Monday, 16 July 2012

What is Emotional intelligence and why does it matter?......

Good question eh? So, when you read the books it says it is our innate or inbuilt ability to feel, manage, articulate blah blah blah our emotions and that is true. The point that many of the text books miss out on is that we are not trained to be emotionally intelligent, we all (or most of us at least) have the inbuilt ability to access and practice this intelligence and yet we do not know how to use it, in a life affirming, adult way.

So, it feels like time to make some distinctions. Emotional intelligence is our ability to RESPOND, as opposed to REACT or be triggered. If we are to respond we have to be conscious and be in choice about how we want to respond. If we react usually we are in habitual motion or unconscious, and not in choice about how we react or what the impact of that reaction is.
To respond we need to be open, available, alert and centered, when we react we are usually closed, protected, tense and unbalanced.

Just a side note here to say that lots of people will do anything to avoid emotions full stop. Bad habits around smoking, eating, drinking and working typically come from the need or desire to avoid emotion. It is meant to move of flow e-motion, energy in motion or life force.

If we are to be in our Self-Authority (or Authentic) we consciously know that are authors of our own lives, we can decide how we respond to external events and we can choose the impact that external events have on us. Once we really start to author our own lives we become much more aware of how important it is to care for ourselves, each other and the environment around us.
What good are we if we give all of ourselves to others? Eventually, we become empty with nothing left to give - like a dry or empty well. Nurturing yourself and refilling your well is important if you are to be of service to others.

In order to choose consciously you have to do your own work around what triggers you? Where do you loose consciousness? What are the circumstances where you get triggered? Emotional Intelligence is about having a healthy relationship with your full emotional range, so that your emotions are stable and flexible all at the same time.

As leaders we need access to our full emotional range, so that we can have the impact we are meant to have. What do I mean by that, OK well, lets say I can't be with arrogance, my own or other peoples, so what do I do when I come across arrogance, well if I can't be with it I will do anything to avoid it or people or situations where it shows up. So, then arrogance chooses for me. However, if I can be with arrogance (I don't have to like it, just have the emotional range to be with it) then when it shows up, I can still function and I can choose my response to it, it might be to meet arrogance with arrogance, it may be to choose some other way of responding.

It is critical that we stay in choice around our emotions, if we are to live 'on purpose' and have the impact we want to have in the world. If we want to have a big impact then we will come across hurdles and situations and people that stretch us emotionally and we need to know how to consciously choose our response to those situations.

I had a similar situation myself in this last week, and I know that breathing helps too!
Enjoy exploring your triggers and what they cost you, with a view to doing your work to expand your emotional range. Please do not judge yourself or what you find. This is powerful and gentle work. Enjoy!