We all have those moments when we react out of frustration. Afterwards, we sometimes say: That’s not who I want to be. Emotional intelligence can help you live a life of authentic connection, with others and with your bigger purpose, and be your best self more often.
That’s why at Six Seconds, our vision is one billion people practicing the skills of emotional intelligence by 2039. And to help with that, I asked our world-wide network of certified practitioners: What would you recommend for people to live a more purpose driven life with EQ?
How to Live Meaningfully with EQ: 15+ Tips for a Purpose Driven Life
Some favorite practical tips from the global EQ community
What would you recommend for people to practice EQ in the Give Yourself pursuit?
The answers have been organized based on the Six Seconds Model of Emotional Intelligence, where the first step is to be more aware, the second step is to be more intentional, and the last step is to be more purposeful. Below are tips related to this last step – connecting with your overarching purpose and using empathy to purposefully connect with people. We call this step Give Yourself because you are focused outwardly on how you contribute to people and the world around you. There are two skills that help you do so:
Pursue Noble Goals – Connecting your every day actions with your overall sense of purpose.
Increase Empathy – Using empathy to meaningfully connect with others.
3 Essential Tips for a Purpose Driven Life
Connecting with your bigger purpose
When stressed or making difficult decisions, focus on a longer timeline. What will matter in a year? Five years? 20?Michael Miller
Keep asking, “Why?” and look more deeply at the underlying intention.Joshua Freedman
“Why is this important?” and “Why are we prioritizing this?” are two good questions. For example, in a meeting, a proposal will come up, and often discussions focus on practicalities, “when can we do this,” or “who will lead this.” The first question should be, “Why are we doing this?” When people are aligned on the purpose, creativity and energy come easily.
For me, it’s compelling to think about Noble Goals, the bedrock of what your life is about.Yoshi Newman
Emotional intelligence is practicing an awareness of the choices we make and asking, “Is this aligned with my Noble Goal?” It’s a big, big question that calls us to break it down and be more aware, more sensitive. Simplistically, that’s emotional intelligence.
3 Essential Tips for a Purpose Driven Life
Connecting with others with empathy
Empathy begins with being a good and genuinely interested listener. Develop deep listening skills. Seek to sense underlying feelings rather than the words being spoken.Dexter Valles
Let yourself get closer to others. Share a little more of yourself, and ask questions that are a little more personal. Listen without judging and see what you discover.Konstantinos Mougios
For more on the art of going deeper, read Joshua Freedman’s article, How to Understand People: Ask, Listen, and Get Real.
Authentic appreciation. Give feedback to those in your world based on what it took of them to do something versus the result itself.Carolyn Meacher
For example, say “That was very brave of you,” or, “I know that was a big sacrifice for you,” or, “your persistence made the difference here,” or, “your creativity in solving this was so helpful.” Appreciate the effort regardless of the outcome.
Practice thinking about the context from which other people are experiencing this moment.
Like Saint Francis said, seek not so much to be understood, as to understand. They are probably doing their best with what they know.
Get comfortable with silence.
Write your own retirement or funeral speech. What is it that you want to be remembered for? What would really have meaning for you?
Then, use this every day: Pay attention to what you really care about. What do you want to contribute to the world?
Leaders remember: Empathy is the difference between compliance and commitment.
When a person starts venting to you about another person, focus not only on the words, but the feelings behind the words and gently ask about these.
For example, a person comes up to me and says, “Geez, I can’t believe he asked me to do all of that extra work for this project! I can’t get it all done!” I might say, “It sounds like that might be overwhelming to you,” and give the person a chance to respond. Whether or not you were right about the feelings, you’ll create dialogue that builds relationships and can help the person move beyond feeling stuck.
Notice your feelings now, and also consider your larger goals, your Noble Goal.
For example if I feel angry or irritated, then I remind myself of my larger purpose, and consider: Are these feelings going to help me achieve it? Then automatically my feelings start to change, and I see a lot of new options to navigate my emotions.
Notice the layers of empathy and how you empathize differently with different people.
- What categories of people are easiest? (Usually children who are innocent or older people who need others)
- Which people are the hardest? (People who have broken our trust, or people close to us where we hold some resentment)
- What gets in the way of your empathy? How can you take steps to change this? Why would this be important to you?
Commit to engaging every day in a compassionate action. It can be a small act or a large one, simple or complex, but it is going outside of yourself to assist another in need.
Minimize assumptions about others; these preconceptions often lead to misconceptions.
Ask questions, and listen for the story beneath or behind the story. Imagine the background, what’s below the surface, and the context from where they come.
My current step for practicing EQ: I am exercising gratitude; each day I am focusing people for whom I am grateful, and thinking about some things they have done.
Latest posts by Michael Miller (see all)
- How to Be More Empathetic - July 20, 2017
- The Fruits of Collaboration: Organic Farmers Use Six Seconds’ Tools to Work Together More Effectively - July 10, 2017
- What Is a Sociogram? A Leadership Tool Worth Knowing About - July 3, 2017