Is stress a constant part of your life as an entrepreneur?
How Emotional Intelligence can be a powerful tool to help you deal with your stress.
Entrepreneurs are passionate, action-oriented individuals who can identify potential business opportunities and are willing to risk everything to make their dreams become a reality. They are usually risk-takers, optimists, have a strong sense of urgency, and possess a lot of grit to focus on their long-term objectives and pursue their goals despite the setbacks. In this blog post, we will discuss how emotional intelligence, particularly self-awareness, can be a differential both in your business and personal life as an entrepreneur.
Staying Calm Under Pressure
Every day is a new challenge for entrepreneurs, and a particularly stressful area is relationship building. You will encounter individuals who will criticize and look down on you, challenge your ideas, and doubt your entrepreneurial capacity. In contrast, there will be individuals who will complement and champion you and give you honest and sincere feedback to help you continue on your entrepreneurship journey. You need to navigate these challenging circumstances and learn from the different people you encounter. You can only do that if you understand your emotions, keep your cool, and manage your stress levels. When you can look at a situation without being immersed in strong emotions, you can more clearly identify what lessons to learn from each situation or problem you encounter and how you can leverage your business. To do that, entrepreneurs need to invest in self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the ability to accurately recognize our emotions when they happen and understand our tendencies to respond to different people and situations. It helps us become aware of how our feelings, emotions, traits, and behaviors control us. Entrepreneurs need to develop the ability to be mindful of their reactions, especially in situations where they are under pressure. People frequently identify patterns of behavior when they pay attention to their reactions. So, becoming aware of our emotions is the first step. A second step is observing the impact of your emotions on your performance. How are your productivity and creativity levels affected when you are under stress? A third step is recognizing how your behavior affects other people and how others influence your emotional state. Finally, admitting your positive and negative biases will also help you become more self-aware. Recognizing the factors that trigger positive and negative emotions is an essential first step towards managing your emotions better and achieving your business objectives when dealing with different kinds of people.
Professor Diana Bilimoria, from Case Western University, suggests a series of initiatives that will help us navigate stressful situations. As an entrepreneur, you should consider the following:
Acknowledge your emotions and feelings.
Analyze stressful situations from a different perspective.
Maintain a "balcony view" of the situation so that you are not carried away by just one side of the story. You need to be able to see the whole picture.
Learn to listen without becoming defensive or taking things personally. Develop thicker skin and toughen up!
The more self-aware we are and the more we understand our emotions, strengths, and vulnerabilities, the more we will maximize the business opportunities we are faced with on our entrepreneurial journey.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article. If you want to learn more, our 5-module Emotional Intelligence Master Class for practitioners contains all the materials you'll need to become an emotional intelligence expert and strengthen your entrepreneurial skills. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Vera Alves is the Chief Consulting Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience in leadership development and business management. With over 12 years of experience as a C-suite executive, Vera is highly skilled in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, operations management, organizational behavior, and change management. She possesses highly developed communication, training, and linguistic skills reflective of a very strong and charismatic leadership style.
 Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional Intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.  Bilimoria, D. (2016). Introduction to Emotional Intelligence. Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western University.