I hope you’ll enjoy this new blog series by Angie Winn, who does leadership and ministry development for us. It will explore the more in-depth factors that urban leaders must face — not to mention the kinds of things that affect us all!                – Danny

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Do you ever find yourself saying something that you wish you could put back in your mouth?  Or experience a fit of rage on the road towards a driver?  Or go silent when someone is speaking to you and a deep nerve is hit in your soul? These are what are called Low EQ moments.

Welcome to Emotional Intelligence.  Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize your own emotions and their responses, manage your responses, be aware of emotions in others, and manage your relationships well.  Did you know that success in careers and relationships requires 80% emotional intelligence and only 20% cognitive intelligence?  In other words, being “smart” is not just about how much you know, but how well you know yourself, seek to know others, and behave!

The great news is that although research shows that you cannot significantly develop IQ (cognitive intelligence) after the age of 18, you can develop your EQ (emotional intelligence) all of your life.  The one critical factor in developing EQ is self-awareness You must spend time knowing yourself, what triggers you, the deep cause of these triggers, and then either be able to eliminate them as triggers or change your reaction.

So many of our triggers are idolatry – the need to feel secure, deep fears, pride, the need to be right, the need for approval, etc.  On the surface, many of the things that “set us off” are really not worthy of the reaction we give them. But there is something deep inside that is struck, and we must identify what that is and allow God to pour truth and light on it.  God may be desiring to heal something in us that is a trigger, or simply show us that we have held on to things from our past that we need to let go.

Emotional Intelligence is healthy for all of us, but essential for successful leadership across any career. In the context of our urban ministry partners who may feel triggered ten times a day in their ministry or neighborhood, it can distinguish between burnout and thriving.

So next time you are inclined to “insert foot into mouth,” or you scare your children on the road as they see a new side of you, take the time to reflect what is really going on.   Pray that God will reveal what is struck inside of you, or what needs to be addressed.  And then you can be on the road to Hi EQ!

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