How a person deals with other human beings is a big factor in whether or not he or she succeeds in business and life. It involves emotional intelligence (EI), or the ability to recognize and appropriately react to feelings in yourself and the people around you, particularly when it comes to handling stress and frustration. According to Gustavo Oliveira--a consultant who has helped about 2,000 people worldwide improve their EI using something called The DeRose Method--it's a skill everyone can sharpen. Here are his words on four ways to build your emotional intelligence.
1. Study yourself.
To get a better understanding of your emotional responses, behaviors, and where your weaknesses may lie, learn to pay attention to your reactions and behaviors. And ask people close to you--only if they'll be honest--to tell you what areas of your personality need work.
2. Manage emotions during stressful situations by breathing correctly.
Deep and steady breathing through the nose with a relaxed ribcage is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body, and strong medicine for anxiety, fear and anger. Deep breathing sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body, resulting in a lower heart rate and blood pressure. And when you are relaxed and calm you can better manage your immediate emotions.
3. Channel your emotions.
One powerful method of handling negative emotions is to transform negative energies into positive ones by redirecting them to fuel new opportunities. For example, in 2009 I was expanding two successful businesses. Two years later, both had failed and my money was gone. I was crushed, frustrated and disappointed, but instead of letting my emotions reinforce an unproductive mindset and behaviors, I took a five-hour drive and started thinking about ways I could channel the power of frustration into something positive. During this time, I realized that my failures actually taught me many valuable lessons on how to run a business and the things that must be avoided. I decided to teach these lessons to others and created a course which was a huge success and became an amazing new asset.
4. Transmute your emotions.
Try to transform negative feelings such as anger, hatred, pain, and jealousy into positive ones such as, love, admiration, compassion and kindness. For example, I had a student who was a professional stand-up paddle (SUP) athlete and would become emotionally unstable every time a competitor provoked him during competitions, which would negatively impact his performance. So, I created a behavioral training response for him: I asked him to smile at the competitor, row harder and intensify his focus. With time and training his response improved drastically and his new and unexpected behavior destabilized the competitors who provoked him.
Envy is another common negative emotion. Some of my students have admitted that the achievements of others make them feel as though if they are not good enough. I train them to transform the feeling and substitute it with admiration for the person's success. They come to see it as an opportunity to learn from the person's strengths, which is a more useful and productive response.