The framework or model of Emotional Intelligence can be broken down in a few ways and variations have been brought forward over the last 25+ years. To simplify it, the 2 main components are getting to know yourself (intrapersonal) and getting to know others (interpersonal - social & relationships)
Getting to know yourself better involves developing self-awareness and improving how you self-manage. I believe it’s essential to do this work first before you really start to focus more on how you interact with others. You can do both at the same time, however, as the old saying goes, learn to love yourself before you love someone else. While 'loving' yourself is maybe a strong word, at least finding ways to get along with yourself helps :)!
If you’re comfortable in your own skin, the next area for massive personal growth and happiness can come from social interactions. As another truism goes ‘we’re social creatures’ and the more effort we put into social connection, the better we are for it. It’s not always easy though.
As someone who identifies more on the introvert side, it can be very difficult to dive into social settings without feeling anxious, insecure and socially awkward. It’s possible, it just takes a bit of planning.
Over the last 7-8 years, I’ve been involved in a number of volunteer roles with non-profit committees and boards. Initially, I had to force myself to do this. I had to stretch myself outside the comfort zone, not let the overthinking or negative self-talk win, and just put my hand up! The key was to take on some responsibility, something meaningful. At least then I knew I’d have a focus and a purpose. Just having a defined role and something I could add value with, in a deliberate way, made all the difference.
Once I ‘owned’ something, my levels of self-doubt dropped, and I could connect better with others. I figured this out through the self-awareness work done earlier. That allowed me to be more planful and self-manage better.
All through this month, as I was writing the daily pieces, this idea of being a giver more than a taker has kept coming up for me. As I reflected on my own volunteering work, the value and return on investment I’ve gained through giving something back, by just giving up your time, has been huge. I’ve got the opportunity to develop certain skills I really wanted to improve, and, at the same time, I’ve helped move the groups forward. A real win-win
One of my big goals for 2020 (and beyond) is to continue to give back more. In different areas that I’ve done so far. Being deliberate, instead of random, about exactly what to give and who to contribute to is totally fine too. For some of us, having the plan is essential for it to happen.
Is this something you’ve thought about as a 2020 commitment? There are so many great groups and organizations out there that could do with your time and expertise. And you will grow and learn from the experience more than you think! Through the social interaction alone, you’re developing your emotional intelligence, and this is some of the greatest currency you can have in the years to come.
That’s the second last of the daily December blogs. I hope you found these useful. Tomorrow, I’ll do little lessons learned post and see what comes out of that.
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