Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Increasing your Joy Through Higher EQ

I was fortunate to be asked to appear in a guest blog by my good friend Allison Rimm.  The following was originally posted on her website's blog.  As you can see, she was a most gracious hostess.

I’m delighted to share author Jen Shirkani’s insights into how your emotional intelligence skills can increase your joy on and off the job.  She says that people with high EQ know they are responsible for their own happiness and that it is within your reach.  Read on to find out how to go get it.

Increasing Your Joy Through Higher EQ

We all have moments of joy and despair, successes and struggles. Those who are able to sustain the high that comes from the joy and mitigate the consequences of difficulty have resiliency. In my own life, I have gained resiliency by turning to my emotional intelligence (EQ) skill set to keep me grounded and positive, even in the face of adversity.
EQ is someone’s ability to recognize her or himself well, including their moods, emotional instincts and strengths and weaknesses. It is also about reading situations and people accurately and then responding to be most appropriate based on the circumstances. This is a competency that requires a skill set.
One skill that is extremely important to the foundation of EQ is self-awareness. Those with higher self-awareness know what brings out the best in them and the worst too. This provides good insight into knowing our moods and motivations and when our emotional state is impacting our performance or reactions to others. A big advantage of having high self-awareness is that it helps us know what jobs leverage our strengths so we can add the most value. This often results in more job fulfillment which typically results in more happy work days. In both our business and personal lives, we can time difficult conversations for when we are at our best not our worst. For example, if you are not a morning person, don’t schedule that tough performance review you need to deliver at 8 am on a Monday. Or if you’re not a night person, don’t pick 10 pm to start a conversation with your spouse about the chores he has been slacking on.
Another EQ skill is self-actualization. In terms of career selection, this relates to feeling that we are fulfilling our destiny through the work we do. This provides greater degrees of joy as we live out our purpose. Working beyond meeting our essential needs, we give and receive benefits from our chosen profession. I have found most people who see that the work they do has greater meaning than a paycheck are more motivated and engaged, and are acknowledged for the dedication they bring to the job every day.
I also see a key EQ skill that connects to happiness and joy is flexibility. This helps us manage the unexpected better; whether it’s a sudden re-organization, a forced relocation, a closed office, a lay-off, or a host of other changes we may not predict. As a result of higher flexibility, we remain open minded to new ways of doing things. We are not stuck in a routine, but instead keep ourselves challenged to learn and grow and see change as an opportunity to learn, not as a rude intruder into our well managed life. Especially when flexibility is combined with optimism, it is easier to see that positive change is possible instead of feeling victimized by circumstances that are out of your control.
Higher stress tolerance is another key EQ skill that provides us with a better landing pad for life’s ups and downs. As you can probably imagine, if I am less stressed, I am less irritable and less likely to let little things get me down or invoke an angry response. As I focus on reducing my stress in healthy ways, the little things don’t rattle me as easily and I am able to keep a better perspective on the challenges I face and the decisions I must make.
Those with higher EQ understand that they are responsible for their own happiness. It is not the burden of an employer, a spouse, a child, a boss or a best friend. The ability to find joy in your own life is within your reach, go get it!

About Allison Rimm

Allison Rimm is an author, consultant, coach, and strategic planning expert who inspires individuals and organizational leaders to create breathtaking visions and practical plans to make them come to life. The former Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and Information Management at Massachusetts General Hospital, she engages the hearts and minds of her clients to drive performance and create teams joyfully committed to their collective missions.  In her book, The Joy of Strategy: A Business Plan for LifeAllison presents eight practical steps to help readers find their purpose, set priorities, and fulfill even their most elusive goals. She is also a regular contributor to Harvard Business Review. A sought-after speaker, Allison presents on topics related to strategic planning, workplace engagement, and leadership development.

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