Internationally known psychologist Daniel Goleman brought the term “emotional intelligence” to light in 1995, he stated, “Biological impulses drive our emotions; we cannot do away with them but we can do much to manage them. Self regulation, which is like an ongoing inner conversation is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoner’s of our feelings.” Goleman found that while left brain characteristics were associated with success and leadership, it is insufficient. Emotional intelligence is associated with the right brain and according to Goleman is the sine qua non of success. To be creative and successful in the worst economy since the Great Depression one must have a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills, the qualities that will ensure you maintain your mojo. It is time for Americans to get their mojo back and start innovating, creating and motivating! Technical skills, logic, analysis and cold hard reason for the most part have been the gold standards of competencies but according to many social psychologists, those skills are being trumped by competencies like empathy and self awareness. These are the skills that corporations are looking for.
Mojo means “finding the magic in what you do”. To have “lost your mojo”, refers to a loss of inspiration or creative genius; a loss of that special spark. So how do you keep your mojo when everything around you seems to be going to hell in a hand basket? You can’t control the economy or the constant bickering between the Democrats and Republicans, heck most of us can’t even control our texting, tweeting and talking on the phone while driving teenagers but what we can control is our emotions and behavior. What we can control is how we make the most of each day and each situation in our life. The left brain is associated with logic and is constantly telling you how lousy the economy is; the right brain is where your creative genius lies and is the side of the brain that can give you back your mojo and make you lucky. Here’s how:
1. Use your imagination
Every successful person has imagined and visualized their success. Imagination empowers you to create beyond your present circumstances. According to Dr. Stephen R. Covey, one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, Imagination is infinite; it deals with the present and future, with potentiality, vision, mission and goals. When your willpower is matched with imagination, you are more effective. Just because the economy is stalled, don’t put your imagination on hold. Imagine what you want to do and go about writing down the action steps to make it happen; let that action plan include acquiring more skills if needed, volunteering and networking both virtually and in-person. Go about the business of sharing your imagination with the world.
2. Become Self-aware
Self-awareness is the first component of emotional intelligence; the term “know thyself” has been around for thousands of years. Have a deep understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, needs and drives. Do you know your strengths? Knowing where your strength lies and learning how to nurture it and capitalize on it will change the trajectory of your life. It is human nature to look at others and think they must have something you don’t have. They’re smarter, more talented; prettier; more handsome, they have what it takes to be successful. What they have is a deep understanding of both their strengths and weaknesses, which allows them to maximize the former and minimize the latter. Those attractive sisters who star in a reality television show know their strength is in their looks. They’ve done a phenomenal job in capitalizing on them in various markets; they did not focus on their weaknesses, or they would have been out of business before they started.
Management expert Dr. Peter Drucker wrote in the Harvard Business Review “It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.” Your time, energy and resources must go into making a competent you, a star performer, but too many people focus on what they don’t have. Too many of you have a laser sharp focus on your weaknesses and constantly try to improve those instead of concentrating and improving on your strengths. Becoming self-aware of your strengths will improve your luck!
3. Regulate your emotions
People who are able to manage their emotions can more easily roll with the punches and don’t fall apart when changes occur, whether personal or professional. They’re much more proactive than reactive. When they hear rumors that their company is in trouble they don’t bury their head in the sand or let anger and fear drive their behavior; instead when a new program is announced or a merger takes place or the company decides to move out West, they don’t panic, they seek out information, ask intelligent questions and actively explore their options. When self regulators fall down, they jump back up, shake the unhappiness and disappointment off and get back on track; they don’t stay down and drown in self pity. Negative emotions never lead you down the path of the lucky; because luck is a condition of the circumstances upon which you place yourself. It’s when preparation meets opportunity. So use your imagination, become self-aware and please self-regulate. These qualities may sound soft but when Goleman calculated the ratio of technical skills, IQ and emotional intelligence as ingredients of excellence in performance, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels.