After my niece's wedding in Minnesota, we were able to stay in town an extra day. Our nephews invited us to play Whirlyball, a game which we had never heard of. It is a combination of bumper cars, jailai and basketball. Two teams of five all riding in bumper cars compete to score points by shooting a plastic ball from a jailai like scoop at a basketball backboard while the other team is trying to bump them. It is a hilariously fun game.
We liked it so much we gave our son and his wife a Whirly ball party for Christmas. (The only Whirlyball facility in Texas is near their house in Dallas.) While visiting them last weekend at their home, we used the gift card to play the game with a group, including our Houston friends' adult kids. A good time was had by all. We went out for snacks and brews after at a local restaurant/bar. Our group of ten was seated at a long rectangular table. It was easy to talk to those next to you, but not very easy - if at all - to communicate with those at the opposite end of the table. My husband, our son and his wife were seated near the middle. We were talking with the young ladies that all worked together at one end of the table, and I noticed the three guys at the other end of the table who didn't know each other before that day were a bit quiet. I thought I should get up and go talk to them, but didn't at the time.
A while later I noticed my son had moved to the opposite end of the table and was engaged in a lively conversation with the guys. I didn't know if it was an intentional move or he just happened to go to the other end for some other reason - but I noted it and planned to point it out to him later.
When I did mention it to him, that I noticed his kind act, he said it was intentional. He noticed they were kind of quiet and moved to sit with them to engage and enjoy them more.
It was a beautiful example of Emotional Intelligence (EI) in action. EI - the awareness of feelings and emotions in yourself and others and taking appropriate action to manage them effectively. EI is made up of four competencies -
Tips for self awareness and management include -
observe your feelings - keep a journal
think about why you behave the way you do
spot your emotions/behaviors in tv and movie characters
breathe or count to ten before reacting or responding to an event
pay attention to and take control of your self talk
connect with an outside observer of your behaviors as a witness and sounding board
Tips for social awareness and management include -
pay attention to body language
people watch your family or co-workers and note observations
try to step into the shoes of others
be curious - test assumptions
acknowledge others' feelings
take action to build trust
Tapping into these areas of life could have the most positive impact on your effectiveness in your personal and professional life. Not doing anything is a risk I don't recommend you take.
Making the changes - a small risk with a major payback! Check your EI out - with free on-line assessments, books or partner with me to assess and work on your skills.