Emotional Intelligence – Lessons To Live By

This week we explore one of my favourite topics – Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional intelligence according to Bible de Wikipedia (thanks Wikipedia!) is:

“the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” 

Now I love words, but that’s quite a mouthful, so in laymen’s terms:

“EQ is how you handle yourself in any given situation, without letting your emotions get the best of you.”

Working as an EA in a preeminent law firm taught me the most about EQ. I went from the hospitality industry – running events and being in charge of a team of people, to moving to a new city and starting a new career as an EA. 

In my first week as an EA, a Senior Partner (we will call him Mr.Big, thank you SATC) made me cry because he was shouting at me for something I hadn’t even been a part of.  I was feeling injustice, and rage, but I knew I couldn’t answer back and defend myself – I was The Help (how I viewed myself), and he was His Highness (how I viewed him). Plus, as a child I had learnt its best to find a solution than back chat. I was so upset after this altercation because it was so unfair, so I went to the bathroom and had a decent cry, and I decided I wasn’t cut out for the corporate world. I vowed I would write my resignation letter that night. 

I went home, wrote the letter,.. but by the morning I was back to my peppy self, and thought I’d give corporate life another shot. It seemed not such a big deal after a decent sleep. 

And you know what happened? That morning, Mr. Big pulled me into his office and I got an apology along the lines of ‘I was under a lot of stress and it had nothing to do with you’. I thanked him for the apology and went on with my work. 

This was my first really good lesson in how controlling my emotions (until I could escape and cry), helped me come out of a situation the better person. It also showed how important it is to not take things personally as he was always really pleasant to me after that. 

The key point here is that if you can manage to control those feelings of rage, hurt, and impulse in the moment, it will make you a better person and co-worker, and someone viewed with respect. Of course, I am always a big believer in addressing the issue, but best to do it in a calm and well thought out manner. 

EQ is the key to both personal and professional success – I often take learnings form the workplace into home situations. For example, during my time at the firm, I had a serious relationship with a very strong and opinionated individual. We would ‘heatedly discuss’ many topics, and I often had to resist the urge to shout and cry even though that’s what I felt like doing, but I needed to talk calmly to get my point across. It was such a success it made our relationship so much better.

Throughout my career, I have been required to take numerous tests for intelligence, personality and ability, but only once have I ever been tested on my Emotional Intelligence, also known as EQ.

I surprised myself by scoring quite high in the EQ test, and I put down to my time working at the law firm and the lessons I learnt.

In any case, I do suggest taking an EQ test to see where you might be on the scale, and how you can improve. Especially if you want to have better working relationships, personal relationships, and move forward positively in your life. There are a number online that are free, but talk to your HR department and see if this is something they can offer.

Does anyone else have any stories they can share where EQ comes into it? I’d love to know what you think, and if this something you hadn’t even heard of too. Or any tests you have done you thought insightful?

 

Until next week, 

Caitlin

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