Recently I’ve been reading Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman for work and I’ve had some pretty enlightening moments. I’ve written down several traits that particularly stick out to me such as: intentionality, adaptiveness, self-awareness, catalyst, resiliency and the list goes on. I found myself focusing more and more on these attributes because I wanted to be well rounded in my career.
This reflection went on for several weeks and I found myself practicing those things sometimes without flaw at work, but when it came to my home, I was obviously lacking in several of these areas. I thought, “How could I be so good at these at work, but fail in them at home?” I would snap at my kids or feel unmotivated to go the extra mile at home and even lose patience when they weren’t catching on to things as quickly as I wanted them to. I think you can agree that different motivations move us to react differently in certain situations than others. Sometimes that can be good, but sometimes that can be bad. Why was it so hard to show the same level of emotional intelligence at home as it was work?
For me, I think it came down to priority. I want to be the same person in public (work) as I am in private (home), but it hasn’t always been that easy. I react the way I do at work because I have put value on my emotions that tie directly to my paycheck, career growth and maybe even part of my identity. At home, I often fail to put the same value on my emotions that tie to my spiritual growth and identity-as well as to my family’s. Call it materialism, idolatry-I’m not sure, but the fact of the matter is that it’s easier sometimes to place more emphasis on things that are passing (temporal) rather than things that are eternal.
I’m all for showing emotional intelligence in the professional world, but I know I’m not the only one that struggles with having the same level of EQ once I step into the home. Below are several traits that I’m working on within my home to match my enthusiasm with them in the work place. This is just a sampling and you might have others that you’d like to concentrate on. I listed intention first because it is one of the main characteristics that stuck with me. If you’re intentional about change in your home, amazing things will happen. You’ll find that with these you’re not only progressing at work, but you’re also making a huge impact right where it matters most-the home.
Intention: You can choose your path or you can have one by default. Default intention leads to living by other people’s standards, by the winds of change and most likely by being reactive instead of proactive. What purpose are you intentionally driving towards in your family? Determine now to break those chains of the past, stand in the gap and help your children navigate successfully through life.
Adaptive: Life is full of change and we always need to be flexible. We all have a tendency to get comfortable and resist the very things that will help us grow. Parents often fail to grow with their kids and with the times. Unfortunately their parenting style becomes irrelevant and fails to meet the needs of their changing kids. Commit to always grow through every stage of life. Is there an area in your life where you can be more adaptive?
Self-Awareness: We all have blind spots, but why is it that we often miss glaring and sometimes exaggerated tendencies and habits that affects our relationships negatively? It’s the boss that doesn’t realize that his criticizing is hurting productivity, the teacher who never sees the potential in her students or the parent who never accepts his child. Self-awareness is key to learning from our mistakes and shortcomings. It’s the voice that prompts “you should work on that“ or “you’re better than that.” Don’t be so focused on other people’s issues that you fail to be self-aware of what’s going on with you.
Catalyst: If there’s change to be made in your family than that’s up to you. Don’t be overwhelmed by your responsibility, but rather embrace the challenge. You have God given resources at your disposal to do the right thing, change course and affect your family forever. Break those destructive chains that have plagued your family and put the boundaries in place to raise the standard. You can be that catalyst for change if you’ll decide now that your family deserves better.
Resiliency: Many things in life can be disruptive and harmful, but we must not let those misfortunes cripple us from doing the right things. It’s the “just man” that falls seven times, but he rises the 8th. Life is hard sometimes and it’s tempting to check out and wonder whether it’s all worth it or not. Others, including your children, are counting on you to keep your hand to the plow no matter the difficulty. Even Jesus had to set his face like flint to weather the suffering ahead. Whatever you’re about to check out on or give up -it’s going to trickle down to your kids. They may not quit on the same things, but they’re going to remember that you gave up instead of getting back up and fighting for what’s right. Determine now that with God’s help you’re going to focus on being resilient!
So the question is how’s the emotional intelligence in your home? Maybe you didn’t identify as much with the ones I’m working on, but rather other attributes such as thick-skinned, inspiring, empathetic, optimism, self-control, cooperation, etc. would be more fitting. Whatever you strive to improve in the area of emotional intelligence; make it a priority to show these to the people you love and care about the most. The world is full of parents that have already given up, or don’t want to accept their responsibility. Don’t be one of those, but rather raise the standard of what you want for your family and hold yourself accountable to infuse emotional intelligence into your home.
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