3 Steps to Engage Your EI (Courtesy of Mae West)

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In this post I’m sharing 3 steps to engage your EI based on lessons learned from Mae West.  Mae West was a character; born Mary Jane West in 1863 to a vaudeville actress mother and prize fighter father, she discovered her strengths at an early age.  Dancing at age 5, she knew she loved to entertain people. 

She got her big break when she improvised the script and let her true character, the provocative Mae West, shine through. This was not normally done and in order to do this she had to take a risk and go out on her own.

Going on to write her own plays and movies gave her control over her future roles. She invested well, controlled her career and was worth over 10 million dollars when she died in her late eighties. All of this was almost unheard of, for women, during her time.

She was true to her unique set of values regardless of the consequences. 

Her style of humor was very risqué during that time and was often censored, and yet, she found a way to assert herself by using innuendo and witty one liners to entertain. She understood the value of being true to herself while also respecting other people.

One of her quotes offers up a simple explanation of what emotional intelligence (Ei) looks like in action.

It isn’t what I do, but how I do it. It isn’t what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it.   Mae West

Ei is said to be the best predictor of success, however, Ei can only take you places when you put it in gear.

3 Steps to Engage Your Ei

1) Do not compare you to others.  Have a strong sense of your strengths, weaknesses and areas you need to improve; without this, comparing yourself becomes the way to measure how you are doing.  Comparisons erode your confidence. People with strong Ei know that self regard and confidence is an inside job and one of your strengths is knowing what you are really good at and what you are not and being ok with both.

I don’t like myself, I am crazy about myself.   Mae West

2) Manage your stress and stay away from a problem centered focus. People with strong Ei know that where their attention goes, their emotions flow. Stress and overwhelm are signs you are in a fight or flight mode and the stress reaction is in charge – not you. This will put you in a problem focus and short circuit your ability to think about possibilities. Manage your stress, every day.

A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.   Mae West

3) Stay in the present. Do you spend time going over old conversations or scenarios? Are you stuck in a grudge about what someone did? Thinking only about what went wrong? With a strong Ei, you learn from the past and then move on, closing the door, because opportunities are ahead of you. This is easier with emotional flexibility and optimism.

Learning to engage these skills within EI takes time and practice. We have several ways you can develop your EI, so you can be the leader people love to follow.

Check out the product below. It is a set of exercises you can use with you and your team, set up in a course format, making it easy to apply them.

Where to next?

Dr. Cynthia Howard

Executive Coach  Performance Consultant  LSSBB

It takes resilience and agility to stay focused in these disruptive times. We want to help you get ahead of the challenges in this digital age with short practical tips. Go forward. Be your best

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