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  • Regina Stafford

​What Is EI? Part 1

 The term EI  (Emotional Intelligence) became popular in 1995 from a book by Daniel Goleman, titled Emotional Intelligence. Since then it has grown in popularity to the point where some studies suggest it is more desirable to have a higher EI, than a high IQ (Intellectual Quotient) in the work place. We all know and understand the importance of education and intellect, and although EI is now a desired skill to learn, it seems to be most popular in the motivational circles. I’d like to bring a little more awareness to it for those not understanding the richness in exposing themselves to this skill and the value it will bring to your personal life, in your relationships, and in your work environment. For years I have worked in personal development and relationships. When I first began training to become a Life Coach I heard the term “EI”. Its importance resonated so loudly within me that I continue to seek out new information and research on it. There is an exciting scientific world around the study of EI.  It involves neuroscience, brain imaging, and how connections are made, as well as studies around our nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system, which is the source of your energy, creativity, and all of your physical, mental and emotional processes. It can sound complicated for those who may not be familiar with this terminology, but it can be simplified for anyone to understand. It can be applied for general knowledge, for self-awareness, for leadership development and team building. My hope is that what I share doesn’t give you a headache, but rather informs you, so that you can better understand yourself and others. Let’s start with our thinking. Are our thoughts the sum of who we are or is it our feelings? The correct answer is our thoughts. The thoughts we keep and the interpretation of all we’ve been through in our lives make a “map” in our brain, which means it forms a pattern or a way of thinking. When we repeatedly think a certain way, it becomes a way of being and feeling. When I was younger, I used to think this was just positive thinking and put no belief in it.  The neurological factor proved to me that if a person is willing to do what it takes to change, they can, and they will change. What does it take? It takes making a new “map” in your brain. That means you need to consistently alter how you think about something or view something, despite how you feel. It’s easier said than done but you can change your feelings. Being consistent is how it goes from your thoughts to your feelings.  I remember hearing a comment years ago, that someone made toward another person as a joke, it was; “his elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top”.  It was said about their intellect and common sense but I think it’s a great example to use regarding our emotions as well. Let me explain. When you want to make a change in your thinking, but you feel differently than what you would actually like to see or do, you have the choice to go with your feelings, again, because it’s easier, or you can let that “elevator continue to the top”, then make a choice to view, act or choose something different. Here’s a personal example from my recent vacation with my husband. While on vacation you eat out a lot, eating out challenges your resolve to eat healthy (yes even though you’re on vacation). So when I had to choose what to eat I had to ask myself if I was choosing with my feelings (my taste buds) or with my brain (my smarts). It became a joke between us. There were days I chose with my mouth and feelings and there were days I let the “elevator go to the top” and made better choices. It proved a great analogy for both of us and gave us a good laugh when the elevator button was broken. Anyway, I’m sure you get the point. If you find yourself feeling like you can’t make changes in your life, rethink it, you can.  When you know what you want to change, you need to figure out a more productive way to think about it; books, a coach, a therapist or someone else with a high EI can all be helpful with this. Then, do it over and over and over again, by choice and you will change how you feel. It won’t happen overnight but as you practice thinking in line with how you want to become…you will become it! An age-old proverb says: ”As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” (OT Proverbs 23; 7) Next weeks Blog 2 of a 3 part series, will elaborate on EI within yourself.  #rewardscoaching #EI #Emotionalintellegence #thoughtsandfeelings #lettheelevatorgotothetop

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