Emotional intelligence is a great gauge of maturity among your potential partners, colleagues and even customers. How you react to something, and how you are able to facilitate a constructive dialog in sticky situations, is essential to growing as an entrepreneur.
But what if you don't want to? It is one thing to know how to utilize emotional intelligence, but it is quite a different thing to actually practice it. Master presenter Tony Robbins recently shared the difference between him knowing the emotional intelligent way to handle himself onstage and actually implementing it:
What most people don't know about me is the level of prep that I do. I can get up with my pinky and do [presentations] 6 days in a row and not have a note. At this stage, that's not intelligence; that's experience. 40,000 hours, not 10,000 hours over the years. I still prep, though... so that knowledge base is readily available. It's the difference between emotional intelligence and what I call emotional fitness. Intelligence is the capability to deliver something. Fitness is the readiness to make that happen.
It's like if you did Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours to mastery, but one day decided to put that skill on the shelf. You should not expect to be just as sharp without continual practice. Robbins calls it fitness. I'd call it practice.
Consider the many tools of emotional intelligence thought leader Brene Brown:
- Comparing your lives to other entrepreneurs is a foolish idea, yet, as we connect with startup millionaires and seemingly brilliant founders, it is difficult not to.
- Running a business means making mistakes regularly, so we must constantly separate screwing up from feeling like a screw up.
- We're encouraged to put on a brave face and fake it until we make it, though we know it can lead to the very destruction we fear.
It's important to recognize that useful emotional intelligence isn't a set parameter, like an IQ, but a dynamic skill, closer to a muscle. It needs to be flexed regularly.
How have you used your emotional intelligence today?