One of the biggest realizations I've had in my career is also one of the purest: the simple fact that people are drawn to likable people. It's human nature. People want to do business with people they like.

Yet when you look around, you'll notice that many people don't make it a priority to learn the habits of likable people. They overlook honing the emotional intelligence needed to build great relationships and attract new levels of success.

Whether interacting with customers, vendors, partners, or employees, we can all make great strides in our personal relationships and career by raising our emotional intelligence (EQ).

Here are five traits shared by people with high emotional intelligence.

1. They attract more opportunities

There is a direct correlation between the development of my emotional intelligence and the number of opportunities that have come my way. When you build better relationships and come across as likable, people tend to share more information with you, make introductions on your behalf, and invite you into new opportunities. It's been a big source of my success over the last five years.

2. They receive the benefit of the doubt

If you treat people well, you'll get the benefit of the doubt. I've experienced this positive outcome in my own business life.

One time, while negotiating with a sizable company, we made an honest mistake which, frankly speaking, could have been interpreted as deliberate. But my counterpart quickly told me, "Andrew, I know you're a good person. I know you meant no harm. We're all good."

The trust I had earned by building a meaningful relationship with this person gave me the benefit of the doubt--and an opportunity to move forward without any hiccups.

3. They are effective leaders

By building the soft skills associated with likable leaders, chances are you'll find yourself earning greater respect, handling challenges with poise, leading your team through change more effectively, and communicating more persuasively.

4. They possess long-term vision

People with high emotional intelligence understand that entrepreneurship is a journey, and that success is a process. They are better able to handle the ups and downs of everyday life as a business owner. Emotionally strong entrepreneurs are able to stay focused on the long term and "stay in the middle," while others with low EQ are often hurt by their impulses and unchecked emotions.

5. They can read people (and situations) better

People with high EQ foster their natural curiosity, asking questions--and then listening--to get to know people and situations better. By developing these traits, we can give ourselves a leg up to negotiate for better outcomes, build stronger teams, and neutralize any toxic relationships that are counterproductive to success.

Putting it all together

Many theorists have built on the idea that EQ is more important than IQ, especially when it comes to achieving our goals. Just as you can stretch your mind to learn more, knowing how to relate with others and interact effectively are skills you can develop. For as much time as you focus on thinking and your mind, focus on your emotional intelligence. Together, they will help you enjoy a new level of success.