Make More, 
Accomplish More,
Be Happier and Healthier – 
All by Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Having worked with hundreds of people in all types of businesses, it’s clear to me that the studies done by Yale psychologists John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, and later expanded upon by Daniel Golman, prove that those who possess a higher Emotional Intelligence (EI) do better in business and within social settings than those with lower EI. Studies also show that on average, for every one point of increases in EI an individual earns an additional $1,300 in annual salary. There is no place this is more evident than that of the Direct Sales industry. Time and time again, I meet and have the pleasure of working with individuals with all levels of education and seemingly, variances of IQ, but these alone seem to always take a financial back seat to those with a higher EI.

In fact, research points to Emotional Intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. At least 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. He also says, it comes down to an individual’s emotional intelligence that drives a person to excellence.

But what is Emotional Intelligence and if it’s so important, how can one improve upon its status? Before we can answer that, we must first understand what it is. According to Psychology Today, EI is:

  1. The ability to accurately identify your own emotions as well as those of others.
  2. The ability to utilize emotions and apply them to tasks, like thinking and problem-solving.
  3. The ability to manage emotions, including controlling your own, as well as the ability to cheer up or calm down another person.
  4. And I would add, the ability to “hear-out” another individual’s concern or complaint, comprehend and resolve the issue, even when it may or may not involve a second or third party not originally mentioned.

Comprehension and control of a person’s immediate needs (including your own) as well as knowing and understanding the relationship that person has to others in your circle of influence, whether expressed or not, is critical to managing business and personal relationships and shows an advance awareness and comprehension in managing your EI abilities.

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A Closer Look At Emotional Intelligence

When Emotional Intelligence first appeared in the early 1900’s, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: People with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs by seventy percent or more. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success – one’s IQ.

Emotional Intelligence is that “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional Intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

Personal competence comprises your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.

  • Self-awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen.
  • Self-management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behavior.

Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior and motives in order to respond effectively and improve the quality of your relationships.

  • Social awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on.
  • Relationship management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and another’s emotions to manage interactions successfully.

Emotional Intelligence, IQ and Personality Are Different

Emotional Intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect.

There is no known connection between IQ and Emotional Intelligence; you simply can’t predict Emotional Intelligence based on how smart someone is. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional Intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more Emotionally Intelligent than others, you can develop high Emotional Intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.

Personality is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s the stable “style” that defines each of us. Personality is the result of hard-wired preferences, such as the inclination toward introversion or extroversion. However, like IQ, personality can’t be used to predict Emotional Intelligence. Also like IQ, personality is stable over a lifetime and usually doesn’t change. IQ, Emotional Intelligence and personality each cover unique ground and help to explain what makes a person tick.

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Emotional Intelligence Predicts Performance

How much of an impact does Emotional Intelligence have on your professional success? The short answer is: a lot! It’s a powerful way to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous result. TalentSmart tested Emotional Intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills and found that Emotional Intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 percent of success in all types of jobs.

Your Emotional Intelligence is the foundation for a host of critical skills—it impacts most everything you do and say each day.

Of all the people we’ve studied at work, says TalentSmart, we have found that 90 percent of top performers are also high in Emotional Intelligence. On the flip side, just 20 percent of bottom performers are high in Emotional Intelligence. You can still be a top performer without Emotional Intelligence, but the chances are slim.

Naturally, people with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence make more money—an average of $29,000 more per year than people with a low degree of Emotional Intelligence. As mentioned earlier, the link between Emotional Intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These findings hold true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world. We haven’t yet been able to find a job in which performance and pay aren’t tied closely to Emotional Intelligence.

Can I Improve My Emotional Intelligence?

The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of Emotional Intelligence. The pathway for Emotional Intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional Intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.

Plasticity is the term neurologists use to describe the brain’s ability to change. As you discover and practice new Emotional Intelligence skills, the billions of microscopic neurons lining the road between the rational and emotional centers of your brain branch off small “arms” (much like a tree) to reach out to the other cells. A single cell can grow 15,000 connections with its neighbors. This chain reaction of growth ensures that it’s easier to launch a new behavior into action if and when you decide to do so.

As you train your brain by repeatedly practicing new emotionally intelligent behaviors, your brain builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with Emotional Intelligence without even having to think about it. And just as your brain reinforces the use of new behaviors, the connections supporting old, destructive behaviors will die off as you learn to limit your use of them.

So when you see a more mature individual, who is surprisingly agile, coherent and happy, remember, they probably kept training their brain to be active and youthful, proving once again, we can improve and keep enhancing our Emotional Intelligence, no matter where we are in our lives.