I had the chance to chat with Sarah Farris, emotional intelligence and energy expert, a few weeks ago. As the Founder & Principal of Vibe Elevated, Sarah is dedicated to helping people develop greater emotional awareness and resilience in the workplace and beyond.
Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is a set of skills and behaviors, comprised of the following: self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and social skills. Emotional intelligence is important because a higher EQ has been proven to lead to higher levels of productivity, higher job satisfaction, and greater employee retention. Generally, our emotions dictate our actions. When you focus on increasing your EQ, one can become better at overseeing and controlling emotions as well as regulating how one chooses to respond.
Do those with higher EQ have an advantage in the workplace? And if so, is EQ something that can be developed?
“That’s definitely true. People with higher emotional intelligence make on average $29,000 more per year, compared to those with lower levels of emotional intelligence. Luckily, as a soft skill, EQ can absolutely be developed. In a world where we are seeing increased automation with AI and machine learning, it’s pretty evident that what we’ll be really yearning for is human connection. At the end of the day, people want to be seen and heard. It’s not enough just to do a good job. You need to go that extra mile to get ahead of your competition.”
What do you think of this idea of “female intuition”? Do women actually have stronger intuition than men?
“I think we all have intuition, regardless of gender. I think a lot of it depends on the environment we’re raised in. As women, we are biologically programmed to bear and raise children. So there’s this part of us that needs to be super tuned in to what’s happening in order to accurately assess risk. I think we as women have more natural opportunities to engage with our intuition and develop our intuition.”
"People with higher emotional intelligence make on average $29,000 more per year, compared to those with lower levels of emotional intelligence."
I think those in more analytic or quant-centric professions often struggle to use and trust intuition as part of their decision making process. Do you have any advice for when your intuition and the implied facts are pulling you in two different directions?
“Give yourself time and explore the 'what-if'. Mentally explore the options and notice what comes up. You might be entertaining an idea that on paper doesn’t really make sense, but maybe you’re super excited about it - that’s your body giving you cues. For example, deciding between two job offers - one of them might have a higher salary and looks better on paper, but if you feel more excited and energized about the other one, there’s something to be said about that.”
"Think of your intuition as a muscle. The more you use it, the better it gets."
What are a few ways someone can get started in developing and honing their EQ & intuition?
Do small check-ins with yourself.
“The first step is to be aware of your own emotional state and setting yourself up for success. Ask yourself the question “how am I feeling right now?”. It’s such a simple question but it gets our brains in the habit of doing an assessment in what’s happening emotionally and energetically. This allows us to be more proactive about the decisions that we’re making. For example, if I check in with myself in the morning and realize I’m feeling really overwhelmed and stressed, maybe I look at the rest of my day and see if there’s something I can take off my plate to set myself up for a better day. Or if I’m feeling a bit agitated, then maybe I build in a 2 second buffer before responding in my interactions that day.”
Start practicing using your intuition in small doses.
“I think of your intuition as a muscle. The more you use it, the better it gets. If you never use your intuition at all and then suddenly rely on it to make a big life-changing decision, it’s probably not going to go so well for you. It’s a little like waking up one morning and then deciding to run a marathon that day without any prior training. I would start practicing using your intuition and gut in small doses or low risk situations. It sounds silly but things like, 'what should I eat for lunch?'. The more you use it, the better you become at it.”
Be aware of your surroundings.
“When we talk about EQ, a lot of people assume it’s a lot about the self. It’s very easy to get really in your head about your own needs and your own work. It can be really helpful to get yourself out of your head and focus on the person in front of you instead. Evaluate what you’re picking up on and how you’re responding to the situation in front of you, and use that to help inform the way you’re leading the conversation.”
Learn more about Sarah and working with her at https://www.vibeelevated.com/.