to be mindful of what makes us impatient. Write them down. This will help you deal with your impatience before it strikes you unexpectedly. Impatience is ok, it just means you really want something. Learn to accept it, deal with it and don’t let it remove your focus from what is important.

4. Breathe 

Most of all, just stay calm and focus on your breathing. It sounds simple but it is often overlooked. Taking slow deep breaths can help calm the mind and body. This is the easiest way to help ease any impatient feelings you are immediately experiencing. If you want to take it a step further

If breathing doesn’t help I find taking a walk to clear your head The point is to find some time for you each day to let go of all the frustrations.

Lifes frustrations have a way of creeping in on us without us realising. Give importance to your mental health. Give time to letting go of your stressors.

How to remove your fear of missing out

missing

Do you ever find yourself longing to be somewhere you are not?

Well, it happens to all of us. We have to make some tough decisions about our career and sometimes that means missing out on things. This can be the opportunity to work on a meaningful project or even a family reunion. Whatever it may be that’s tugging at your heart, just know you’re not the only one that feels FOMO (fear of missing out).

So when FOMO strikes here is how to deal with it.

The only way to deal with your fear of missing out is to embrace it. One of the most painful aspects of is, feeling stripped of your choice. You feel that because of your hectic life you have no liberty. Well, actually you do. You may have a busy schedule but in fact, you’ve chosen to be where you need to be.

Appreciate the value of your choice to say no. You have chosen to invest and dedicate yourself to your future success and that is something to be proud of.

For example, if you’re missing out on what you perceive to be important opportunities by saying no. Think about it. You are more than likely too busy, frequently stressed, overworked and dangerously close to burnout. So look at it this way;

So, saying no to more opportunities means

  • You are going to give priority to what’s in front of you
  • You are going to create space for mental health, self-care and in order to avoid burnout
  • You are committed to the work that in front of you and that’s the most value you can give to it.

Dealing with the feeling of missing out

Even if you do rationalise why the missing out is good for you, it still hurts.

So if you notice yourself struggling with this pain don’t feat, it’s actually an incredible doorway to transformation.

Here’s how you might practice:

  • Stop and notice that you are feeling the pain of missing something important.
  • Pause and let yourself feel this pain. Focus on the feeling instead of the thoughts. Embrace this pain and don’t run away from the feelings.
  • Ask yourself if what is before you is less important than what you have said no t0. Asses the damage – could you reasonably leave your commitments, right now, without seriously damaging your career? If not, you are clear on your priorities.
  • Remind yourself that you’ve said yes to your present priorities That this pain and fear of missing out is the price of your commitment and that’s ok.
  • Remind yourself that you would feel greater pain, in your future, if you throw away your present commitments.
  • Feel proud of your commitment to whats in front of you. Feel strong and brave that you have the courage to commit to your success.

Learn to trust yourself. Understand you have made the right decision. The best way to deal with your fear or pain of missing out – is to face it. Learn to validate yourself. Learn to have the courage to deal with everything and it’s ok to feel the pain.

In the end, success requires that sometimes you miss out on other important things. It’s unavoidable. But, rest assured that what you’re working towards, is worth it.

How to be aware of and master your mental states

mental state

If you’re tired or feeling down, there’s a good chance you’re not physically sick. But, every chance you are neglecting some meaningful part of your life and your mind can no longer stand it.

Our mental states will usually affect whether we exercise, socialise, eat well, educate our minds (or not), drink alcohol, have low moods, are happy, irritable or open-hearted with the people that matter to us most.

So, for obvious reasons, it’s really important to monitor mental states. It’s an incredibly powerful skill to determine the mental state you need (or don’t need) for any given moment.

The power of mastering your mental state is limitless.

However, what if you have neglected part of your inner self and now you have to deal with a bad mental state when you’re really busy at work?

You need to overcome your mental state and fast.

Well, here’s how.

How to change from a bad mental state to a good

Firstly, you have to want to do it.

You have to show commitment.

Leo Babauta from Zen Habits suggests the following practice to initiate the change from one mental state to the other.

