Ever wonder why some people seem to excel at whatever they do while others can never seem to get a break? It seems some people always have a knack of fitting-in, knowing just the right thing to say, getting every promotion and accolade as their careers skyrocket. Yet for others life feels more like a continuous rollercoaster of dysfunction and chaos, with roadblocks at every turn.
The reason is based in our intelligence, but not our intellectual intelligence, or IQ. That’s what Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., well-known writer and researcher on leadership who wrote the best-seller Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, says. Goleman has dedicated his work to finding out what makes people successful.
His research has concluded that success in life comes down to their emotional intelligence or what I call ‘Emotional Abundance.’ That’s what drives a person to excel. In fact, 80% of a person’s success in life is determined by their emotional skills while 20% is determined by their intellect.
So if Emotional Abundance is so important, exactly what is it? As I define in my new book, Peace For A Lifetime, Emotional Abundance is:
The ability to feel our emotions, to reason through our emotions, to understand our emotions, and to effectively manage our emotions so we can appropriately respond to the people and circumstances around us. EA is the capacity to meet the demands of everyday life and create meaning in order to move forward in a positive direction.
I’ve found eight qualities in Emotionally-Abundant people that are essential not just for our careers, but for being able to successfully navigate through life and relationships.
1. They’re more self-aware.
Individuals with Emotional Abundance are able to accurately self-reflect. They know their personality, their core strengths and weaknesses, as well as environments that will bring out the best in them. They don’t allow their weaknesses to hold them back. Rather than beating themselves up for what they don’t know or struggle to do well, they focus on creating strategies to improve skill sets so they can achieve their goals.
2. They live with balance.
Because they have a high level of self-awareness, they instinctively know how to cultivate and maintain balance in their lives. Whether at work or in their personal lives, they understand how to take care of themselves well in order to be the best they can be in every area of life. They eat well, get plenty of rest, and foster interests outside of work to establish and enjoy a greater sense of wellbeing.
3. They’re not perfectionists.
While Emotionally-Abundant individuals are highly motivated and accomplished, they recognize that perfection is impossible. Instead of creating an impossible cycle of unrealistic expectations followed by frustration and shame, they focus their energies on doing their best, maintaining flexibility, and learning from their mistakes.
4. They’re curious about life.
They’ve learned to cultivate an appreciation for varied and unique experiences. They are curious and passionate, knowing how to explore and learn new concepts and skills. Their curiosity makes them equally open to asking questions as well as to adapting to new solutions. Curious people are delightful people who haven’t lost their innate sense of wonder in a complex world of responsibilities.
5. They’re empathetic with others.
An essential quality of EA, individuals are well-skilled in their ability to relate to others. They can listen, understand, and be empathetic with others thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which allows them to reduce miscommunication and conflict both in the workplace and in personal relationships.
6. They’re growth-oriented.
They aren’t afraid of change. Because they are open to learning new things, they embrace growth as a necessary and important part of life. They are eager to accept challenges and usually adapt well even under difficult circumstances. In seeing the bigger picture, they can mobilize internal strategies to adjust and energize around new problems and circumstances.
7. They’re grateful.
Living with gratitude has an enormous impact on our level of Emotional Abundance. People who have a grateful disposition look for things big and small for which they can be thankful. They are generally satisfied with life and rarely allow negative feedback or people to influence their lives or their decisions.
8. They bring out the best in others.
Because they are at peace with themselves, people with EA are able to see coworkers and friends not as threats, but as assets. They do not feel the need to be defensive with others, but instead create a safe environment in which others can thrive. They love to see others reach their potential and are motivated by cooperation rather than competition.
How many of these qualities are you able to identify? Do some seem to come naturally while others seem overwhelming?
The best news about Emotional Abundance is that it can be cultivated and nurtured throughout our lives. Where we are today does not have to determine our future.
The more we grow Emotional Abundance in our lives, the more stable, positive, and productive our lives become, and the less chaotic, reactive, and hopeless our relationships feel. This is the single greatest area we could invest in for ourselves, our children, and our futures so that we can achieve our best life.
Lisa Murray is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, author, speaker, coffee lover, and wife. Her online community lisamurrayonline.com provides a compassionate place embrace peace in the midst of the stresses and struggles of life. In her new book, Peace for a Lifetime, Lisa Murray shares the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. While she grew up in the Florida sunshine, she and her husband now live just outside Nashville in Franklin, TN. Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com. Visit her on Facebook and Twitter.
Originally published Wednesday, 20 September 2017.