It was my wedding anniversary at the weekend. We had hoped to celebrate with a meal at our favourite restaurant, The Galleria. Living 100 miles away from nearest family members and having two primary school-age kids means that we very rarely get to go out as a couple. Our anniversary is the one time we really try to. Unfortunately, we weren't able to this year. Our usual babysitter was on holiday and although (for a short while) we thought we had found a compromise solution, it wasn't meant to be.
An emotionally intelligent way to handle this situation is to recognise how we felt and accept that it was disappointing. Then we interpretted why we felt this way...because we were missing out on a nice meal and being a couple (rather than Mum and Dad). So then we had a decision to make: be annoyed all night or find an alternative. Most people know what I fan I am of Steven Covey's Circle of Concern, and if you want to behave in an emotionally intelligent way, this is a great place to start. The chance of babysitters was gone. No point wishing it was different or hoping for a solution to fall from the sky. It was not within our circle of control. However, having a nice meal, just the two of us, was.
So, we took action.
- We popped to the local butchers, bought two fillet steaks and blew the dust off the Amarone.
- We fed the kids separately (we normally eat together as a family) and set them up with a film in the lounge.
- We got showered and put on nice clothes. I did my hair and make up.
- We had a nice meal, just the two us.
OK, it wasn't the evening we'd hoped for, but it WAS a nice evening.
It would have been easy to let our disappointment become the focus of our evening, but we didn't. We STILL wouldn't be going out, and we'd have been miserable too. However, many people do allow set backs to take all of their energy, but in the end, what is accomplished by that?
Helping people to take a more emotionally intelligent approach to work (and indeed life in general) can aid problem solving, decision making, teamwork and relationships as well as have a positive impact on tangible results. I'm not the most emotionally intelligent person I know by a long way, but I recognise when I'm behaving that way, and the benefits that it brings. You can raise awareness of Emotional Intelligence in your leaders and teams with our half-day training session. Why not take a look and think about how it could benefit you?