1. Recognise that your mental state needs to change (recognition) 

For example, if you’re tired or frazzled and you need to focus on work.

2. Make it happen, despite the mental state (acceptance) 

Here you carry on with your task, regardless of your mental state.

If you’re truly committed to your task then a bad mental state certainly won’t impact you.

If you’re tired. That’s ok. Just make sure you take extra care so no mistakes are made.

If you’re frustrated simply be kind to yourself and others. You shouldn’t ever show your signs of frustration – and if you act with kindness – this would never happen.

Show generosity to whatever mental state you find yourself in and give it the extra attention it needs.

3. Take actions that contribute to a better mental state (action)

We all agree that if you’re not in a good mental state (i.e tired, distracted, anxious etc) this is a negative place to be. Therefore, the answer is clear, inject some positivity into your life and that will instantly help to lift your mood.

For example, some common actions that help you move into a better mental state:

  • Meditation
  • Walking
  • Exercise
  • Talk to someone (if you’re worried about something).
  • Have a cup of tea (or your favourite soft drink).
  • Getting into a quiet, clean and uncluttered environment.
  • Disconnect yourself your computer, phone and/or tablet.
  • Playing calm (or your favourite) music.
  • Read your favourite (or current) book
  • Do something fun

There are many other possibilities, of course, but you get the idea.

This practice allows you to carry on with any task, regardless of your mood.

It’s a simple process of recognition, acceptance and action and it makes the world of difference when trying to push through negative feelings.

For more information on this topic read the very helpful blog by Leo Babauta for Zen Habits, here.

Is self-doubt part of our process

self-doubt

The one mistake you can make is believing that self-doubt is a part of your process.

Spending time thinking that your work isn’t good enough, isn’t part of the journey. It’s a travesty.

Here are all the reasons why self-doubt is ruining your career and how to stop it

1. You’re not respecting the journey

If you are making mistakes, early on or when starting out in a new environment, don’t beat yourself down. It’s always hard hearing criticism but it’s not as hard overcoming them. If you could have done something better, hold your hands up. Promise to do it better next time and move on with your life. You would never judge a young person for mistakes in their grammar. Why? Because they are just learning. So, give yourself the same respect.

2. Every outcome you have achieved has come from practice not, self-doubt

Remember that time when you got really lost in self-doubt and then because of that you smashed your work the next day? Exactly, because that never happens. Your best outcomes are based on your repetitions and on your hard work. It has absolutely nothing to do with your self-doubt.

3. Self-doubt makes you rely on confirmation bias

When you lack confidence in your work and stew in self-doubt, you can’t help but feel a little guilty because you know it’s so completely and utterly counter-productive.  So, instead, to justify your self-doubt hole, you start to gather all of the evidence you can to support the fact that you are a failure…!

This is very easy to do but also very destructive – why would anyone in their right mind try to focus on their negatives to better themselves.

Instead, do what your gut is telling you to do.

Stop focusing on the negatives and start fact-finding about your positives. Remember every one of your achievements and wear them with enough pride that it melts all your self-doubt away.

4. Self-doubt ruins your rationality

Think about that spiral of self-doubt.

Think about how quickly it transpires out of control. Making you feel a myriad of uncontrollable negative emotions. One minute you’re fine and then the next, well, you’re doubting the point of your existence. Does that sound rational to you?

Well, that’s because self-doubt is highly irrational thinking based on fears.

Think of self-doubt as the rapper over the sound of your anxious beating heart. It’s just meaningless words, based on how your body/mind feels at that time. It doesn’t make it true.

Try to be objective when you feel an attack of self-doubt. Imagine it was happening to your friend. Step out of your own thoughts and advise your “friend”. There’s no way you would encourage them and say “continue with all this self-doubt, it’s great”.

Well, that’s exactly what you should be saying to yourself too.

So enough is enough, forget the self-doubt. Just concentrate on being the best version of you.

 

 

How to create your own annual review

review

Why rely on the feedback of others to guide your career? Why submit to the thoughts of your superiors.

Why not take your development into your own hands?

Your own personal annual review allows you to set your own targets and understand where you need improvement.

