The world can be changed one person at a time, and it all starts with asking yourself one question: Who are you?
It’s certainly easier said than done, but the impact is immeasurable when you take the steps to identify who you are and ultimately stand up for what you believe in with true conviction.
I believe there are two ways for you to continually strengthen your ability to know who you are:
1. Practice emotional intelligence.
2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Practice Emotional Intelligence
Growing up around hate, discrimination and immoral thoughts is the norm for many of us, but we all have the choice to accept or deny those beliefs. And those who choose the latter path are the ones who put themselves in the driver’s seat of life.
The strongest, most powerful leaders that I have the opportunity to work with understand exactly who they are and the purpose behind why they do what they do.
For example, great leaders show up and consistently take the time to help you think through how to solve a problem or what to say when one of your accounts is giving you trouble. They always seem to have the answers and can help you step back and look at your situation through a different lens.
Their ability to do this isn’t because they have perfect lives free of stressful situations. Instead, it’s due to their immense emotional intelligence. Great leaders choose how they respond when they show up at the office or walk through your door, regardless of their current situation.
Maybe they have outstanding accounts payable that are impacting their ability to cover payroll this week. Maybe the company just lost a major deal that hasn’t been announced. Maybe they are having personal issues at home and haven’t slept in days.
Whatever it may be, they are choosing to show up and be present with you when they could choose to allow the noise around them to bring you down.
They have the internal confidence to know how to respond.
Having strong emotional intelligence takes practice just like anything else. And learning to know who you are isn’t something that happens overnight — it comes with practice.
This may seem simple, but here are three consistent questions to ask yourself to continually strengthen your own emotional intelligence.
1. Who are YOU?
2. Are you clear on your purpose?
3. Are you recognizing the daily moments when you can choose the way you respond to adversity?
Another great way to learn how to answer question No. 1 is to put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
If you make yourself uncomfortable in your thoughts, you will become uncomfortable in your daily actions, and that is how you grow.
A great way to immediately start practicing this is to think back to the last book you read.
• What compelling takeaway did you learn that is way outside your comfort zone?
• Did you implement that lesson? Why or why not?
Every interaction, whether in person or through a book, is an opportunity to help you get to your next level. Taking the lessons learned from others’ successes and applying those to your life pushes your limits.
For example, I recently read a new book where the author discussed the concept of the “audacity to reach out.” This concept hit home for me and is a perfect example of how someone can get outside their comfort zone by simply having the audacity to reach out to someone new every day.
Whether you’re prospecting for a new business venture, connecting with old friends or hunting for a new job, having the audacity to reach out is something that will help you learn more about who you are and what your capabilities are.
Most people think there is a secret recipe for success when frankly, it really just comes from actions as simple as reaching out and asking. It’s a fantastic way to step outside of your comfort zone.
You alone are writing your story one day at a time based on your belief system, which will ultimately inform your legacy and define the impact you have on this world.
The compound effect of this daily journey of practicing emotional intelligence and constantly pressing past your comfort limits will have immeasurable results on your success and, most importantly, help you continually define who you are.
Are you willing to take control of your actions, even when it isn’t comfortable or convenient?