Stephen Scoggins’ story was one of the humblest beginnings. He was sleeping in a borrowed car at the time he started his construction company. He hoped and prayed for a breakthrough, and today, his company is nearing a nine-figure valuation. His way of paying it forward is through The Journey Principles Institute, which exists to help people break free and become unstoppable in every area of their lives and businesses.
EQ is perhaps the most important indicator for a person’s success. It’s what makes you able to connect with others, express yourself well, sell effectively, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. That’s why you need to increase your emotional intelligence.
What is EQ?
The term Emotional Intelligence, a.k.a. EQ originally came from psychologists Mayer and Salovey. It’s the awareness of your emotions and those of others, and the ability to manage them. Mayer and Salovey believed it was related to the following traits:
Self-Awareness – Your knowledge of your thoughts, strengths, weaknesses, blindspots, habits, and personality.
Self-Regulation – The ability to control your emotions in a range of situations.
Self-Motivation – Your ability to align your motivations with those of a team or community.
Empathy – Your ability to experience and validate the emotional values of others.
Why Does EQ Matter So Much?
Up to 90% of the world’s top performers in business demonstrate high levels of EQ.
Recently I had to turn down a team member for a promotion that they’d repeatedly asked for. This person was loyal, reliable, and good at their job. So why didn’t I promote them?
The answer: no one wanted to follow them. This person came across as rash, disagreeable, and had a dictatorial style of leadership. In other words, they lacked emotional intelligence, particularly empathy and self-regulation. They were very knowledgeable and sharp, but people seldom care how much you know until they know how much you care.
This is a prime example of how shortcomings in emotional intelligence can hinder you. It was one thing that they were skilled in their position, but I had to turn them down for leadership because their frustrations would’ve put a burden on everyone underneath them.
“People seldom care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Since then, this person has made significant improvements in their EQ, and I’m very proud of them for that. However, had I not said anything, this person may have never become aware of the true source of their professional setbacks. This is where most people are today. They’re sabotaging themselves by not engaging with others well, and the people around them either don’t have the understanding to correct them, or they don’t want to say anything.
You don’t have to be this person. You can increase your EQ and become the person that everyone wants to follow and spend time with.
By following these 5 Principles to increase emotional intelligence, you can see tremendous breakthroughs in any area of your life.
1. Express Empathy
Empathy is the ability to see from another person’s perspective. You don’t have to agree with someone in order to empathize, rather you need to comprehend their framework and understand what rules they’re playing by.
This includes treating someone as they would like to be treated. Empathetic people are courteous and sensitive to other peoples’ desires and feelings. To some of you, this may sound touchy-feely, but I’d argue that everybody wants to be treated this way, and you’re not the exception. All of us have sensitivities and desire to be treated with respect, and we all have our own ideas of what is insulting. Empathetic people are aware of this and are constantly trying to honor these things.
Here’s a tried-and-true way to practice empathy: if someone is sharing something with you and you think you disagree, say, “Can you help me understand?” Simply be sincere about trying to understand where that person is coming from.
2. Use Approachable Posture
I’m a high D personality on the DiSC. This can make my tone and posture be a lot more aggressive than I mean them to be. While my brain is usually saying, “Tell me more!”, my body can still be saying, “Keep your distance.” Even when your intention is to help, crossed arms, hard stances, and resting stink faces will communicate the opposite.
This is why you should always make sure your posture matches your emotions. This comes harder for some of us than others. I personally have to intentionally relax my posture, soften my tone, and mirror the facial expressions of the person I’m trying to communicate with. It takes effort, but it’s worth it every time.
3. Fight to Understand, Not to Win
Listening to other people will make them many times more likely to like you and listen to you. Trying to beat them in an argument has the opposite effect.
I’ve missed out on connecting with people so many times because I wanted to share my idea or quick fix, while the other person simply wanted to connect. So if you want to increase emotional intelligence, practice talking 20% of the time and listening 80%.
4. Build Bridges Not Ditches
At JPI, this is one of our team mottos. We do it to remind each other to always seek common ground and a win-win way forward. Most people are always looking for why something can’t work, and what’s wrong with someone who’s different from them. They dig a ditch to plant themselves deeper into their own opinion in order to validate themselves.
If you’re known for digging your heels in, other people simply won’t want to engage with you. However, if you’re always thinking in your head, “How can I find common ground?” you will connect with a large and diverse set of people. This is also a great way to increase emotional intelligence at an increasingly accelerated rate.
5. Count to 10 or You’ll Have to Do it Again
Anger and frustration are normal, but it’s a bad idea to let them determine your next move. Instead of doing something you’ll regret, step outside and take 10 deep, slow breaths to find some center. You’ll save yourself from reacting out of emotion and blowing up. Then, you can come at the problem from a place of reason and develop a win-win situation.
Increase Your Emotional Intelligence Every Day
Since using these practices for increasing emotional intelligence, I’ve seen strong returns in my income, opportunities, and overall relationship satisfaction. That’s why I’m convinced that if you put these 5 principles into practice, you will attract new opportunities and partners and advance in your life.
For more information on how to accelerate your relationships and grow in EQ, check out our E Books. Right now the Journey Principles Institute is giving away our entire library for free, so take advantage and get as much life-changing knowledge that you can!
Great leaders are always marked by fantastic communication skills. Abraham Lincoln was known for persuading his infamously divided cabinet by telling stories. As many as 250,000 people at a time traveled from all over the country to listen to Martin Luther King Jr. give speeches. How did these men become so effective? Among other things, they followed the principles of great communicators.
The Core Principles of Great Communicators
The reality is that there are a number of various communication styles among world-class communicators. For simplicity, I’ll define a world-class communicator as an influencer of industry and culture who typically has a much higher net worth than the overwhelming majority.
Some leaders like Mr. Rogers are more soft-spoken. Others like Donald Trump tend to be more bold and grandiose. Nevertheless, I would argue that there are fundamental principles of great communicators that they all follow. I’ve seen these types of people up close in seminars, board meetings, and one-on-one conversations, and I’ve observed very similar patterns in them all despite their unique differences.
In this post, I’ll share the 7 principles of great communication that I’ve had the honor of observing in world-class communicators. I believe that no matter what your personal communication style is and where you are in your hero’s journey, you can implement these principles to become a positive force of nature in any environment and increase the respect, compensation, and influence you receive.
Be an Influencer, Not a Manipulator
Please note that I’m about to share is not to be used for manipulation. Manipulators come from a selfish place, but I believe that influencers come from a selfless place. Frankly, I don’t think that any of these principles will work for you if you’re trying to control other people or use them. They will only work if you’re genuinely interested in the person across from you and are working for something greater than yourself.
“Manipulators come from a selfish place, but influencers come from a selfless place.”
So before you implement these tactics, check your motives and ask yourself why you want to be a great communicator. If the only answer is you want more money or status, don’t be ashamed. Nevertheless, I’d encourage you to dig deeper. You exist with a specific purpose beyond yourself, no matter who you are, and you won’t truly be fulfilled until you figure out what that is and start living it out.
Principle #1 – Lean In
At JPI, we define leaning in as spending however much time and energy you must in order to fully understand another person’s perspective. It means completely withholding judgement and pushing against them until you really hear where they’re coming from. This doesn’t mean you need to agree with them, but it does mean you need to really see through their eyes.
Great communicators are less concerned with being right than they are with bringing a positive outcome to others. They aren’t fighting to save face – they check their egos at the door and are open to having their minds changed. Empathy is perhaps the most important trait for any great leader. It can turn enemies into peaceful neighbors or even friends. This is why leaning in is #1 in the principles of great communicators.
Principle #2 – Listen More than You Speak
This build off of leaning in, because nothing will make you more interesting and effective than listening. It’s also the only way you’ll ever gain a different perspective than yours, and you need other perspectives to be successful. The simple act of shutting up, saying nothing, and paying attention to somebody else is so powerful, because most people never do it. Yet the wisest person is generally the last person to speak.
“The wisest person is generally the last person to speak.”
Here’s an easy way to practice this principle of great communicators: the next time someone is talking to you about something important to them, close your eyes so you don’t get distracted and listen intently. Nod along to what they say and give verbal cues to show that you are listening. People may ask you what you’re doing. If they do, tell them the truth. You’re trying to become a better listener and really hear what they’re saying, and you don’t want to get distracted. If you do this, you will build so much trust so quickly.
Principle #3 – Be Clear
I once overheard Dave Ramsey say the following: “It’s unkind to be unclear.” Clarity takes effort and focus, because language is really complex and everyone operates from a completely different frame of reference. Nevertheless, we owe it to everyone in our lives to choose our words carefully and fully explain what we’re trying to say. Expecting others to track with us with 100% accuracy is not reasonable.
To do this, we have to care more about the other person’s comprehension than we do about our time. We simply have to get rid of the false expectation that other people should know what we’re saying. It’s not their job to understand us, it’s our job to make them understand. This is core to the principles of great communicators.
Principle #4 – Be Honest
We should always be treating people how we want to be treated. No one wants to be lied to, you shouldn’t lie to others. Not only is it manipulative and wrong, but it’s the fastest way to destroy trust. Without trust, you can’t have healthy relationships, and without healthy relationships, you cannot lead effectively or have a successful life.
It’s easier to destroy trust than you might think. People are better at picking up lies than even they know, often subconsciously registering them before consciously realizing it. Over time, the more you lie (even by omission) the less someone will trust you. That’s why great communicators are always focused on being authentic as a habit.
Principle #5 – Walk the Talk
Great communicators aren’t just honest with others – they’re honest with themselves. They hold themselves accountable to the same rules and expectations they hold others to. This may be fifth in the order of principles of great communicators, but it’s in strong competition with principle #1 for the title of most important. In reality, we are always communicating. Our lives and actions are going to speak louder than words.
Principle #6 – Honor
Renowned faith leader Danny Silk once defined honor as “treating somebody as though they’re Jesus himself.” Regardless of your worldview, I think this is a pretty perfect description. Can you imagine if you lived this way?
The quickest way to lose the confidence of others is gossip, which I define as putting someone else down in the presence of others. You may think this builds you up, but the people around you will look at you differently, even if they laugh and agree with you. Deep down they will begin to ask, “Do they talk this way about me?”
People who display honor, on the other hand, always express gratitude for others. When in doubt, they praise others and give the credit away. Otherwise, they say nothing at all.
Principle #7 – Give More Value Than Expected
Great communicators consistently over-deliver. They aren’t afraid to give away something for free. Mind you, they know when to negotiate and stand up for themselves, but they love to give their audience something they weren’t expecting. It could be something small like a funny story. It could also be useful advice that nobody paid for. Regardless, they pack their messages full of meat, and they are allergic to fluff.
Invest in Your Communication Skills
World-class communicators got to where they are because they weren’t shortsighted. Twenty years ago, they were thinking about today, focusing on creating a legacy of blessings and possibilities in order to make the largest impact possible. So what are you going to do with these 7 principles of great communicators?
If you apply and practice these principles every day starting right now, you will see positive change in your relationships, career, and income sooner or later (and probably sooner).
However, as you advance, it will become that much more important that you identify your purpose so that you can live a fulfilling life. We at the Journey Principles Institute are here to help you with exactly that.
Right now we’re giving away our entire library of E books free of charge. Each of these short reads is packed with exercises and practical information that will help you improve your relationships, gain crucial self knowledge, and accelerate change in any area of your life. They’re yours at no cost, so there’s literally no reason not to grab them right now.
Transforming your life is a huge undertaking. Just changing one area can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Fortunately, there are a few practices that will help you make a change quickly regardless of what area of life you’re looking to master. I call these the Big 3 Journey Principles.
Seriously, these 3 steps are fundamental if you want to experience lasting growth and change. If you apply them, you will have laid a foundation for a fulfilling life and immediately surpassed your peers. So, if you want to get the quickest and firmest traction possible, do the following.
The Core Journey Principles
#1 Discover what drives you
One of the most important traits anyone can have is self-awareness. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, self-awareness is foundational to emotional intelligence, which is the #1 predictor of success in business. You can’t regulate your own emotions if you’re not aware of them, nor can you effectively engage with others.
