Emotional Intelligence, or what is more commonly known as EQ has been considered as one of the key requirements for good performance and success in school and at work since Daniel Goleman popularized this concept in 1995.
Emotions are like energy that fuels our behavior, speech, and actions. You know how you performed when you felt positive emotions like confidence, motivation, and excitement. You must have also delivered less than ideal performance when you felt negative emotions such as anger, sadness, and fear.
Conventionally, most of us are taught to suppress our emotions so that we can be logical and rational in our decisions, speech, and actions. While you may have used that to survive unpleasant situations, that doesn’t strengthen your emotional muscles and maturity for better performance.
So how do we manage, master, and even leverage our emotions to breakthrough our performance and achieve greater results? Let’s take a look at the 5 Emotional Keys to Breakthrough Your Performance.
1. Emotional Awareness
Most of us deny our negative emotions without knowing that in doing so, we are energizing the negative emotion. Denial is a form of suppression, and in suppressing the emotion you are allowing it to grow and strengthen within you.
Suppressing an emotion also takes away constructive physical and mental energy away from you. So the way out is not to deny, but to be aware of the negative emotion that you are feeling by acknowledging and accepting it. It is as simple as saying to yourself “Yes, I am feeling angry.”
When we become aware of our emotions, it also means we know our emotional reaction patterns. When you are hit by negative emotions, you normally react in a particular way. For example, when you are sad, your usual reaction could be to withdraw and keep to yourself.
So for a start, sit down and identify your negative reaction patterns to these common negative emotions: anger, sadness, and fear. Then ask yourself what is a more positive response for each of the emotions. Commit to responding more positively the next time you experience a negative emotion.
2. Emotional Control
While suppressing our negative emotions is not healthy, there are occasions when we are not able to express that emotion. For example, when you are angry with your boss or client, you probably cannot express your anger verbally toward him. At that moment, you will need Emotional Control.
Emotional Control is not suppressing that negative emotion, but keeping it down for the moment and doing what you need to do to resolve the situation. In this case, you might just need to keep quiet and listen to what your boss has to say, or stay calm and listen to the grievances of your client.
After you have done what you need to do to resolve the situation, find a private corner or place and have some time to yourself. In your mind, revisit that incident and get in touch with that negative emotion again. Let it arise in you, and feel it until it dissolves away.
3. Emotional Engagement
Let’s change the angle and talk about positive emotions now. While negative emotions have a downside effect on our performance, positive emotions do the inverse. When you feel a positive emotion or several positive emotions, you will naturally perform better, won’t you?
When you feel confident about a task, you will approach it with so much certainty and be able to draw upon your mental and physical resources to complete it. So the key here is to engage your positive emotions; that’s emotional engagement.
The best way is to tap into naturally occurring positive emotions. For instance, you could eat your favorite food or listen to your favorite tune to put yourself in a positive emotional state when you need it.
However, often it could be inconvenient to create naturally occurring positive emotions. You could be a few minutes away from going to deliver an important examination, interview, or presentation, where to find the food or music? That’s when you can tap upon positive emotions from your past.
Simple close your eyes and in your mind, visit a few past events where you felt positive emotions like success, happiness, confidence, motivation, etc. Ensure that you are adopting a first-party view in each event.
4. Emotional Freedom
Many people and workshops advocate managing our negative emotions so that we could deliver better performance and results in school and at work. However, if we have to continue managing our negative emotions, wouldn’t that be quite tiring? What if we could be free from common negative emotions? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? That’s Emotional Freedom?
Perhaps it is not easy to achieve Emotional Freedom, for each of us has collected our fair share of emotional baggage over the past many years. Yet some people amongst us live joyfully and successfully in all areas of their lives because they are free from negative emotional energy.
Let go of the emotional baggage that you are holding onto inside you. They could be past unresolved issues, past relationships, past pain, past heartbreaks, and past negative events. If there is a person or an event that when you recall still brings negative emotions in you, that’s emotional baggage. To resolve it, and do so just one at a time.
Resolving it could mean forgiving the person, giving the person a call to apologize, talking about or journaling the event, or even seeking a professional coach or therapist to assist you.
5. Emotional Wisdom
Emotional Wisdom is the ability to see the message behind our emotions. Emotions are communication from our subconscious mind to our conscious mind. Emotions tell us that there is something not right within us that we need to give attention to.
For example, if a certain type of speech or action always triggers a negative emotion in you, there must be a root somewhere in your subconscious mind that needs resolution. The question is then do you have the Emotional Wisdom to recognize it, search for it, and resolve it?
You have Emotional Wisdom if you could appreciate the not-so-nice events in your life such as career setbacks, relationship failures, and health breakdown as calls for attention to your internal psychology. With Emotional Wisdom, you would see what is taking place as just temporary and can be changed by resolving your internal conflicts.
Start by looking at what’s not right in your life now. Take a third-party view and try appreciating the situation. Ask yourself what could be the underlying subconscious message? You will gain Emotional Wisdom with each answer you find.