Going Beyond your Comfort Zone
Having a high emotional intelligence (EI) is having the skill to be able to understand and manage your emotions as well as those of others. People with a high EI know what they are feeling and understand how their emotions affect those around them.
We use emotional intelligence to help build stronger relationships in the workplace. Being able to understand how your emotions impact others will help you create positive interactions, and you will also be able to motivate others to be more productive and their best selves.
The Comfort Zone
This is where we have no fear, no discomfort and feel at home and safe. In your comfort zone you tend to face no challenges, and everything will be familiar. There are few reasons to learn as nothing is challenged or questioned.
Where you are so far out of your comfort zone that you will feel overwhelmed. We are challenged in a way where learning is impossible creating fear and stress. All your time will be spent managing the stress that causes you to spend more time in your comfort zone and less time exploring how far you can stretch.
In between your comfort zone and your stress zone is your stretch zone – the area where you grow the most. This is where things can feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable, however, you have the capability to learn and enhance your skills. It is in the stretch zone that you spend your time on personal development and expand your comfort zone.
The Agile EQ DISC profile gives you an understanding of where your comfort zone is. It can tell you which mindsets you need to stretch into and gives you advice on how to challenge yourself and expand your comfort zone. Your profile is specific to you and based on how you completed your DISC assessment, so the advice from your Agile EQ profile is according to how ready you are to stretch.
Stretching out of your comfort zone has been compared to physical fitness. To get stronger you need to exercise, and to improve your EI requires practice.
Each mindset will provide you with various tips of how you can improve. For example, they might say:
Objective – to be objective you can learn how to take feedback less personally – to do this, be proactive and ask for honest opinions from others. As you learn to expect honest criticisms and opinions from others you will become better prepared and start taking things less personally.
Resolute – speak up about problems. You may struggle to say to someone what is wrong for fear of hurting them, however, to be more resolute, you can consider phrasing your concerns as a question and give critical feedback in person so that people truly understand what you mean (something that can be misconstrued in a text message or email).
Self-Assured – you can improve your self-assured mindset by taking charge of situations even if you don’t feel like an expert. Taking on leadership responsibilities even in areas that fall out of your particular expertise, your natural strengths will kick in and soon you will feel confident in any leadership position.
Dynamic – to be more dynamic you can work on getting your ideas in front of the right people. Proactively sharing your ideas will always reflect well on you, however, you need to know who the decision makers are and what the best way to present your thoughts whether a presentation, a graphic or just starting with an email. Don’t wait for them to come to you –create the opportunities yourself by booking in a meeting with the right person.
Outgoing – being outgoing can be tough for some people, however, it is important when building strong relationships. One way to be more outgoing is to get to know your colleagues on a more personal level. Ask questions about their lives outside the office, find common ground and share your own interests. Check to see what you remember and revisit these topics with your colleagues.
Empathising – To really empathise you need to pay attention to verbal and non verbal cues that might signal that something might not be quite right. Showing empathy can make yourself more approachable as well as give you a diiferent perspective or a deeper understanding of a situation.
Receptive – Staying open to others’ ideas can be a challenge especially if the ideas don’t sound logical or relatable to you, but the ability to consider others opinions outside your own and perhaps compromise on what you want for the good of the group or another can bring long term benefit. Pick your battles wisely!
Composed – Making rash decisions can have serious repercussions. Taking a reflective approach can be very helpful if you are someone who can let their feelings get the better of them, particularly in stressful situations. Adopting a composed mindset helps you choose intentional, thoughtful responses, preventing tense situations from becoming worse. And it helps you protect the relationships you value.
If you spend all your time in your comfort zone, you will never learn and grow. Stretching is a way for you to focus on personal development and become a happier, resilient and effective person, who can master their own emotions or be open to other ideas but ultimately build better relationships.
This blog was written by the immensely talented Joe (blogs) Quintana. Connect with him on LinkedIn
Keeping things simple in a complicated world.
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