The Focus On You

*Self-Care & Lifestyle Blog*

Why Your Emotional Intelligence Gets In The Way Of Your Success

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Lately I keep hearing “emotional intelligence”, or EQ,  thrown into conversations about career and the workplace. After doing some quick research I was surprised to see how much this relates to why I may not be succeeding in my career.

Ironically, I have been spending the last few months digging into my career goals. Aside from blogging I have dual licenses to provide mental health and addictions treatment. In my field, having licensure is like gold. And adding additional licenses makes you more marketable.

I now realize that I have spent the last few years being “too comfortable.” Although I attend continuing education on a monthly basis I haven’t necessarily grown in my profession. I have never held a management position because I love working one-on-one with clients but this can hurt me in the long run.  I have spent more energy in the last 2 years growing as a writer and with my personal brand. This is important to me but it isn’t my bread and butter.

After learning about EQ and re-assessing where I want to grow professionally, I realize where my weaknesses are. As I’m applying for a new therapy license, I see how little I have done “on paper.” I can gas myself up all day but it’s true that what we show on paper is what pays the bills. Even after receiving a degree we still have to hustle for positions and upward growth in our careers.

What does emotional intelligence have to do with success in general?

Managing Difficult Situations – If you want to move into a leadership position at work or in volunteer roles,  examine how well you handle stress. Do you blow up or do you hide in the corner? Some of our immediate and comfortable reactions may be stifling our growth. Have you ever told your kids to stand up to a bully? This is somewhat similar. Children learn to exercise their assertiveness muscle by using it. Adults aren’t any different. See how you can stretch out of your comfort zone and step up to help!

Clearly Expressing Yourself I sometimes struggle with this one because have a bad habit of fumbling my words. In my field, dealing with people in crisis, I have to remember to simplify my message and/or directions. People in trauma may not process “wordy” instructions. Expressing yourself diplomatically and clearly is important in upper management and if you work with people outside your company. You don’t want your boss or client (if you work freelance) to have a bad impression about you because you can’t get your message across. Re-read your emails and rehearse important messages before big meetings if you feel unsure. No one has to know that you practiced with a script.

People Want To Work With You If you have a strong EQ, you are aware of your own and others’ emotions. You’re not barking demands to someone who’s apparently overwhelmed or having a personal crisis. Have you ever worked with someone who “doesn’t see you?” Some circles would argue that male colleagues are usually less “aware” of emotional cues their co-workers give off. Healthy emotional intelligence means you relate well to others personally and professionally and are willing to collaborate. These people avoid power struggles and take criticism well. I think I excel in this area and have improved on receiving criticism (not that I ever blew up or anything). Regardless of whether we’re an educator, self-employed, professional or a Lyft driver, don’t we all want to get along with others and bring in more business?

If you’re struggling in the workplace AND the dating scene, dig a little further and see how emotional intelligence relates to the dating world.

Are you unapproachable?

Are you carrying the weight of work into social circles?

Are you being fake while dating because you don’t know jack about your emotions? Do you push people away because you can’t regulate your anger or bad attitude?

Want to assess your EQ? Take this free emotional intelligence quiz! I enjoyed this quick audit and it helped me understand what areas I need to work on.

The purpose of this post is to help you re-evaluate where you may be slipping. If we don’t know what we’re doing “wrong” how can we change? Click To Tweet Honestly, I don’t know how much constructive feedback managers will give you regarding emotional intelligence. But if you can pinpoint your weaknesses and improve them, it can increase your chances for success, and better yet, long-term growth.

Further resources:

Mindtools.com – A wealth of resources on career related topics. Assessments, worksheets, etc.

 

 

The Connection Between Minority Mental Health And Belonging

As a Mexican-American, I naturally gravitate towards wellness issues that focus on people of color. Inclusivity is becoming more than just a buzzword and honestly, it’s nice to finally be invited to the party.

In lieu of spouting off statistics about the effects of depression and anxiety on people of color, I want to explore a problem with mental health that goes unnoticed.

Belonging.

Being seen.

Although there are layers of barriers that people of color face in relation to mental illness (inadequate healthcare coverage, citizenship, poverty, taboo subject in your home), having a feeling of being unwanted or unseen can be damaging to one’s core.

You see belonging relates to fairness.

Fairness is what our kids gripe about in their classrooms. Fairness is missing in our board rooms, where the majority of upper management are Caucasian males. Abused women and mothers want fairness in courtrooms for restraining orders and custody agreements. (Don’t ask me how many times I have seen the court give the kids to an abusive father because he earns more money).

When you’re treated unfairly and go “unseen” you develop a sense that you don’t belong. For minorities, every incidence of being passed over for a job, harassed by cops, having nasty glares from sales associates or pre-judgments about your intelligence builds layers of “I don’t belong” messages.

Imagine adding on years of these messages with a newly diagnosed mental illness.

For anyone with mental illness you may wonder, who will believe me? Who will dismiss your illness and claim you have to “suck it up?” How do you talk about anxiety and depression with elder family members who survived a dangerous migration, escaping a war torn country or extreme poverty?

Even when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia I wondered how I would be judged? How can I complain about being tired when I have friends who are running non-stop with kids, career, mortgages and large families? And how do I describe fibromyalgia as more than being “tired?”

And as popular culture focuses again on the mindset behind suicidal ideations, many suicide survivors would admit that their thoughts cannot be trusted with loved ones. You can have the greatest family in the world but suicide is not a topic you can bring up comfortably without people shoving questions and doctors down your throat. So if you feel suicidal, where can you feel like you belong?

Luckily, social media is providing groups and websites chock full of resources, hotlines and chats that are opening up discussions about all these sensitive topics.

My wish? In this expansive web of social connectivity, I want people struggling with painful symptoms to find a safe spot where they know they belong, and will be accepted.

And my continued passion with this blog and future projects, is to open up the door for people of color to have these conversations and begin the healing process.

Resources:

Talkspace – Online Therapy

Project UROK: Resource for teens and young adults

Buddy Project: Project that uplifts young people with mental illness and pairs them with supportive friends. They frequently share Twitter threads full of resources (playlists, affirmations, etc).

Affirm podcast:  Podcast for women of color created by a mental health therapist.

To Write Love On Her Arms: Non-profit devoted to finding help for people dealing with suicide, self-harm and depression.

Tessera Collective: Online community and empowerment for girls and women of color.

PsychCentral: Mental health social network overseen by mental health professionals. Fabulous resource for ALL topics related to psychology.

Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Trevor Project Crisis Line (LGBTQ): 1-866-488-7386

 

 

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