By Rich Bracken
“When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life.”
- Tara Meyer Robson
What if I told you that listening to Prince (or your favorite artist) in the morning could help you perform better at work?
What if you could increase your happiness by simply breathing more intentionally?
What if I told you that your calendar could be an incredible weapon against anxiety and depression?
They truly are all interlinked.
I was honored to share these findings and more with The Legal Value Network during my virtual keynote “Emotional Intelligence for Daily Success” to a talented, accomplished and rising group of professionals.
Coming into a presentation like this, especially those in the legal profession, most aren’t quite sure what they’re going to walk away with other than some temporary warm and fuzzy feelings. What they walked away with is a full understanding that they are in the perfect position to reclaim their time, energy, happiness and success through exercising emotional intelligence.
I describe emotional intelligence as a dance with yourself and with others on a minute-by-minute basis. It’s truly understanding your emotions (self-awareness) and what you do with them reactively (self-management) which is a dance unto itself. We are all trying to navigate how we feel and what to do with those feelings as we are bombarded by e-mails, calls, Zoom meetings, social media and more on a continual basis.
Then add in active listening and observation of others (social awareness) and how you manage their emotions with yours (relationship management), that dance sometimes seems more like a mosh pit than ballet. The key to all of this is how you manage yourself as you will never be able to control the behavior and emotions of others.
A couple of points of good news: you can increase your emotional intelligence on a daily basis and most of the ways that you can are easy and actually quite fun.
These are the top 5 ways that you can increase your emotional intelligence every single day:
Protect Your Calendar
We often complain that there's not enough time in the day but fail to acknowledge the responsibility of saying "yes" too much. If you have priorities that you're putting off, block time to address them to keep your needs met and your stress down.
Additionally, when you go from meeting to meeting with no breaks in between, the priority of needs and action items falls and you leave yourself little to no time to react and respond. Schedule time in your day, every day, just to acknowledge a project or an issue to move it forward.
Reflection Through Journaling
The key is self-reflection. By being more aware of your day, your actions, your reactions and bringing them all into a focus of what was good and not so good, you can understand where your triggers get the best of you. Keep a journal of things, people, meetings or any other stimulus, that sends your mood in a different direction. Put that emotional response into words then practice a new response to take back your emotional energy.
Move Your Body
In as little as 15-20 minutes a day, exercise in any form is an endorphin charger that will help you balance your energy and emotions. Whether it's to release stress or just disconnect for a while, this dedicated time will help you get your thoughts balanced and your physical well-being up. Especially as we’re sitting more than normal, it’s better that your body craves movement more than another dose of sugar to make it through.
Music is the Answer
Music has a profound effect on our mental status, so be your own emotional intelligence DJ. Build a playlist of songs that relax you, motivate you or just make you happy and want to dance. Whenever you start to feel like you're losing control of your emotions, flip on your personal playlist. Better yet, I highly recommend making a playlist for all moods that you encounter that will help you turn the corner on a bad direction.
Set Sturdy Boundaries
One of the most valuable lessons we can learn is how to set proper boundaries for ourselves and for how others treat us. By simply and calmly expressing yourself and limiting any damaging conversations, you're protecting yourself from unwarranted abuse and the weight of guilt and doubt that you carry afterward. This also ties back to scheduling. Don’t be afraid of taking breaks, investing in your self-care or self-education. Simply set your out of office letting people know that you’ll be back in 20-30 minutes which will free you from the mental jail of having to check your phone every two minutes.
Rich Bracken is a global keynote speaker, media personality, podcast host and inspirator.
He routinely works with companies, associations, and individuals across the country looking to establish sustainable change and improvement in their approach to achieving their goals. Rich is a frequent speaker and writer on topics such as emotional intelligence, leadership, goal setting and achievement, change management, and communication.
As a speaker, author, and professor of leadership, he has used his energetic, insightful and often comedic approach to influence leaders and global companies through his virtual and in-person keynotes as well as features with Fox News, CBS News, Thrive Global, Vice, Reader's Digest, Western Independent Bankers, and the Legal Marketing Association.
He also is the host of the uplifting EnRich Your Soul podcast and Inspirational Interruptions video series where he shares insight on motivation through his own experience as well as interviews with celebrities and thought leaders.
You can learn more about Rich and connect with him at richbracken.com