The Focus On You

*Self-Care & Lifestyle Blog*

Category: Inspiration (page 1 of 22)

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.

 

 

How To Navigate Your Way Out Of A Shame Storm

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As a therapist and self-care blogger, I am a huge fan of Brené Brown’s books and seminars on shame, imperfection and courage. I recently watched a webinar on shame and was blown away.

One of her concepts that blew me away was this:

What happens when you get swept up in a shame storm?

Shame is that feeling that weighs much heavier than guilt. Brown describes guilt as the self-talk that says, “I made a mistake.” Shame, on the other hand, says “I AM a mistake.” Guilt focuses on a particular behavior and shame is more personal.

So what is a shame storm?

It’s that shitty feeling when:

  • Someone ghosts us after dating.

  • Being criticized by someone we respect at work.

  • Being passed over for a promotion, raise or special project.

  • Feeling alienated by family members or friends.

  • Intimate relationships become a struggle.

  • We talk ourselves out of trying something new (job, taking a trip, business risk).

  • Your children disappoint you.

  • A recent medical or mental health diagnosis.

  • Being stuck in a comparison cycle because your friends and family have kids, good paying jobs, fit bodies, education, happy relationships, etc.

Personally, I’ve been through a shame monsoon where self-doubt and anxiety flood my entire being. Every thought and step is bathed in doubt. And no one has to say anything to trigger it. When fibromyalgia floods my cells with a flare, it instantly throws me in a lurch. I don’t want to self-diagnose but I have no shame in describing it as depression. When I suddenly lose energy and motivation to even take a shower, it’s easy for shame to curl up next to me.

In all honesty, a therapist can’t prevent a shame storm. We can sit and listen and help provide solutions to paddle your way out of it though. Knowing what your triggers are could help you weather the storm too. Having the courage to discuss your shameful feelings with a trusted therapist or healer, is an important first step.

Here are some ideas to help:

  • Identify who would listen without judgment. We don’t need that friend or family member who minimizes our pain. Don’t call the person who says, “Oh you have no reason to feel shame!” According to Brown, shame can’t survive in silence. Speaking to someone who will be empathetic decreases shame’s power.
  • Write, write and write. And then toss it. Burn it (safely). Tell the shitty thoughts to leave your head and toss them. Give them a death sentence.
  • Depending on how we react to shame (internalize it, lash out, isolation) we may need to ask for space. Our loved ones don’t need to feel the effects of our hurt and its safest to ask for space. You don’t even have to explain why. Say this: “Uhh I’m having a day today. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” Enough said. Set healthy boundaries.
  • If the shame storm soaked you, imagine drying off. Change out of your “wet” clothes, take a soothing shower and start fresh. This could be a good mindfulness exercise in literally washing off the scent of self-doubt. Himalayan salt showers or Epsom salt baths are popular practices. Cleansing our body can be a meditative process and helps mask tears. Crying in the shower is perfectly ok.
  • If alienation or abandonment occurred, remind yourself of who still loves you and appreciates you. Reach out to your Higher Power, identify important and healthy people in your life and tell yourself you are loved. Don Miguel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements” helped me make sense of the phrase, “Don’t take anything personally.” (Hey I’ve written about this! Building Confidence Using The Four Agreements)
  • If you are feeling abandoned, beware of being “vague” on social media. If you’re not speaking clearly about what you’re feeling, people could brush you off or minimize your situation. Thus, you may end up feeling abandoned again. Don’t set yourself up for more sadness.
  • Brené Brown has described shameful experiences as “falling face down in the arena.” I recommend her book, “Rising Strong”, where she describes the rumble before falling down and the revolution that takes place when you are resilient. She provides personal experience as well as therapeutic messages from the perspective of a healer.

As a therapist, I have seen clients become empowered when they identify the source of their shame. Many times adults are carrying around messages of unworthiness from childhood. An absent or distant parent, addicted parent, abusive siblings or generational trauma leave lasting scars.

We are simply containers of emotions and most of us haven’t cleaned out our shelves. Click To Tweet

Working with a therapist or healer can help clean out our dusty crevices, especially if we are steadily drenched in shame storms.

My hope is that shame storms can eventually trickle down to sprinkles of guilt, which encourage us to change our behaviors instead of isolating ourselves in doubtful and discouraging self-talk.

 

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