5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Can Help You Overcome Fear
Fear can cripple performance.
We’ve all experienced this – with attacks of nerves before public speaking, appearing on camera, or before a big sports final, for instance.
But fear also strikes in less obvious ways that creep up on you. In the workplace, an underlying fear of failure may handicap you from really showing your true colours; it may prevent you from being the great salesperson you want to be or from achieving the promotion you dreamed of.
Or it may simply lead to inactivity, as in when you are ‘gripped by fear’.
Fear rarely produces any positive outcomes. It activates the most primitive parts of our brain and comes from the emotional self rather than the rational self. It produces a stress response that can allow irrational, emotion-driven factors to influence our decision making and behaviour when we can least afford them to.
Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is associated with an absence of fear – or at least having a strong controlling influence upon it.
Why is this?
Many of the characteristics of emotional intelligence produce responses associated with the ‘higher thinking’ aspects of the brain rather than activating primitive stress responses that can derail performance.
Therefore, we are better able to handle potentially difficult, stressful, or high-pressure situations with clarity and equanimity rather than through a fog of emotion.
Here are five ways in particular that emotional intelligence can help you overcome fear…
- By helping you understand your emotions
Emotionally intelligent people are self-aware. They have taken the time to understand their own emotions and how their feelings affect their thoughts, reactions, and general behaviour.
They recognise their emotions when they are triggered and are able to label them, which can reduce their intensity.
If you’re familiar with something, you are less fearful of it as you know what to expect, By being able to recognise emotions, there are fewer surprises; you are more prepared for them and can take counter-action against their effects.
This is empowering, bringing insight into yourself, as well as other people and the situations around you; which all helps to reduce the element of fear of the ‘unknown’.
- By clearly identifying your strengths and weaknesses
Emotionally intelligent people are also able to accurately self-assess.
This means that they are aware of their strengths and weaknesses; they know what they are capable of and what their limitations are.
This again is empowering, as they can instinctively engineer situations that they are comfortable with. They are not surprised nor intimidated by failure as they understand their limiting factors; instead they look for situations where they can apply their strengths.
- By raising confidence in your own ability
Self-confidence is another characteristic that helps to reduce the element of fear.
People with high emotional intelligence know that they are well-equipped to meet life’s challenges. They are self-determining, purpose-driven, resilient, tenacious, and not put off by obstacles in their path.
They have the personal power not to shrink away from challenges. They are not gripped by inaction. Instead, they will meet challenge (and fear) head on and be confident in overcoming it.
- By helping you stay calm under pressure
The best leaders share the ability to stay calm under pressure and keep emotions in check. This is a sign of ability to control behaviour and ‘manage themselves’ effectively – and comes from the confidence resulting from good self-awareness.
Practices like meditation and making time for self-reflection lead to higher emotional intelligence; this helps to avoid situations where strong emotions and impulses take over and lead to poor decisions being made.
- By helping you remain positive
Another typical quality of emotionally intelligent people is positivity. They do not get down in the dumps about things and can always see the positive side – even in adversity. This is why they usually make good leaders, able to rally the troops in times of hardship.
Fear generally produces negative results because it has us in a ‘fight or flight’ mentality that may have been great for the jungle but is rarely great for the workplace.
Such positivity means we are able to rationally talk ourselves out of fear and remain upbeat to find solutions to problems.
The secret to overcoming fear is to not sit and let it gestate. It takes action. If you are wondering what type of action, then start by investing in your own emotional intelligence.
If you are able to improve your emotional intelligence, there is no reason why you can’t also become master of your fears.
Do you need guidance on improving your personal emotional intelligence or raising EQ within your organisation? Email me at: email@example.com