There is something powerful in sharing your own story. And I’m not only referring to sharing successes, accomplishments, or happy stories. There is a part of us that stores stories that are much more powerful and can transform others, their perspectives on their own lives, success, leadership, and who they can or can’t be.

Last week, I stood in front of more than 20 young exchange students and shared my own story. From the moment I walked into the room, I had a gut feeling that the next 3-hour workshop would be transformational for not only those amazing women but also for me. The topic of my workshop was to unpack emotional intelligence and show how emotions can become our allies in self-actualization, tapping into our deeper potential as female leaders and changemakers.

The moment I began sharing my own story about how emotions that many of us and our society labelled as negative, such as anxiety, fear, and panic attacks, became my biggest allies, I knew we would tap into much higher emotional intelligence in our discussions that day.

What I want to highlight is how becoming vulnerable and taking time and space to 1) allow the story to unfold in your life, and 2) then share it can transform not only the people around you but also you on a very deep and powerful level.

I’m going to share the five keys to unlocking the next level of your emotional intelligence. These keys are based on powerful takeaways from the transformational discussions I facilitated for those 20+ young women during my workshop.

Five keys to unlocking the next level of your emotional intelligence as a leader:

The first key is to share your story. Yes, whatever your story is right now, especially the dark and hidden aspects of you, which modern psychology refers to as the shadow side, will have the strongest and most transformational effect on people around you. By sharing your true and vulnerable self, 1) you become a human being – people can relate to you, and 2) people can see parts of themselves in your story, which is empowering because if you did it, they can too!

The second key is to have quality time with yourself every single day, even if it is only 5 minutes to check in with yourself and ask how you are doing right now. It is crucial to notice what is alive in you without needing to fix or change anything or label it as good or bad/positive or negative. As leaders and changemakers, it is essential to connect with ourselves repeatedly and ask if the direction we are moving forward in is what we want. Without this connection, our actions, strategies, and lives become meaningless.

The third key is to understand that there isn’t anything we can define as negative, especially when it comes to emotions. They are what they are. This key is crucial to understand that we have a wide range of different emotions, some of which are easier for us to experience than others. The emotions that our modern society defines as negative (e.g., fear, frustration, anger, sadness, numbness, loneliness) have the same right to exist as the other end of the spectrum, such as happiness and joy. Take a moment to think about how you label emotions and see if there is a chance for you to see that the “negative” ones are here to serve you on a deeper level.

The fourth key is to be brilliant and imperfect at the same time. This is a commitment I always share during my workshops, and it comes from the transformational methodology by Dr. Claire Zammit from the Women’s Center Institute for Coaching, Training, and Leadership. It is all about showing up imperfectly, with an open mindset and curiosity, as only then can you unlock your deeper brilliance. This is fundamental for sustainability leaders and changemakers.

The fifth key

This was repeated several times in my closing session after the 3-hour workshop on the next level of emotional intelligence for leaders.

Check-in with your physical body and see what emotions are still stored there and are waiting for you to unpack them. However, at the same time, do it fully from the self that lives in your mind, which is the adult resourceful self. This part of you that can witness whatever is stored in your body and can allow for these emotions to be felt, expressed and integrated.

This last key is the effect of a Power Practice, which I share during the Workshop: EQ Leadership Mastery. There is much more to unpack about this. 

but for now I invite you to just think for yourself:

how can I create space to feel the feelings in my physical body not through naming them but sensing them as they arise in me? 

In conclusion, sharing our own stories, having quality time with ourselves, understanding the value of all emotions, showing up imperfectly, and checking in with our physical bodies are the keys to unlocking the next level of emotional intelligence as a leader.

If you’re interested in learning more and bringing this transformation workshop: EQ Leadership Mastery to your organisation or your team, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected].  I’m happy to have a conversation with you and see how I could serve you and your team in unpacking the next level of emotional intelligence.