If you thought the key factors related to your success were where (or if) you attended college, or whether mom and dad had a surprise trust fund for you, think again.
Turns out, what really predicts your success, more than IQ or even grit (your ability to keep going despite setbacks) is your Emotional Intelligence, or EI.
EI has been scientifically shown to outperform other factors, even outperform those with the highest IQ 70% of the time. High EI has been shown to be related to career success, entrepreneurial potential, leadership talent, health, relationship satisfaction, humor, and even happiness.
When salespeople were chosen because of their EI and pitted against traditionally chosen salespeople, those with better people skills won. Big time. In fact, they sold over $91K per year more than the regular sales guys.
If you weren’t already convinced, it’s also been found that 90% of top performers at work have high EI and earn $29K more a year than people with lower EI.
If you want to be a great leader and be successful in just about every area of your life, emotional intelligence is essential.
So what, exactly, is Emotional Intelligence, and how can you increase yours to supercharge your success
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence refers to your people skills as well as your ability to handle your own emotions appropriately.
So what does that actually look like? Here are some key skills that people with high EI have:
- Self-awareness: Understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Understand how your behavior affects others, be able to learn from constructive criticism. Know what you have to learn and what you’re already good at.
- Self-regulation: Be mature in expressing your emotions, use restraint and control, but also don’t stifle feelings.
- Motivation: Be self-motivated, resilient, optimistic, ambitious and curious. Don’t be held back by weaknesses or what you don’t know and learn from your mistakes.
- Empathy: Is an understanding of others and an ability to connect with people on an emotional level. It’s also an interest in being of service and responding to others’ needs.
- People skills: Means an ability to build rapport, trust and respect, and avoid drama.
“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting. A boss is interested in himself or herself, a leader is interested in the group.” – Russell H. Ewing
So the 29-thousand-dollar question is this: How can you increase your emotional intelligence?
- Connect with your own emotions: This means not only noticing your own emotional and physical reactions, but be able to express them to others in an honest way.
- Take responsibility for how you behave: Understand the effect your behavior has on others. Make decisions about how to behave in general or in a given situation taking into account other people.
- Connect with others: Empathy, open-mindedness, and understanding body language and facial expressions are all key to making meaningful connection.
- Respond to situations instead of reacting: When you respond, you’re making a thoughtful choice, but when you react you’re not in control. Choose to respond.
- Connect with what you love: What better way to increase your motivation than to connect with what you’re intrinsically motivated by?
The best thing to focus on
EI has a tendency to increase over time. As we get older, we learn more about ourselves and others – we mature. But if you’re really interested in being successful, you can fast-track that process and actively work on your personal development by focusing on your Emotional Intelligence.
“Growth is the great separator between those who succeed and those who do not. When I see a person beginning to separate themselves from the pack, it’s almost always due to personal growth.” – John C. Maxwell
Science has shown us that focusing on these areas in our personal development will make the most impact in our lives.