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Time to Get Mushy: Why Emotions Will Help You Succeed at Work

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We have always believed that we need to be smart, well-organized, hard-working and tough negotiators to be successful at work. However, has anyone told you to rely on your emotions for success? The answer is probably not since most people tend to believe emotions only get in the way.

However, it is scientifically proven today that the intelligence is only one puzzle piece in the picture of success: your intelligence and hard-working ethics will earn you a promotion at work or a salary increase only when combined with your high integrity, self-esteem, self-awareness, empathy, self-regulation and great social skills, or to sum up, emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify and effectively manage your own and other people’s emotions. Many academic studies over the past decades demonstrated the power of emotional intelligence, and it is now considered the core ingredient of personal and professional success.

EQ includes our self-awareness (knowing our own feelings), self-management (controlling our feelings), motivation, empathy (the skill of understanding other people’s emotions and reacting to them appropriately) and our social skills (negotiating the needs of others with your own and applying empathy).

These skills empower us to accurately assess our emotional triggers and abilities, control our emotional reactions, constructively resolve conflicts, set achievable goals and effectively manage relationships with other people. It’s not your IQ, but your EQ that will make your career skyrocket and your salary reach figures you only dreamt about. But how?

Emotional Fitness and Work Success

According to a research by the Carnegie Institute of Technology, we owe some 85% of our financial success to our people skills such as our ability to communicate, negotiate and act as leaders. In other words, they found that our emotional intelligence skills are highly related to our financial success.

The ability to stay calm and in control of your emotions in challenging situations is greatly valued in everyday life and in business as well. Are you able to keep your emotions under control when things don’t go your way? Can you take responsibility for your actions and predict other people’s actions most of the time? Can you apologize directly when you hurt someone’s feelings, no matter how uncomfortable you might feel? If your answer to these questions is yes, then you may be on a good road to become an exceptional leader.

How to Boost Your Emotional Fitness

Emotional fitness is a key to your career success. Being emotionally fit means that you are able to focus on constructive and creative tasks. It also represents the ability to accept negative feelings and stay in control of them. However, the same way we need regular exercise to stay physically fit, we need a certain practice to boost our emotional intelligence as well.

Use the 4 tips below to improve your EQ and keep emotionally fit:

1. Be Giving

Our personality and thereby our emotional intelligence involves two parts: identity (how we see ourselves) and reputation (how other people see us). Rewarding people tends to be seen as friendly, trusting and cooperative. Others also perceive them as unselfish, proactive and willing to share their knowledge and resources. Whether it is business or personal relationships, everyone likes to be around people who are supportive, eager to help, easy to get along with and can be trusted.

Nobel Prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust than someone they don’t, even though the other person is offering a better product and a lower price.

Both, seeing yourself and being seen as a rewarding, valuable person by others has a power to boost your confidence, improve your communication and negotiation skills and help you climb the corporate ladder successfully.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Visualization

A great way to get promoted at work is to show you do not get upset easily and prove you can stay composed when not everything goes according to plan. Try to come up with different imaginary scenarios requiring you to use your EQ skills and work out the possible solutions to them.

For instance, imagine that you are a company manager that needs to terminate a certain number of employees. Stay focused on your emotions and try to apply the best emotional fitness skills to solve this unpleasant situation. How do you react?

Practicing your EQ skills this way will increase your self-esteem, help you gain control over your emotions and boost your social skills. There is even a game where you can learn and practice your people skills.

3. Empathy

Practice your empathy whenever you get a chance. Listen to people actively, putting prejudices and interpretations aside. Try to take up a contrary position in everyday communication especially when dealing with conflicts.

For example, if you think that your teammate is being unreasonable, try defending their position in your head. How do things look from their perspective? Understanding how other people feel is key to having empathy and a sure road to sustainable success.

“Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” – Alfred Adler

4. Remember to Be Grateful

If you ask emotionally fit people about the things they are grateful for, they will undoubtedly be able to come up with a long list. Practice a gratitude exercise every morning. After you get up, write down a list of things you are grateful for. This will keep you positive and motivated throughout the day.

You could also count your blessings before you go to sleep. Remember your subconscious mind believes whatever you tell it, so imprinting the positive thoughts into your subconscious is a great way to boost your confidence, self-awareness, motivation and happiness. Our brain cannot store all the information we receive, but you can be in control of what your brain stores. Keep that in mind.

The experience and studies proved that individuals with highly developed emotional intelligence tend to be more successful in all areas of life, personal and business-wise. Nurturing your emotional fitness, you will have the power to accomplish your goals, improve your career and build up your relationships. In short, this will help you to lead a happy and successful life.

How do you use your emotional intelligence on a daily basis? Share with us some of your tips!

Silja Litvin is a psychologist, founder and CEO of PsycApps Digital Mental Health and developer of eQuoo – the Emotional Fitness Game. Her company uses AI, gamification and psychology to help people help themselves.

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