By Joni Lindquist
We’re in full holiday swing! Unfortunately, year-end deadlines, personal, family and professional commitments can often make this a stressful time. In an effort to help you enjoy the holidays more and cope with stress, we’ve outlined the following Twelve Days of Christmas to use your Emotional Intelligence to thrive:
Day One: Practice Listening! Don’t be constantly trying to make your point. Hear others out and truly understand what they are saying. I start with this because it’s fundamental to strong Emotional Intelligence.
Day Two: Count to Ten! Learn to count to ten before you speak during an emotionally charged situation.
Day Three: Smile more. You’ll be amazed at how this can release the tension in your body. It can also disarm someone who is trying to ”push your buttons” without getting into a shouting match.
Day Four: Prioritize the activities in your life. What’s really important? If it’s your child’s Christmas pageant, be there. If it’s an ailing parent’s visit to a doctor, be there. If it’s the most important business deal before the end of the year, do it. Focus on what’s most important.
Day Five: Stop doing something that really is far less important. Maybe you don’t have to host the party or even decorate your home. Or stop meeting weekly with your staff if it’s not productive. Find something that frees you up.
Day Six: Walk Away. If you feel yourself getting upset, rather than saying something rash you may regret later, say “let me think about that” or “I’ll get back to you later” and walk away. Cool down, then follow-up.
Day Seven: Control your Self-Talk. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting the perfect gift, or doing anything else perfect. Are you taking one negative situation and extrapolating it to make everything negative? Instead, focus your self-talk on what you want to get accomplished and how you will do your best.
Day Eight: Talk to Others who are not emotionally invested in the situation. Find an unbiased person and get their advice on the topic. Their unemotional view can usually provide a fresh perspective that may shift your thoughts and approach.
Day Nine: Laugh More – particularly at yourself. By laughing at yourself at work or when with others, it shows humility. And like smiling more, it will release tension in your body. Don’t take things and yourself too seriously.
Day Ten: Take a Break! Practice taking a five minutes break twice this day. During these five minutes, do something completely unrelated to work. Maybe close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Or get up and move – walk around. If you have an office, yoga practitioners recommend laying on your back with your legs up against the wall. Whatever it is, find something that provides you a good mental break. This exercise may help when you are later faced with emotionally-charged situations.
Day Eleven: Look for Win-Win. Rather than continually trying to win every battle, look for solutions that allow both parties to win. Use that listening skill I mentioned earlier. Then be creative – try to combine what you hear with what you were thinking – how do they go together?
Day Twelve: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. Let it go. Focus your energy and emotions on the right things, those things that are really important. Don’t win the battles, win the war – let the small stuff go, its far too draining.
If your follow the 12 days, I am confident it will help you enjoy the season more. Plus, you will be building key skills that may boost your career effectiveness in 2015! To take the first steps with your career plan, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (913) 345-1881.