How reflecting on our own Emotional Intelligence can help us to embrace change

by Sally Brunning

November 6, 2017

Change occurs all the time in life, from striving to keep up to date with new technologies, to moving house, starting a family or tackling a flexible working schedule. How we, as individuals and employees, respond to change fundamentally impacts our entire lives.

As we enter an exciting new chapter at work and having recently moved house, I’m personally going through a time of change. Which has caused me to reflect on my own Emotional Intelligence (EI) and how I function during uncertain times. Historically, change has been a scary concept for me. However, I had the realisation that both my own EI and the EI of my friends, family and colleagues has positively impacted the way I’ve responded to the most recent challenges in my life.

Recently, I recognised that in the past I would automatically go into “panic mode” and worry about what could go wrong when anything changed. I was easily drawn into the trap of over-thinking and catastrophising. I never used to stop and appreciate my reactions for what they are – emotional data.

In contrast, I noticed that through the recent changes in my life, I have been more aware of my own emotional reactions (Self Awareness) and importantly, I have been appreciating that my emotions are OK (Self Regard), and in fact, valuable. This has allowed me to look at positive outcomes, through the information my body and brain have been providing me.

I have also been more aware of how my reactions to situations may differ to the responses of others (Awareness of Others) and in turn, appreciating that how others feel is equally OK (Regard for Others). Being surrounded by colleagues and friends who openly and effectively express their feelings and thoughts has “rubbed off” on me. I have been able to communicate my feelings and thoughts better to those around me and build a safe space for sharing.

Of course, I am not perfect at doing this just yet, part of me is still apprehensive about change and I may slip into my old habits from time to time, which I won’t feel bad about – we are all human! However, by working on my Emotional Intelligence, I feel it is easier to approach new challenges when I give myself time to appreciate my emotions and the emotions of others as valuable data.

I find it helpful to check in with my feelings using the Feelings Wheel.