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The Secret To Leveling Up Your Professional Career

You know about IQ, but what about EQ?

Workin’ Girl

When I graduated from college, I couldn't wait to be considered an adult. I was ready to get hired by my dream job, make a ton of money, and live my best life. Well, as we all know, that is not exactly the reality of post-grad life. One thing that has personally been nerve-wracking for me about joining the workforce is the idea of always having to prove myself to others in order to get paid. Just typing that out automatically gives me a headache. Sending your resume to dozens of companies, hoping they like you enough for an interview, then if you get the job, you have to make sure you are on your 'A' game at all times. It's exhausting AF in order to keep said job. And don't even get me started with the entrepreneur route.

Let's just say, trial and error are close friends of mine. It wasn't until three years ago that I figured out what that secret was to help me with all my work problems and obtain the keys to success. I noticed that once I mastered this, my professional career became much smoother for me. I was able to see myself level up like never before. The secret is (insert dramatic pause) having a high EQ.

You're probably thinking, OK Kiara, I know what an IQ is, but what the hell is an EQ? Well my lovelies, EQ stands for emotional quotient, also known as emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, in the general sense, is the ability to manage your emotions and understand the emotions of others. Some may not think emotions are an integral part of navigating the professional world; but the truth is, they are. Emotions are so intertwined in everything that we do, it affects our work life more than you think.

Below are the five main benefits of why having high emotional intelligence will help you boss up unlike anything else.

1. You are more tapped into your self-awareness.

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Self-awareness is a key component to having a high EQ. When you are self-aware, you know who you are. You know what you bring to the table and what you cannot bring to the table. You understand what your strengths are and what your areas of improvement are. Don't you hate it when you start thinking to yourself, "I wonder if they think I can do this job. Shit, I wonder if I can do this job." Well, self-awareness gives you the confidence where you don't have to rely on the validation of others. You have such a high sense of self that you can tell yourself, "I am capable and I am going to do the job the best way I can."

Even when you receive feedback from a manager or teammate, you are able to take feedback constructively and not defensively. Being self-aware also allows you to pivot better when there is unexpected change. You are able to look at a situation and identify if the change is a problem you can solve or something that is out of your control and you just try to adapt. Being self-aware helps with being more proactive than reactive. It really helps with reducing stress levels in tense environments and keeps you grounded.

2. You have better time management.

When you are able to manage your emotions, you are more likely able to manage your time too. I know I used to have the problem with over-committing to things. I would say "yes" all the time when asked to complete something. I would be running around trying to juggle 20 things knowing good and well I was only one human. I couldn't do it all. Having a high EQ helped me become more real with myself in how I spend my time. If I know I can complete five things in a certain amount of time, then I have to stick to those five things.

You are much more efficient with your time when you have less on your to-do list than with more.

When you manage your time better, you are more open to setting boundaries to make sure you do not overextend yourself. It can be tricky with saying "no" to tasks sometimes, because you want to impress your boss. I get that. But I guarantee you, if you are transparent with your boss about your capacity, they will be more understanding. Your boss would rather you complete a task giving it 100 percent than to juggle too many things and only giving the task 25 percent. If you explain to your boss that you are able to complete X amount of tasks effectively to get Z results, your boss will respect you and not see you as someone they can take advantage of. Time is more valuable to you when you have a high EQ.

3. You have motivation to grow.

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Have you heard of growth mindset vs. fixed mindset? Well, that's kind of how it is when you have a high EQ, you are able to recognize the difference. When you have a fixed mindset, you think that your traits and abilities are things you are born with. For example, if you think you were not born smart, then you will never be smart. A growth mindset is when you believe any trait or ability you have can be developed through hard work, knowledge, and being persistent. Having a high EQ allows you to tap into a growth mindset.

With a growth mindset, you gain a sense of drive within yourself to continue to work towards your goals no matter what. You rely on staying motivated from your own inner wants/desires without needing external forms of encouragement. There is nothing wrong with being motivated by friends or family, but the most important source of motivation is YOU. When you are more motivated from within, you are able to pick yourself back up quicker when obstacles come along. You are less likely to stay in a state of feeling discouraged or knocked down for a long period of time.

4. You become a networking guru.

Your professional career is not just about how you navigate the office, but also how you build professional relationships. You go to events where you meet so many people with all these different backgrounds and careers. It can be challenging to know where to start when you want to connect with someone. Well honey, let me tell you, when you have a high EQ, you know how to WERK THE ROOM. You have that keen eye on who to spark up a conversation with and who to just leave alone. Remember, with emotional intelligence, you are able to understand the emotions of others as well as your own.

So when networking, you are able to communicate with others in a way that is very intentional. The way you interact with people becomes more collaborative and less transactional. Another thing you will notice when networking, is that you are able to read body language and facial expressions. You are able to pick up on nonverbal cues in people more than people who do not have a high EQ. It allows you to be more aware of your surroundings and more observant of the people you meet. Networking brings so many possibilities for you in your career. So, when you know how to say the right things to the right people, you can market yourself for the best collaborations. People who interact with you will get a sense of 'she knows what she's talking about' and be more inclined to work with you.

5. You will be ahead of the game.

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Emotional intelligence is not something you think of as a skill to put on your resume, but you absolutely should. Having a high EQ separates you from the rest. Companies will see you as a person that exudes the team work and leadership qualities they look for in an employee. Companies today struggle with solutions on how to help their employees work well together, stay motivated, manage their time better, and acknowledge their strengths.

When you have a high EQ, you are the top candidate they need. You are already a valuable asset to the company's culture.

Even in the entrepreneur world, having a high EQ allows you to be a leader more than a manager. You can help inspire others in your team and provide high quality supportive that keeps the morale at an all-time high. It is extremely beneficial to have the power to be in tune with every single emotion you have. Being able to identify and control your emotions is one thing but using that to acknowledge emotions in others is similar to using emotions as a compass to climb up the success ladder.

Emotional intelligence is a hidden talent that you can definitely use to your advantage. In order to learn more about emotional intelligence, check out Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Jean Greaves and Travis Bradberry. Click here to start.

Featured image by Shutterstock

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