The ballots have all been cast, the counting has ensued, results have been announced (well, some have) and now we all are weighing in on what it means to each of us.
Time to pull out our emotional intelligence (EQ) skills to figure out how you can best move forward from the midterm elections.
A great place to begin with is you. The strategy that will surely come into play over the Thanksgiving table: Know Who and What Pushes Your Buttons. Let’s face it, we have all had a hot button when it comes to politics at some point or another. Sometimes it was an issue that candidates debated and talked about. Other times it didn’t matter what the topic was; it was the actual candidate themselves that pushed you over the ledge. Write a list of your triggers, including people. Beside each, describe what triggers such strong emotions from you and how you react to each trigger.
Next, try the EQ strategy of Visiting Your Values. Check in with yourself and your core beliefs to know what really matters to you. When you look at the list you just created, identify which of the triggers does not fit in with your values. It is quite possible you are allowing yourself to get triggered over people and things that should not matter to you. Being aware of these specific triggers can allow you to be better prepared and set up for success as you maneuver the results of the political season.
Now that you are more aware of your triggers and how they fit with your values, let’s talk about self-managing more effectively. Two strategies come to mind. The first is: Learn a Valuable Lesson from Everyone You Encounter. That may sound like a tough one when it comes to politics. However, take a deep breath when someone has an opposing view and simply listen. You don’t have to agree with them. Listen to what they are saying, how they are saying it, and what you have not heard before that might inform you a bit more on this topic. Learn something…it could be a valuable fact you were never made aware of before. It could be that this person was not someone you supported, but now perhaps you have learned a factual reason rather than an emotional one.
This leads us to the next strategy: Take Control of Your Self-Talk. Your learnings from the self awareness strategies can now allow you to put some words in that voice in your head that will help you respond in a way that you will keep relationships intact. Short, positive phrases such as, ‘Count to 10’, ‘Walk away for a minute’, ‘Don’t shout back’ or ‘Smile and nod’ are a few that may allow you to not get into an argument you may regret later.
While November 8th has come and gone—maybe with some results that you are happy about and other results that will leave you reeling. The relationships that can be affected by our uncontrolled emotions and feelings, however, are here to stay far longer than this date. Create your emotional intelligence plan and have better, more effective discussions about what matters most.
For more emotional intelligence strategies to guide your personal and professional development, check out our website. You can also check out Emotional Intelligence 2.0, a Wall Street Journal best-seller and the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal®— the world’s most popular emotional intelligence assessment— to begin developing your EQ.
David Brzozowski is a Program Director at Talentsmart and a guest blog contributor.