Second, self-awareness is crucial to understanding your own thought process. This matters because your beliefs determine everything that you do. Unless you’re aware of your beliefs, you can’t know your blindspots. If you don’t know your blindspots, you’ll continue to sabotage yourself without even realizing it.
Finally, you need self-awareness because you need to grasp your gifts and your passions. Until you are exercising your gifts and passions, you can’t lead a fulfilling life. At best you could still make a lot of money, but you will eventually become miserable and empty. In order to live a meaningful and happy life, you need to live your purpose.
Here’s some ways you can grow in self-awareness:
- Take the Journey Principles Emotional Intelligence Quiz here.
- Read this post on the 7 steps to improve your professional life and do the exercise under #2, “Know Your Value”.
- Download our E Book, Discover Your Inner Greatness. You can get it right now for free.
- Identify your learning style and learning modality.
- Take the Journey Principles Personality Assessment. This is a unique test our team designed to give you actionable insights on how you’re wired and how you can do what you’re designed to do.
#2 Create a Plan
Software guru Peter Thiel famously wrote in his book Zero to One that “a bad plan is better than no plan”. I agree, and apparently so does the empirical data. This is why once you get a sense of what your gifts are and what you’re passionate about, you’ll need to make a plan to act on this information. You won’t have all the answers, and that’s ok, but what’s not ok is doing nothing with the information you do have.
Your plan should include the following:
- Your Top 2 areas of improvement in the 8 Pillars of Life.
- A clear destination within the next 5 years that you can describe with all 5 senses.
- The specific number you want your net worth to be, and why you want that number.
- An industry to focus on, and a role to work up towards.
- Your next career step in moving towards that role.
#3 Build Strategic Relationships
You can’t get where you’re going alone. In order to become your best self, you need a community of people to help and challenge you. Not only that, but you will also need people who are different than you and can give you a different perspective. This is the only way you can become wise.
Additionally you’ll need to avoid toxic people who will try to use you. These people can seem harmless and even helpful initially, but they will drag you down if you give them your time and energy.
“Show me your five friends, and I’ll show you your future.”-Keith Craft
There are certain roles you will need to fill in your inner circle in order to achieve success. I call these the 7 Success Relationships. Here’s a quick breakdown of each one:
- Guide – a mentor who is where you hope to be one day.
- Coach – an additional mentor who isn’t quite as far ahead as a guide but that can perhaps offer you more one-on-one time and train you in a specific pillar of life.
- Empowerer – the cheerleader who is your biggest fan and consistently encourages you.
- Driver – the bulldog who will challenge you directly rather than let you off the hook.
- Educator – someone who trains you in a specific skill (sales, golf, dance, etc.)
- Gatekeeper – a protective friend who alerts you to toxic people.
- Inner Voice – your own mind, trained to give you positive affirmation instead of negative criticism
Each of these relationships is invaluable, so identify which ones you’re missing and start intentionally seeking them out. Keep in mind that some people can fill more than one role.
Learn More With Our Free E Books
With the 3 Big Journey Principles, you can kick-start a holistic campaign towards a much better life than you have right now. If you ever get stuck, return to this list and ask yourself which of these principles is the weak link at that given time.
If you want to learn more about yourself, sharpen your five year plan, or want more help attracting the right inner circle, I’ve got great news. Right now JPI is giving away our entire library of E Books for free. These include:
- Discover Your Inner Greatness – a great resource for learning what drives you
- The 5 Must-Have Principles for Personal Breakthrough – written to help you craft an actionable plan that will get you the results you want.
- 7 Relationships You Must Have to Win at Life – a deep dive into the 7 Success Relationships.
Deep down, almost everyone wants to make an impact. However, not everybody does. Sometimes it’s because they live a life of compromise, choosing comfort and security over purpose and transformation. Other times it’s because they didn’t pursue impact intentionally enough. The latter is what we’re going to tackle in this post. Here are 7 principles that will help you lead a meaningful life.
1. Work Towards Your Epitaph.
In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey writes the following about Habit #2, which he calls “Beginning with the End in Mind”:
“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”
There are people who do this very well in their careers and businesses. Yet these same people don’t always apply this to their lives. A very effective way to do this is to write the epitaph that you want someone to read at your funeral. Describe what you were like to those around you. What traits did exhibit? What did you accomplish? Who did you help? Were you a good person? Why? Don’t hold back in this exercise. Leave it all on the table. You will learn a lot about yourself and what you want.
