A recent Harvard study concluded that 85% of one’s success in the workplace can be attributed to soft skills and only 15% to technical skills. That’s why it’s so critically important for you to have a high level of Emotional and Social Intelligence.
In my last two Tuesday Tips, I gave you 4 of the 6 things that Emotionally and Socially Intelligent people do differently than others. Let’s go on to the last two elements.
► 5. Taking constructive risks.
If you want more of ANYTHING … a more productive team at work, a bigger market share in your industry, a stronger marriage, a healthier body, or ANYTHING else …you can’t keep on doing what you have been doing. You’ve got to leave your comfort zone. You’ve got to do something different.
You have to take a risk.
The question is, “Do you have what it takes?” Emotionally and Socially Intelligent people do.
Let’s find out. Take a moment to take the following quiz. For each of the 19 paired alternatives, circle the alternative that is MORE like you … alternative A or alternative B.
1a. I can’t help the way I am.
1b. I can change who I am.
2a. I get by.
2b. I get ahead.
3a. I feel stuck much of the time.
3b. I feel excited much of the time.
4a. I play it safe.
4b. I go for it.
5a. I avoid things where I might fail.
5b. I see failure as part of the learning process.
6a. I need the approval of others.
6b. I want the approval of others.
7a. I have regrets for the opportunities I didn’t pursue.
7b. I have few regrets, for I pursued most of the opportunities I thought were important.
8a. I have a lot of self-doubt.
8b. I have a lot of self-confidence.
9a. I feel empty.
9b. I feel fulfilled.
10a. I think the chances of starting my own business and becoming wealthy are not as good as they used to be.
10b. I think there is more opportunity than ever before to start from scratch and become financially successful.
11a. I would rather “fit in” with the group than rock the boat to get my way.
11b. I am a goal setter and a goal achiever; so I go for what I want.
12a. There is not much I can do to determine how long I will live. When my time is up, it’s up.
12b. I can influence how long I live by how well I take care of myself.
13a. Getting ahead is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. It isn’t what you know but who you know.
13b. Moving up in a company is largely determined by personal qualities such as ambition, ability, effort, and knowledge.
14a. I can’t change my life. I am pinned in by obligations and outside influences.
14b. I can change my life by changing my attitudes and taking some risks.
15a. I am afraid of making a fool of myself.
15b. I’m proud of myself for having the courage to try new things.
16a. It’s important for me to stay out of trouble.
16b. It’s important for me to make a difference in the world.
17a. To a great extent, making money is a matter of getting the right breaks.
17b. Becoming financially independent is a matter of planning, hard work, and appropriate risk taking.
18a. My success or lack of success is pretty much a case of luck. In life you get what you get.
18b. My progress in life is largely a result of my own effort and abilities. Luck has little to do with it.
19a. Other people’s opinions are very important to me. When making decisions I carefully consider the impact my actions would have on others.
19b. When making decisions, it’s more important to do what I think is best than worry about what others might think.
To score your quiz, count the number of A’s you circled and the number of B’s you circled.
If you circled more A’s, you’re more of a Risk Avoider. You’re somewhat trapped in a self-defeating mind trap and probably playing it too safe. Your chances of achieving greater success in any part of your personal and professional lives are somewhat diminished.
If you circled more B’s, you’re more of a Risk Taker. You’ve got a mental outlook that is keeping you open to new possibilities. So you take thoughtful, considered, constructive risks as needed.
I hope you got a score that you like and that is working for you. If not, it is very possible to enhance your score.
Finally, the 6th thing that Emotionally and Socially Intelligent people do … and so can you is…
► 6. Moving beyond “could have done it” to “did it.”
Lots of people could achieve so much more. They have all the education and knowledge they need, but they don’t have Emotional Intelligence to put that knowledge to work.
For example, shortly after he returned from discovering the Americas, a group of people held a big banquet for Christopher Columbus. After dinner, one of the guests challenged Columbus by saying, “Anyone could have found the Americas,” and said that Columbus had no “special skills to help him achieve his historical find.”
Columbus picked up a hard-boiled egg from the table and asked the gentleman who had challenged him to balance the egg on its narrow end. The man tried unsuccessfully and pretty soon the entire party had joined in. Nobody could do it.
Finally, after everyone agreed it was an impossible task, Columbus took the egg, cracked the tip of it slightly, and flattened out the narrow end a little. Then, he easily balanced the egg on the table. Of course, there was an uproar, as all the guests claimed that any one of them could have also tapped the top of the egg to balance it.
Columbus responded, saying of course any one of them could have done it. But none of them did it. He said the same thing could be said about discovering the Americas. There may have been other people who could have found the Americas, but none of them actually used their knowledge and did it.
It is my wish that you are moving or have moved beyond the “could have done it” phases of life to experiencing the actual “doing it” on a consistent basis.