The idea is to set an actionable plan for your year ahead.

Your review holds you accountable to your goals, helping you to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

It’s arguably the most valuable thing you can do if you are serious about reaching your goals.

Devoting time to your own annual review is like doing an annual review at work, except usually more productive and always more fun.

Step 1

[Year -X Results]

Look at the goals you set last year.

See what you could achieve and what you couldn’t. Don’t figure out why (that’s step 2) just focus on the bare bone results.

This data can be inputted as specific as you like. For example, spend more time with family 60% success.

This will be column one “[Year -X Results]”

Step 2

[Year -X Lessons]

Ask yourself two questions and try to have at least 10 points for each.

It goes without saying, only put answers on here that are within your control. Obviously, if a client pulls out because they go bust, that isn’t exactly based on your skills (or lack thereof).

From your answers write a list of lessons that you’ve learnt.

Try to link (most of) your lessons to your Step 1 Results. You want to see a direct correlation of why things did or didn’t work well.

There may, of course, be lessons that you learnt outside of your goals and these are important too.

This will be column two “[Year -X Lessons]”.

Step 3

[Year X Goals]

Categorise your future goals. For example family, career, hobbies, community, sport ect

Try to not over-congest this area and stick between 3-5 goals for each category. This keeps your goal setting more realistic and importantly, obtainable.

This will be column three “[Year X Goals]

Step 4

[Year X Actionables]

This is the action required for each goal

This is the plan. The backbone. The most important part of the process.

Your goals must be measurable.

You can’t simply dream up realistic goals without having a solid idea about how you are going to achieve them.

Think of this as the blueprint behind your vision. Be careful, detailed and exact when mapping out your route to your goals.

For example, if you want to save £2000 pounds this year, you will need to save £5.48p per day.

This will be column four “[Year X Actionables]”

There you have it. A simple easy to use personal annual review.

Once you been doing this for a while, it’s a great idea to keep a separate page of metrics. Such as;

% increase in income

% increase in clients

% increase in countries visited

and so on.

What are you waiting for? Try it. It could be the best thing that’s happened to you this year.

How to create an extra hour in your day

hour

We all, at some point in our life, have the disgruntled feeling that we’ve been robbed of our time.

It comes to the end of the day and not only are we in disbelief at the late hour but we feel unsatisfied about what we’ve achieved. We feel, well, robbed.

What if I told you that you didn’t have to go to bed with sour grapes in your mouth. What if I told you there was a trick to add an extra hour to your day when you need it most.

Well, it’s true. You can add an extra hour to your day and here is how;

1. Check emails max 3 times a day

Try to only respond to (non-urgent emails) at one time during the day. This avoids trying to multitask and it’s highly inefficient doing them one by one at various points of the day.

2 Don’t multitask

Multitasking makes you inefficient at every task before you whilst making you feel very stressed in the process. It’s a completely redundant system and you shouldn’t do it. Only focus on one thing at a time and avoid mistakes. Also, it’s a myth that it makes you complete tasks faster, you take longer and risk a low output. I think I’ve made my point. Do not multitask.

3. Batch work tasks

This means tackle similar tasks together. So for example, if you need to call various people, do it all at once. It makes no sense to mix up tasks when you can batch them and hit them all together.

4. Cut out all distractions

Don’t try to sit down to do a piece of work and then aimlessly scroll on social media in between. It’s like eating junk food, great at the time but you hate yourself afterwards. Distractions just make tasks take longer than they should. Have discipline. Cut them out.

5. Clear your environment

Clear your workspace of all clutter. Make sure that only your immediate work area such as your desk is clear and clutter free but also make sure that your office, room, workshop are all tidy too.

6. Exercise

A strong exercise regime gives you more energy which in turn, allows you to sleep less. Try waking up an hour earlier to exercise, it sounds awful but trust me it’s great and it will give you more energy than caffeine ever could.

Remember that every minute saved will build up to that extra hour each day! Imagine what you could do with an extra hour in your day.

The four way win (a work-life-balance guide for busy people)

work-life-balance

What we all want and like talking about is a work-life balance.

