Developing Your Edge

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In a tough economy where the search for employment can be a competitive endeavor, job seekers benefit when they can differentiate themselves from others. Employers have their pick of potential employees so those job seekers need to make themselves stand out in an interview and demonstrate the value they can offer to the employer.  One way to do this is to acquire and demonstrate a set of skills known as “emotional intelligence,” which is increasingly being sought by employers in the recruitment and hiring process (Entreprenuer.com).

What exactly is emotional intelligence, or “EI?” It is a set of qualities including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill that usually complements leadership abilities like intelligence, mental toughness, determination, and vision. Employees with EI skills tend to excel in developing and maintaining key relationships within organizations, which ultimately benefit employers on multiple levels like positive business outcomes and employee retention. For some, emotional intelligence comes naturally and for others, it is a learned set of skills. Training in the martial arts can develop this skill set.

Martial arts is about more than kicking, punching, and rolling on the ground. More so, it is about development of character and personal spirit. One who practices in the martial arts begins an introspective journey, opening himself to learn with the first bare-footed step onto the training floor. Like any professional training program, an instructor leads the class, and this instructor not only imparts technical and mechanical knowledge, but also presents the protocols of how to learn and succeed in this vulnerable environment. Good martial arts programs link the practice to its history, rich with legacy, values and belief systems of warriors from centuries ago. Today, while the physical practice of the arts continues to evolve, the fundamental principles remain. Time does not change certain values such as courtesy, respect and integrity.

Two of the “EI” quotients are real hallmarks in learning and mastering a martial art: self-awareness and self-regulation. The ability to recognize and understand your moods and emotions, and their impact on others, results in self-confidence and a personal sense of humor. Self-awareness also helps to protect oneself and others.  Observing surroundings and noticing details are simple concepts in practice, yet are often lost in the fast pace of our lives. We know we should slow down and take notice, and just like anything we want to perfect, it takes practice. Eventually, observation skills become “built in,” and stay honed with practice – on and off the training floor.

The ability to self-regulate, or to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and be able to suspend judgment – to think before acting – is demonstrated through trust, integrity and openness to change. There are times to act and times to withhold action. When is the right time to do so? Consider the consequences, rate the “pros and cons,” evaluate the risks. Many of the evaluation mechanisms used in the martial arts are directly transferable to a business professional environment.

Through commitment to a consistent practice in an environment that fosters trust, discipline and a desire to achieve, an individual can build a foundation in emotional intelligence, demonstrating professionalism in the way he or she acts. Through practice, the individual learns to apply the values of martial arts training to his or her everyday life, manage difficult situations, and improve his or her contributions to his community, significant other, family, and to the employer. Who doesn’t need that edge in today’s environment?

Chun Ji Martial Arts offers high quality teaching and training in Hapkido and Taekwondo. Students receive the personalized attention and instruction necessary to flourish and grow a diverse skill set through physical and mental practice. Located in downtown West Chester at 120 N. Church Street. Also find us on the web at www.chunjimartialarts.com and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ChunJiMartialArts

Meghan Kelly

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