There is nothing like working extremely hard to get a promotion only to find out that you have been passed over for the less-qualified person, we will call her Jessie, who is barely at work, and rarely on time. Why is Jessie always winning, while it seems like you are working your butt off doing the best work?
Jessie may not be smart IQ-wise, but she has a higher EQ than you. So she gets all the cool opportunities without really trying. In life, it is rarely the people who have a high IQ, read: qualified, that get the best jobs, or the raise at work. These things go to the most-connected, or most-influential, person in the room. And with a few tweaks in thinking, that can be you.
Emotional Quotient, or EQ, as defined by Psych Central, is the ability to understand other people, understand what motivates them, and how to properly work with them. Basically, it is the secret sauce that gets well-connected people promotions at work, online opportunities, and free products. EQ is what determines your likeability. It does not matter how qualified you are, if no one likes you, or remember you exist, you will always be picked last.
So, the next, and most obvious question is, how do you increase your EQ?
EQ is broken down into five categories, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Balancing all will not only make you a well-rounded individual, they will guarantee you are in the forefront of people's minds.
In this article, I am not even going to attempt to challenge you to improve on each one. To kill it at work, and in life, there are three that can be easily hacked to help you win in daily life. Pick your favorite from the ones below and go live your best life.
First, confidence is key. This is self-awareness.
Naturally as women, we are often taught that confidence, and having self-worth, are unattractive in the workplace. This leads to us dumbing ourselves down, watering-down our resumes, and staying silent when opportunities ask. No one wants to be That Person™, right?
This mentality will keep you from landing that next opportunity you want. It will have you focusing on becoming more and more qualified instead of focusing on the one skill that matters: confidence.
Gaining confidence is a slow grind. And, once you start improving your confidence, you will find that self-doubt rears its head more often that before. So until you can defeat self-doubt once and for all, the key is to hack your mindset using daily affirmations. You are what you think. If you believe yourself to be unqualified, you are. It is just that simple.
Second, start setting goals. This is the motivation portion of EQ.
Have you ever been in a situation where you said yes to something that seemed like an opportunity on the surface when it turned out to be the worst decision you could have possibly made? This happens when you are not laser-focused on your end goal.
If you have correctly mapped out your goals you will be able to spot which opportunities are a waste of time and which are truly doors opening. Good goals have end dates, measurements for success, and task lists.
For example, it is not enough to say you want to be a writer for Forbes. When do you want to write for them? If the answer is within the next year, which publications can you write for now that will add to your credibility after a years time? In three months, how will you know if you are on the right track? What are your success indicators?
Always keep your goal in mind and never stop working toward it. You never know when an opportunity will present itself, and you never know who is watching you work.
The third, and final, portion of EQ to work on is social skills.
To be quite honest, social skills can be an overwhelming topic and it is often confused with popularity, or being extroverted. But you don't have to be popular to get the raise. The key is to be like-able. There are a few easy ways to be like-able that can help you stay in people's mind. If they remember you, they are more like to recommend you for any opportunities that come your way.
Follow up with people after you meet them.
Send out a five dollar gift card to a person in your contact list, each week
Feature a follower on your Instagram, or Website, each week.
Reach out to a person you have not spoken to in a while
Make a commitment to work on at least one of these facets of EQ this week and see how it gets you noticed. Over time, I guarantee to you luck will find you and you will gain more opportunities. You got this. Now go create your own luck.
Brittany Melton is a logo and web designer of 11 years. She has worked corporately for brands such as BMW, the University of Alabama, and Target. She has been featured in Quirktastic, Search Engine Journal, and Madame Noir, just to name a few. Brittany launched her first successful business on Etsy in 2012. After hitting a few hundred sales and being featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, she used her design skills from the corporate world to venture out on her own. Ever since then, she's been working full-time as a freelance designer helping new creatives launch their brands and businesses. Twitter: @xobritdear Instagram: @xobritdear