However, for most of us, we can’t commit to drastic changes, right now. We can barely keep up with our hectic schedules as they are and to add other commitments, well that’s just a step too far.

So, this blog is for all the people that value the concept of a work-life-balance but simply have no time to implement it.

Enter, the four-way-win day. This beautiful tongue twister of a concept can help you to reorganise your time.

It’s a basic checklist, you have complete daily, to ensure all of your wellbeing needs are met.

Because, and sorry to be morbid, we would all hate to wake up one day and realise that we’ve let our lives pass us by because we have been “too busy”.

How to Do It

This wonderful concept comes from Stewart Friedman, director of the Work/Life Integration Project at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and author of Leading the Life You Want: Skills for Integrating Work and Life.

Friedman says you need to think of your life in terms of four different domains: work, home, community and self. The goal is for every day to be a “four-way win,”.

The Four-Way Attention Chart

The first step is to create a “four-way attention chart.

Create three columns; “Present valuation”, “desired valuation” and “overlap”.

In the “Present valuation” column, assign a percentage to each domain based on how much time you give to it (how much you presently value it). For example, if you spend as much time with your family, as you do on all the other aspects of your life combined, assign 50% to “home.”

In the second column, “the desired valuation” write down how much time you wish you spend on each domain.

Next, in the final column figure out where your two columns overlap. For example, maybe you exercise with your family or do charitable events for the community with your work colleagues. The more overlap you have the better alignment and harmony your life has.

So the two objectives from your four-way attention chart.

  1. Figure out how to get your two “valuation” columns reflecting the same numbers. This might take some planning and you should write how you plan underneath the column so it actually happens
  2. Try to create more overlap so that your desired valuation targets can be met in a more harmonious manner without making drastic life changes.

Always remember, if you feel conflicted and you can’t be in all four places at once, then speak to those around you.

Speak with your boss, with your family and with your friends.

Reason with people and make them know that you care.

You’ll be surprised at how many people feel the same and also how sympathetic your boss may be!

Good luck

 

Why boredom can benefit us

boredom

Success is rarely built by chance.

It takes long arduous hours.

Thousands of repetitions.

And uncountable days, which didn’t actually serve your purpose.

But, irrespective of how utterly boring a task may be. The difference between those successful and those unsuccessful is their tenacity in the face of sheer boredom.

I am not going to say that you will start to enjoy boredom but, you will start to respect it.

Somehow, the best performers find a way to pursue their tasks in the face of endless boredom, even embrace it.

Of course, whenever we hear of success stories, they often leave out the key ingredient. We don’t hear of the dry days. The days that don’t make beautiful or motivating newspaper spreads. The days that leave you feeling like your pursuit is pointless. But, the truth is, it’s those endless, painfully boring days, that make a success story.

How to embrace boredom

1. Be progress orientated

If during your trials (and errors) you are at least using your core competencies then you can embrace the days of boredom knowing at the very least, you are refining your skills.

Without the motivation of bettering yourself, it’s almost impossible to push through on tough days.

If you don’t feel confident in one aspect of your work (for example the public speaking side) then you should spend every effort learning the basic fundamentals that it requires.

Then regardless of how awful the day is, you can rest assured knowing that you developed your skills. This allows you to celebrate the small wins, even if it feels, workwise that you achieved nothing.

It’s much easier to embrace doing something over and over again if you can see progress.

2. Be results orientated

The trick here is to gain your satisfaction from the result rather than the task itself. For example, the beautiful body will come at the cost of pounding the treadmill.

If you are not sure what the result is that use the Seinfeld Strategy. Your only goal is to “not break the chain.” So committing to something and doing it habitually. By shifting your focus away from the activity you dislike, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to embrace the mental toughness of committing to something, a challenge you can accept.

3. Be patient

When we get bored we change our practices, we shake up our work and we shift things around. But, what if it worked better just how it was?

Sometimes, patience is the ultimate competitive advantage. Success is often found by practising the fundamentals that everyone knows they should be doing, but find too boring or basic to uphold. It might not be sexy but it works. you don’t need to reinvent the fundamentals. You just need to commit to them.

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