Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, is a cornerstone of success. At work and at home, the bonds you build depend on your ability to embrace your emotions in a healthy way. You can be the sharpest tool in the shed, but if you have a low EQ, you may never realize a fulfilling life.

You Can’t Control Your Emotions, But You Can Control How You Behave

Emotions are like a river’s current. They have a flow all their own. The frustration, anger, and turmoil of today can easily be replaced with clear skies tomorrow. People with a low EQ allow how they treat people to fluctuate with passing stressors. When financial woes affect the respect you show coworkers and loved ones, relationships suffer.

Excelling at work and deepening intimacy depends on your ability to respond rather than react. Bad stuff happens, it’s inevitable. By responding with empathy and compassion rather than reflexive frustration, hardships can be leveraged into closer relationships.

Empathy And People Skills: Two Peas in a Pod

Humans instinctively value empathy. Empathy is the ability to “plug in”  to how the people around you are feeling. When you can walk in the other person’s shoes, you’re able to respond to their emotions as well as your own. This is an invaluable skill.

High-value employers know this. Companies like Zillow, who are renowned for their healthy work environment, value high EQ over all else. They know that to be successful, they first need to cultivate a culture of compassion.

Know Yourself, Regulate Yourself, Motivate Yourself and Others

EQ is contagious. High-performers lead by example. “Monkey-see-monkey-do” is a powerful force. In relationships, you want to lay a template for high EQ by being aware of what triggers you, and by engaging in those feelings in a healthy way. When you know what makes you tick, it becomes that much easier to motivate yourself and those around you.

Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and people skills are the pillars of emotional intelligence. Master them and master your success in relationships.