2. Create a Legacy that Outlives You.
After you do the exercise above, write down the specific accomplishments you mentioned in your epitaph and elaborate on each one. What would the results be? For instance, if you wrote in your epitaph, “He helped end human trafficking,” make sure you write down how. What evidence would one have for saying that? How many people did you help and how specifically did you help them?
Doing this will help you begin to work your way backwards from your end goal. Keep retracing your steps all the way to the present day, and you will know what you need to do now to make an impact with your life. It’s ok if the end goal seems decades away, and it’s ok if there are some gaps. The purpose here is to help you take your north star and make it actionable today. Living every day with the end in mind will help you build a legacy brick-by-brick that will live on after you.
3. Focus on Mastery.
As much as I love external goals and quantifiable results, a person can become overwhelmed and disillusioned when they overemphasize these things. As you push to tangibly make an impact, remember that life is just as much about the person you become as it is about what you accomplish. The path of mastery is learning to enjoy the journey and accept yourself where you are. It’s also about celebrating the victories that are moral or spiritual, even when they aren’t translating to practical outcomes today. They will. Be patient. Just focusing on your contribution today is meaningful and worthy of celebration.
4. Help the Person You Used to Be.
There’s nothing more rewarding than helping someone who’s where you used to be. Half of a meaningful life is about overcoming the obstacles in your way. The other half is helping others do the same thing faster and better so that they can go further than you. So pay special attention to the people you encounter who are struggling with the things you used to. It’s a potential opportunity to make an impact.
5. Become a Mentor
This goes hand-in-hand with the principle above. Part of the path of transformation is to imitate the greatest people you’re aware of. Consider the people you admire and believe that you can do for others what they do for you. Visualize yourself making others feel the same way that your mentors make you feel. Write down the habits that are getting in the way of that vision, and focus on a positive action that would replace that habit and move you closer to embodying your heroes. Incorporating this principle into your lifestyle will ensure continued transformation at an accelerated pace.
6. Steward for centuries, not for rent.
How differently would you treat your money if your goal was to create more wealth than you could ever use yourself? What would happen if you focused on creating an inheritance that could continue to grow long after you’re gone? This is perhaps the ultimate expression of financial success and stewardship. Most Americans are not planning financially beyond next month, and we wonder why so many people are stuck in the tyranny of the urgent. Dare to be different and think bigger.
7. Leave everyone better than you found them.
Making the world a better place happens one person at a time. The truth is, you have no idea how blessing one individual can change their future. Not only that, but you have no idea how many people that person will touch because of your kindness.
One of my favorite examples of this principle is from the book, Les Miserables. The story is about a criminal in 19th century France named Jean Valjean who escapes prison and is taken in by a kindly bishop. Rather than honor the bishop for showing him kindness, Valjean steals most of the man’s silver and sneaks off in the night. While he’s trying to escape, the authorities capture Valjean and bring him back to the bishop to face judgment. However, when they reveal the silver they found in Valjean’s knapsack, the bishop tells them that he gave it to Valjean as a gift. Then after the authorities release Valjean, the bishop blesses him. This profound act of kindness changes Valjean forever. He goes on to become mayor of a small town, a respected business owner, and a spiritual father to the child of a dying prostitute.
The bottom line is this: take no one for granted. Think about how you can bless everyone you meet. You won’t see the end result most of the time, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Meanwhile, you’ll be a lot happier.
You can make an impact, and we can help you.
I started the Journey Principles Institute because I wanted to pay it forward. I used to be homeless and bitter, but there were people who showed me kindness and never gave up on me. My experience convinced me that anyone can change and become a contributor, no matter where they are today.
Are you struggling with the idea of leaving a legacy? Are you waking up every day aching to live a life of purpose? I know the feeling, and JPI can help.
Right now we’re giving away our entire library of E books for free. These are resources my team and I created to get people like you to the next level. Each book contains practical next steps and exercises to get you started on your hero’s journey. So download whichever one most stands out to you, and keep us posted on your progress.