Yup, I was canned from a lucrative job. Knocked on my butt, shocked and stunned, I had to figure out what to do next. I could have blamed others. I could have turned to the proverbial “bottle” or other substances.
I didn’t. I turned inward. And the effects of using introspection helped me turn positive results outward and completely changed my life. I found emotional intelligence… or maybe emotional intelligence found me. I’ve created a successful career as a keynote speaker and executive coach by using emotional intelligence first for myself — and now for my clients.
I want to share five ways emotional intelligence completely changed my life, which include five ways you can begin using it to your advantage to live the life you’ve always wanted.
1. My Relationship With Myself and How I Process Thoughts Completely Changed
That inner voice that seems to always know what’s right for you and wants you to live your best life — that’s called your intuition. For far too long, I ignored my intuition in matters of my career and professional desires. I paid the price for it. Maybe you know the feeling, too.
Around this time, I opened up and began to turn the pages of Think and Grow Rich for the first time. This book forever changed my life and helped me to understand what I needed to do to get on track. I began to pray more. I began to write a whole lot more. During 2016 and 2017, I became one of the top writers on all of Medium. To this day, I’m very high up on the list.
I started to look at my life and I realized that so many of the things I wanted weren’t even a part of my life. I began asking a lot of “Why” and “What” questions that helped me recognize that I needed to take action. I grew in self-confidence, I matured and I used self-awareness to my advantage.
For you: Start each day speaking positive affirmations about your life. Create a list of the five things you want most. Then, create a plan for how to get there. Ask yourself, “Am I growing?” “Do I feel happy?” “What will it take for me to feel like I’m living a fulfilled life?” That’s what self-awareness is all about.
2. I Use Empathy to Create Powerful Relationships
I took my show on the road. In other words, I decided to make lots of connections online and then looked to build those relationships in person. I wanted to learn from successful people, and offer up what I could in return. I led with empathy in every one of these relationships.
I showed authenticity by genuinely demonstrating my desire to learn about their experiences. I listened with intent. I showed I cared. I didn’t try to make things about me. I took the time to listen respectfully, ask questions and live with presence and joy in that moment.
I made friends. I created future business partnerships. I earned a lot of supporters who then wanted to turn around and help me. Several of them did with the launch of my book, The Value of You.
For you: Use all of the tools on the internet that you have at your disposal to connect, meet with people (online or in-person) and create powerful relationships. Lead with a genuine, heartfelt desire to learn about that person and try and help them. Watch your relationships blossom.
3. I Have Adapted to Change Better
Let’s face it, few things shake us to our core quite like getting fired from a job. From a professional standpoint, it’s the bottoming-out of our career. It’s the low-point — the nadir. But it’s all about what we do from that moment forward. Adaptability is all about knowing when to change the course, or whether to stay on the path we’re on.
I knew I had to change, reinvent myself, learn, grow and find ways to express myself like I never had before. I took every single lesson that I could from my experience and began using it to my advantage. I recognized that adversity wasn’t the end — in fact, it’s the greatest teacher. It’s led me to a life I love and I couldn’t be happier with the pain I felt.
For you: First things first, you must embrace change in your life. Change is the law of life, so if you ignore change you’re making a huge mistake. Be willing to push yourself forward into new frontiers. Ditch the fear that previously held you back. Share your work, your writing, your art with the world. View adversity as an opportunity to grow.
4. How I Manage My Time and Prioritize Completely Changed
I took to heart this Steve Jobs quote:
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”
I knew I’d be making less money right off the jump. I took a deep breath, then moved forward. I knew I needed to prioritize what was most important to me. I needed to manage my time efficiently and organize my day to focus on writing, coaching and speaking. Everything that fell outside of my most important items received no attention.
I used “blocks” to plan my day in Outlook. I used OneNote to help me organize my thought and plans. I started each day by writing, reaching out to people to make new connections and focusing on continuing education. It’s amazing how much “wasted time” I cut out. I realized how unimportant it was.
For you: Find a schedule management tool (i.e. Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.) and begin to organize your day. Plot out the most important activities. Create a list at the end of each day checking off the biggest accomplishments and reflecting on what you did well. Then, choose what you want to focus on for tomorrow.
5. I Learned How to Deal With Pain and Use it to My Advantage
I speak here about the emotional and mental pain I endured from realizing I wasn’t on the right path and knowing I needed to do something about. Pain and suffering in life are unavoidable. We will lose the people we love. We will lose jobs. People will say things that hurt our feelings. We’ll lose in sports, music, art and other competitive endeavours. We will get knocked on our asses.
It’s all about how we grow and profit from the pain that matters next. Pain often leads to pleasure for those of us that think positively, work hard and surround ourselves with people that lift us up, rather than tearing us down. I’m most proud of the emotional toughness and maturity I’ve reached by adapting to change and getting to know myself better.
I did go back and get a job that paid me more and gave me increased responsibility several months later. I truly believe I would not have gotten this job were it not for all the growth I experienced.
For you: Think about the moment or moments in your life that have caused you the greatest stress, anger, anxiety and pain. What have you learned from these? Take the time to reflect and grow as a person. Rely on the people in your life to lift you up — but lift yourself up first. Be positive. Focus on what’s next. Use motivation to your advantage — a huge part of emotional intelligence!
This article first appeared on Business Insider. Join my newsletter for emotional intelligence and productivity content! Check out my Amazon bestseller, The Value of You, which has helped tens of thousands of people develop the game plan for living their best life!