EQ is key to achieving success in today’s workplace, says author, lecturer and corporate councelor, Soulaima Gourani
EQ (emotional quotient) or EI (emotional intelligence) is the ability to understand and be in touch with your emotions. It also encompasses being able to positively influence the emotions of others, as well as being emphatic and understanding.
People with a high EQ are known to be able to foster healthy relationships and have the skills to unravel emotionally charged situations. They’re also more adept at meeting professional and personal demands and tend to conduct themselves in productive, caring and thoughtful ways.
And whilst IQ (intelligence quotient) stays fairly consistent in someone from birth -and for the duration of their lives- EQ can in fact be nurtured and developed.
An emotional intelligence book by the Danish influencer, Soulaima Gourani takes things one step further.
Not only is Soulaima living proof that having a high EQ can lead to success, but she also writes that there’s no correlation between someone having a high IQ and success.
Take Control of Your Career is for the most part a compelling guide to a successful and improved working life as it embraces the unique power of EQ. This book also confirms that IQ must be combined with collaborative, motivational and communication skills in order to truly experience success.
I’m a foster child, who was kicked out of school in 7th grade and was told I wouldn’t reach very far
Soulaima’s life today couldn’t be further from that of the headstrong and ambitious young girl who suffered discrimination because of her name and skin color and ran away from home at 13.
In 2016 she was elected as a TED mentor and is one of the “Inspiring 50 Nordics” women in the tech-sector. In 2012 Soulaima was announced as one of the Young Global Leaders by World Economic Forum.
She’s also a board member and special adviser to ministers, task forces, government think tanks and private companies all over the world.
Here, Soulaima tells Nativa World about her emotional intelligence book and why she believes EQ to be more important than learned skills…..
Soulaima, what inspired you to write Take Control of Your Career?
Back in 2008, the publishing house contacted me to see whether I was interested in writing a book on all of the tools and methods I used in my own life to accomplish my goals. I was known for being ambitious, but not flawless (I was fired three time), and people wanted to learn about a “working class” girl who has worked hard to make it to the top. I wanted to share my story, tips, advice and methods, to the world so I decided to move forward with the book deal.
Who is your book aimed at and why?
Ambitious men and women who take themselves and their careers seriously. The book is a practical guide to having a more successful and satisfying work life. It’s direct and honest; it provides readers with advice about overcoming challenges in both their personal and professional lives.
What’s the structure?
It’s a bit of everything. The book incorporates case studies, examples, discussions and is written in first person. I tell my own story about how I managed to build my career against all odds. I’m a foster child, who was kicked out of school in 7th grade and was told I wouldn’t reach very far. I’d like to inspire readers through case studies, examples and practical tools.
What’s the mission and core message?
To boost readers self-esteem. To help readers rediscover their skills and make them more confident and courageous, so they may get more out of their lives. That’s the purpose of this book.
How did you conclude that there’s no correlation between how smart people are and how successful they become?
I’m lucky to be surrounded by some of the smartest and most successful people on earth. It was clear that their attitudes, ’emotional intelligence’ (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ), curiosity, confidence, drive, “hunger” and mental strength has allowed them to overcome their everyday challenges. These are the qualities that are important, if not, more important than learned skills.
How would EQ work better in the workplace?
It’s important not to treat people poorly. This seems simple, but I’ve seen many people who seem to think that they can treat ‘less’ successful people poorly, and that is never acceptable. Instead of being critical, give compliments, praise, advice, and encouragement to people on your team. Additionally, give more than people expect -simply because you can. Avoid keeping tabs on who gives what and when. When you give, you’ll realize that the joy of giving is far greater than the pleasure of receiving.
Simply put, it’s the power of flexibility, freedom and positive challenges in your career.
Did you learn anything about yourself when writing this book?
Yes, a lot. When you write you reflect – it’s like therapy. Writing a book was very demanding, yet a rewarding process because it has allowed me to reflect on my beliefs, and even served as a reminder to practice what I preached.
Why do you think you have the ability to connect so well with people?
A lot of people get inspired by my story, because they see that, like them, I have (and still) struggled. I’ve overcome many obstacles and challenges in my life. People get inspired by seeing how resistance can turn into strength. They learn to see the benefits of fighting against all odds. I stimulate their hunger for wanting a happier and more satisfying life. I show them that it is possible to succeed, even if no one else believes in you.
How do you define success?
To me success is having the power to lead the life you want. Having power in your career is;
- Having the power to design your own career.
- Having the power to decide when and how you work and with whom.
- Having the power is to be empowered. I like to use the term “life design”.
Simply put, it’s the power of flexibility, freedom and positive challenges in your career. It’s not (only) about getting rich and making tons of money. It’s about having a balanced life. People from all over the world admire the Nordics for their work life balance. And you can get it too!
For example, when Brian (my husband of 22 years) and I talked about what we wanted to do with our lives, we weren’t necessarily talking about a life where we owned things. We wanted a life where we could just leave our apartments in 10 minutes without having any attachment to our physical possessions. We wanted a life where we could travel and see the world together with our children. I also wanted to continue spending more time inspiring people who need it most. Today, I’m pleased to say that is what I do now. I’ve changed my life from being in an office all day, working 9-5 to spreading my message across the world. Now, every time I’m offered a job, my decision to take the job is based on whether it’s in line with my vision, passions, morals and overall goals.
Photography courtesy of Soulaima Gourani