How to Build Your Emotional Intelligence.

How to Build Your Emotional Intelligence.

With the alarm blaring in my ear at 5:00am, I grabbed my phone only to read an email from American Airlines saying my 7:00am flight had been canceled.


Annoyance, frustration, anxiety hit me all at once as a million thoughts flooded my mind.


Do I confirm a later flight and go back to bed?

Do I go to the airport anyway and hope for the best?

Should I call the airline? Should I still be getting ready?


Three hours later I was able to get on a later flight, but the anger, frustration, disappointment, and stress were all still with me.  


Now the problem was what do I do with all these emotions? And how do I not let these emotions get the best of me?


Sometimes it can feel like we don’t have a choice and the emotions choose us.


The reality is when I woke up at 5:00am to read my email, all those emotions did in fact choose me. Studies show that you often can’t control your immediate reaction to situations. The initial stress, frustration, and annoyance made absolute sense as my body reacted in the moment.  


BUT hours later sitting in the airport that’s when I had a choice.  


Remember the Culture Building Formula. 


Experience > Emotions > Mindset > Attitudes > Behavior > Results 


Emotions are those pesky little feelings that happen after an experience, that so many of us want to stuff away.


As a leader you want to learn to feel your emotions, engage with them in a healthy way, and show up for yourself fully present and fully available to your team.


So, to help you get into a good practice of honoring and feeling your emotions here are a few key steps.


3 Vital Steps to Your Emotional Intelligence:


1. Acknowledge your feelings – notice all the emotions.  

2. Address your feelings – engage with them in a healthy way.

3. Accept your feelings - shift to a better place.


When we do not deal with our negative emotions, we end up getting snappy in the TSA precheck line, dart toward the nearest snack station to eat through our feelings, and then head to the most secluded airport corner to binge on Netflix.


The old Mikaela most definitely would have done all the above, but instead I …


1. Acknowledged – THIS STINKS, I am frustrated, mad, and disappointed that I am going to miss day 1 with my favorite team.


2. Addressed – I walked it out doing a few laps back and forth in the airport, bought myself a coffee, and took a few deep breaths.


3. Accepted – I told myself, “Of course you feel this way. These initial emotions are normal.”  I didn’t need to beat myself up over something that was completely out of my control.


This is life and emotions come and go.  


It’s important to notice how you react. What are your actions after the initial emotions? 


Do you avoid them and dive into work?

Do you take your feelings out on others?

Do you numb them with other distractions? 


Being aware of your unhealthy coping strategies provides insight into when you might need to dial back and Acknowledge, Address and Accept your internal rumblings.


This is crucial for improving your emotional intelligence as a leader.   


The greater your ability to notice, experience, and engage with your emotions, the greater your ability to notice, experience, and engage with the emotions of the people around you.


Not only are you daily creating experiences for others, but ALSO for yourself.


If you would like more guidance in unpacking these 3 steps to build your emotional intelligence, please reach out to me by clicking the link below.


I’d love to start the process of diving into healthy emotional coping strategies!

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