Are You Emotionally Weak?
When you’re having a bad day does everyone else around you know about it? Do you get frustrated easily? Is your patience small? Do you have a hard time flushing mistakes? Do you hold grudges? Are you a complainer? Is your self-talk suffocating your potential? If you answered yes to most of those questions it’s time for some emotional intelligence training!
If you are emotionally weak you’re going to have a rough road ahead whether you are an athlete or a coach.
But here’s the good news. You can develop ’emotional muscles’ to build up a strong EQ (Emotional Intelligence). Unlike IQ, which is pretty much determined at birth, EQ can be learned and strengthened at any age.
The idea of emotional intelligence (EQ) kicked off a bit of a revolution in redefining what it means to be “intelligent.” At best, IQ contributes about 20 percent to the factors that determine life success, which leaves 80 percent to other forces like the intangible quality of understanding and controlling your emotions. People with high Emotional Intelligence (only about 36% of the population according to TalentSmart) have abilities such as being able to motivate oneself and persist in the face of frustrations; to delay gratification; to regulate one’s moods and not let anxiety and tough circumstances impede their ability to think, to stay ‘cool’, to empathize with others, to be grateful and to hope.
So, how aware are you of the emotions you’re experiencing? Do you get overwhelmed by them and amplify your negative emotions or can you step back and see what you’re experiencing, get perspective and accept the emotion and then choose more effective thoughts and behaviors to enhance your level of performance and happiness?
Here are a eight emotional drills, inspired by Travis Bradberry, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, that will build up your emotional intelligence muscles:
1. Embrace Change.
Emotionally intelligent people know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. The coaching point here is to learn to accept different types of people and environments. Look at new situations with curiosity and adapt to them. Always ask yourself what you can learn or how you can grow from every situation you find yourself.
2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses.
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that push them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and you tap into them and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.
3. Stop Worrying.
Emotionally intelligent people understand that worrying is a limiting or negative belief that isn’t useful to your growth or progress. Worrying is the exact opposite of prayer or meditation. The crucial sign that you’re worrying unnecessarily is when you’re worrying about something you have no control over. Worrying is useful only if it concerns a topic you can actually do something about, and if it leads to our taking positive action right away.
4. Have an Attitude of Gratitude.
Emotionally intelligent people appreciate what they have. They take time to contemplate what they’re grateful for and don’t focus on what they don’t have. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who spent time daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being.
5. Commit to the Process.
Studies of Olympic athletes, world-class musicians, and online gaming masters find their unifying trait is the ability to motivate themselves to pursue relentless training routines… the process. Likewise the best violin students at the world renowned music academy in Berlin, all started young, and by their early twenties, had put in ten thousand hours of practice, while the second-tier students averaged around seventy-five hundred hours.
The difference between the top tier athletes and others of roughly equal ability is the degree to which, beginning early in life, they can pursue an arduous practice routine for years and years. And that doggedness depends on the emotional traits of enthusiasm and persistence in the face of setbacks. Here’s a related article on ‘the process.’
6. Let Go of Mistakes.
Emotionally intelligent people know how to ‘flush’ their mistakes and distance themselves from their errors, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes an expert self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates a mental toughness to get right back up every time you fall down.
7. Develop Thick Skin.
Don’t let other people’s opinions of you shake your tree. Be confident in who you are and where you’re going. Also, don’t take anything too seriously, learn to laugh at yourself. Emotionally intelligent people don’t let other people define who they are or how they feel.
8. Be an Optimist.
Optimism, in a technical sense, is more than a sunny view that everything will turn out all right, it’s believing you have both the will and the way to accomplish your goals. Practice using the phrase, “I can” more than, “I can’t.”
I challenge you to keep on hitting the optimism muscle gym with these EQ drills and then look in the mirror each day and notice your EQ muscle growth! Stand tall, be proud, and picture yourself on a hero’s journey!