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The Importance of Emotional Intelligence for Entrepreneurial Success

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When emotional intelligence first surfaced as a concept, it served as an explanation to the curious finding that about 70% of the people with an average IQ have a better performance than those with the highest IQ.

This changed the way we perceive success and where its source is. Research has shown that emotional intelligence is an essential factor that makes some entrepreneurs stand out from others. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is that “something” within us that has an effect on how we manage our behavioral patterns, handle social situations, and make personal decisions that lead to positive results.

Here are 4 very important aspects of EQ:

1. Self-awareness

When we take emotional intelligence into account, self-awareness differs from what many people define as “knowing yourself”, or in other words, taking up strategies such as self-assessments, writing journals, and analyzing what other people think of you. It is more than just being knowledgeable about your strengths and weaknesses.

Emotional intelligence is a lot more about being aware of what you are actually feeling in a particular situation. A lot of people have emotional responses to events that they have no awareness of. When asked about how they feel, they will give you one of the basic answers such as happy, angry, sad, and the like.

Being more self-aware is actually about paying attention to the state of your emotions at regular intervals during the day. This way you get to be more aware of the subtle variations in your emotions, and what exactly is influencing them. This is important for when you are faced with new information, interacting with your colleagues or clients, or changing your environment.

In order to work on your self-awareness, you should meditate and develop a habit of examining your emotions before an important meeting or a conversation with a client.

“If I could sell a formula made up of gratitude, empathy, and self-awareness it would be my billion-dollar coconut water idea.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

2. Self-management

When you become more aware of your emotions in particular situations, you enable yourself to properly manage them. Self-management is all about being completely aware of what you are feeling, and therefore being capable to choose the appropriate response in the given circumstances.

There is a huge difference between raging out when you’re marketing manager makes a mistake in your email marketing campaign, and being aware of how you are feeling and choosing to be compassionate about the situation.

However, you should know the difference between self-management and self-containment. You can’t call it self-awareness when you’re walking around with a fake smile and saying everything is working out just fine.

In order to truly master self-management, you need to work on accepting what you are feeling. While you can alter your emotional response to a certain situation, most often you won’t be able to just shut off the emotions that you are experiencing. Accept your feelings instead of bottling them up, and you will be able to come up with an appropriate way to respond to what’s going on.

3. Social awareness

Social awareness, or what most people call empathy, is what Brené Brown defined as understanding and sharing the feelings of others. It is thanks to Brown and other experts in this area that empathy has become regarded as one of the essential skills that enable us to connect with people.

In order to be truly empathetic, you need to be completely present to people that surround us, so that we can sense when they are feeling and anticipate the emotional changes. We also need to be aware of ourselves and more vulnerable so that we are able to identify with all the emotions that another person is having.

People are often surprised by the fact that being more vulnerable and self-aware boosts your ability to be empathetic. But it is a fact that it is like language – you won’t understand what others are saying if you don’t speak it. By taking up meditation and exercising your mind, you will be able to be more present in your workplace and have a better understanding of what your colleagues and clients are feeling.

In the end, you can just be straightforward and ask them, to try and confirm your understanding of their emotional state.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa

4. Relationship management

Once you have mastered the previous three skills, you will be able to manage your relationships with people in the best possible way. Forming beneficial relationships depends on three crucial skills: always being curious about what motivates other people and what brings given situations about, believing that everyone has the best intentions, and being open when it comes to communicating your emotions and thoughts.

The fact that you are working on your emotional intelligence doesn’t mean that the person you are communicating with is doing the same. Therefore, when interacting with others, you should always be curious about their behavior, so that you can learn how self-aware they are and how they manage their emotions.

The importance of assuming the best is in keeping a positive mind and bringing about positive outcomes. In most cases, people are just looking for a way to gain something beneficial from the interaction, the same way as you are, and being the bigger person is the best way for you to go.

How has emotional intelligence propelled your entrepreneurial success? Leave your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Sam Cyrus is CEO and co-founder of Agseosydney, a Digital Marketing agency from Australia. Sam is also a creative writer and likes to share his insights on entrepreneurship, business, online marketing, SEO and social media. He currently collaborates with Nirmal Web Design Sydney.

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