“Know thyself” is the ancient inscription above the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, the site of the sacred oracle and the basis of great accomplishments. This truth can be explored and refined in developing your emotional intelligence (EQ), which was popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman.
Strengthening your EQ allows you to examine and evaluate your emotions and reactions. This self-knowledge helps you moderate your emotions, which leads to greater self-control. Furthermore, the development of your EQ, unlike your IQ, has endless opportunities for improvement. The process is more like a journey than a destination — and the more you focus on it, the more your EQ self-knowledge grows.
As your self-knowledge grows, you will begin to have greater empathy for others. You will better understand their emotional states and learn how you can modify your reactions to them with more positive results, which leads to better relationships. As this happens, your ability to manage yourself and your interactions with others becomes more attractive in social settings. You become known for your demeanor and discretion. People will look to you for leadership and advice.
As you can see, EQ could be quite advantageous for a financial advisor. In today’s business world, and certainly in the entrepreneurial world, it’s no longer, “Who you know,” that matters as much as, “Who knows you and what you’re known for.”
Develop your EQ like a bodybuilder builds muscles. Exercise your skills of self-knowledge every day by following a few simple daily habits:
- Ask yourself every morning, What’s going to make me happy today? and What could make me sad today?
- Write them down and then write what your reaction is going to be for each. Learn to pre-plot your reactions in a positive way.
- Think about the people you will meet today. How will you react to their actions or inactions? What strategies can you employ to change the mood or enhance the mood of others today?
- Think about your “why” and focus on the things you can do to further it by empowering others. You can learn more by watching Simon Sinek’s “The Golden Circle” on YouTube.
Besides strengthening personal relationships, building your EQ allows your ability to help others as a financial advisor shine through in your interactions with prospects, clients and your team. You’ll feel the difference in your personal and professional life.
Thomas Levasseur, of Dover, New Hampshire, USA, is a 33-year MDRT member and a Court of the Table member.
For more about the importance of managing emotions well:
- Read “How to build strong client bonds in stressful times” [MDRT members only]
- Watch “Facing emotional volatility: How to care for yourself and your clients” [MDRT members only]
- Watch “Transform difficult clients into prospects”