I walked into the coffee house rather briskly. I quickly glanced around and appreciated the Zen-chic décor and checked to see if they had my favourite muffins, double chocolate-healthy. They did! And thank goodness, because I had a craving that would only be satisfied by those particular muffins.
As soon as the server looked up and without giving her a chance to ask me what I wanted, I let her know that all I wanted was a chocolate muffin and a coffee, to go.
“Okay, sounds good,” she replied with a smile.
“What kind of coffee would you like?” she asked. “Americano, latté, pour over”?
I really wanted the pour over of a coffee of my choice, but said, “would the Americano be faster than the pour over?”
“Yes, for sure,” she replied. So, Americano it was.
“How is your day going?” she asked.
“Good” I responded. “It’s turned into a bit of a hectic one.”
“Yes, I could feel that energy” she commented.
“What?????” “I was exuding an energy that let her know I was in a rush?” I had no idea.
I immediately felt guilty for my hurried energy and after a few deep breaths, I politely asked the server how her day was going. I was happy to hear that her day was going very well.
I paid for my treats and left the shop.
As I walked to my car, it dawned on me that I hadn’t been very aware of how my inner emotions were radiated to those around me. Until it was pointed out. And thank goodness the person on the other end was emotionally intelligent enough to not react to my hurried demeanour.
Driving along to my next destination, I pondered the experience and thought about emotional intelligence. Being aware of and managing your own emotions and the emotions of others can truly make or break a situation.
Articles that I read and articles that I write about emotional intelligence are often about workplace conduct toward positive relationships and job success. Yet, emotional intelligence is important in all aspects of life.
Think about the times you have looked at your partner and wondered if something was wrong because they were exceptionally quiet. Was it you or did something happen at work?
What about the time you came home from a meeting at your child’s school and were ranting and raving about their lack of understanding of children who have a disability? Were your other children feeling a little frightened and worried as a result of your behaviour?
Standing in line at the grocery store, huffing and puffing because in your mind, the line isn’t moving quickly enough. How are you making others feel?
Has your friend ever commented that, “you’re just not yourself”?
Emotional intelligence, regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and cheering up or calming down other people. This certainly described my experience at the coffee house. The server’s approach to me, helped me to settle. It also gave me a chance to reflect on how my actions can be perceived by others.
Leadership potential, employability, health, happiness and success with relationships, can all be achieved with emotional intelligence. According to Psychologist, Daniel Goleman, there are 5 categories of emotional intelligence to consider. They are….
Self-Awareness – the ability to understand your effect on others, play to your strengths, and admit to your weaknesses.
Self-Management – being able to control your impulses and avoid acting rashly.
Motivation – having the internal passion to challenge yourself and remain optimistic when the going gets tough.
Empathy – not just listening to those around you, but really trying to understand their point of view.
Social Communication – the ability to manage relationships and productively express your emotions.
It is without a doubt that these are all great qualities to have. How do you strengthen your emotional intelligence?
Start with self-reflection. Think about how you act with your family, friends and co-workers. How do they perceive you? Examine how you respond to stressful situations. Take a look at how your actions affect others. Ask the opinion of people with whom you are comfortable and trust.
Emotional intelligence plays a role in all that we do. Have the courage to be honest with yourself, it can change your life.