During the global pandemic, clients have shared every week how they miss face-to-face interactions, normal social outings, and casual banter about life outside of work. They’re also fearful that they may be missing out on opportunities to build relationships with people who could advance their careers.
So, what actions can you take now make sure you maintain momentum towards moving up in your career?
First, you have to learn to manage the range of emotions that can come up when you worry about the loss of connection and the potential delays in advancing your career.
As a certified mindfulness and meditation instructor who’s worked with thousands of people, I know that one of the most powerful things you can do to manage your emotions is to integrate mindfulness practices into your life.
Mindfulness practices like meditation can dramatically increase your emotional intelligence, also referred to as EQ. Meditation will increase your ability to manage stress better, creatively solve problems, build key relationships, feel more present and connected to others.
You can demonstrate such EQ strengths in ways that others will notice even during zoom video meetings. You may have to intentionally speak up or ask to be on a meeting agenda, but people who can influence your career will notice when you demonstrate EQ. According to TalentSmart, 90% of top performers are high in EQ.
One example of how you might do that includes calmly presenting tough challenges your company is facing, along with your creative solutions in a confident manner. Another example might be how you respectfully express a different opinion about an issue during a group discussion.
Mindfulness practices such as meditation allow you to slowdown in ways that help increase your self-awareness, social awareness, ability to manage your emotions and your relationships.
To get you started on your mindfulness journey to increase your EQ and ultimately boost your career, try these 3 simple mindfulness techniques:
1. Breathe Intentionally and Deeply Whenever You Feel Stressed. It may sound basic, but under stress, we tend to barely breathe! We react from the most primal part of our brain and activate our sympathetic nervous system, diving into “fight or flight” mode. This not our best decision-making place to be if we’re in a non-life-threatening situation.
Practice mindful breathing by taking several deep breaths. This will instantly bring oxygen to your brain. You’ll think more clearly and make better decisions. Deep breathing will immediately activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which is like pushing STOP on your stress button, and pressing START on your relaxation button.
People notice others who demonstrate that they operate from a place of calm vs chaos, especially during challenging times. Being perceived as someone who remains level-headed and composed under pressure will get the attention of people who can advance your career.
2. Meditate Every Day to Build Your Mental Fitness. Take time to develop a foundation of mental fitness by alleviating the buildup of stress every day by meditating.
I know sitting and doing nothing can be a challenge for high achievers wanting to move up in their career. Taking time out of your day to just BE reduces stress, trains your brain to focus on one thing and helps you have more clarity to make better decisions. Being perceived as someone who makes good decisions will get the attention of people who can boost your career.
When you manage stress well, you’re better able to create unique concepts such as new collaborations across your organization, or with clients or other companies. Being perceived as a person who does this well can elevate your visibility and get your name in the hat for new career opportunities.
3. Be Aware of Your Triggers and Press Pause to Manage Them. Triggers are self-protection mechanisms we all have that are created by our experiences, comfort zones, and the general lens we use to view the world.
For example, someone might say or do something that triggers you in ways that creates an automatic negative mental or physical response.
When you feel a trigger (a pit in your stomach, a flash of fear or some other kind of intense negative response), try to “press pause” in your mind and just stop -- don’t respond in any way.
Stop yourself from reacting in any way because in the moment, you may want to respond with a defensive, negative comment; however, doing that could cost you dearly when it comes to future opportunities.
Choosing to press pause when triggered by something or someone is a superpower that demonstrates you have EQ. Taking a moment to decide how you want to respond will also help you manage your feelings, instead of reacting negatively without thinking. Being perceived as someone who can control their emotions will get the attention of people who can further your career.
These 3 simple mindfulness practices will increase your EQ with greater self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management skills.
If you develop those 4 core emotional intelligence skills, you will be sought after for top level, influential roles by the companies you work for now, and/or ones you will work for in the future.
Don’t wait until the pandemic is over to begin integrating these mindfulness practices into your life. It can make a huge difference right now in how connected you feel while working virtually, how optimistic you are about your career, and how you show up in person or during a zoom meeting, as someone a high level of EQ!
If you’d like to know more about how I help leaders increase their EQ, and achieve higher levels of success, schedule a complimentary call with me by clicking here. Together, we can figure out if I can help you in your leadership journey.
Jennell Evans, MA, CMMI
Leadership | Emotional Intelligence | Mindfulness | Advisor & Speaker