Thrive in 5 Series

How To Improve Emotional Intelligence

Emotions can be a powerful thing, and if we learn to recognize and control them, they can be of great benefit to us. We take a brief look at Emotional Quotient (EQ) and get a better understanding of emotional intelligence.


Hi, in the next five minutes, I’m going to help you to really understand your own emotions and really help you to understand other people’s emotions so that you can do something effective with it.

Hey , this is Tom and welcome to this week’s Thrive in Five. This week, we’re going to be talking about emotional intelligence, actually, how to improve emotional intelligence. And this comes a little bit from the work of Daniel Goleman, who wrote the book called Emotional Intelligence — isn’t that interesting? Really, what I want you to understand is emotional intelligence is as Daniel Goleman, put it really, IQ accounts for 20% of your success in life and emotional intelligence, or your emotional quotient actually, accounts for a lot of the other stuff. I think they both work in unison. T hey both work together. But emotional intelligence and your emotional capabilities are really important. And so what I want to do is give you a brief explanation of that, and then really give you some tools to help you, as you consider your emotional intelligence.

It’s helpful to be aware of sort of the the major factors of emotional intelligence and, and the first major factor is self awareness – is to be aware of the emotions that are happening in you. If you learn to articulate and understand and be aware of them. So it’s the ability to understand; A. I have an emotion happening. And then the second part of that is, what is this emotion it and am I aware of it enough to recognize when it shows up and when it goes away. And so self awareness is really the recognition part of it.

And I think, to be effective at recognition, you have to develop a vocabulary around emotion. And just for the sake of it, I’m just going to, to give you an example. A lot of people will say they might be afraid. That’s an emotion that comes up for them. But But think of some of the other ways you might describe being afraid. So again, if you’re in a situation where you feel afraid, is it truly being afraid? Or is there some other aspect of it? Fearful? Is it being terrified? Is it being suspicious? Are you feeling anxious? Are you feeling alarmed? Are you feeling panicked? Are you feeling nervous? Are you feeling scared? Are you feeling worried?

Notice all of the vocabulary, the way we define something becomes our understanding of it. So self awareness is really the ability to say, “Hey, this is what I’m feeling at this moment.” And then being aware of when it shows up, and when it departs. When that emotion comes into you. And when it goes. And so recognition is an important part. And the way you grow that recognition is through your vocabulary.

So if you understand that, that part of yourself that you’re recognizing, then the second part of emotional intelligence, is the ability to regulate that emotion. So when the emotion shows up, and you recognize it, and you’re aware of it, can you then do something to, to deal with it, to stop it, to change it, to relax it. That ability to manage your emotion, to recognize that this is something that has come up, and you can deal with it? Those are important aspects, because it’s the regulatory capability that that really builds your emotional intelligence.

So if you are angry in a particular situation, and you feel that coming up, do you have then the presence and the capability to manage that anger that has grown, that has shown up and so you do that through changing it. And changing it could be a series of rethinking the situation you’re in, looking at a differently, relaxing yourself. Those are the kind of things that can help manage your emotions.

So your self awareness, being aware of what’s actually happening to you affects your ability to regulate. If you don’t know what’s happening, and you can’t articulate it, you don’t know what it is, you’re probably not going to manage it very well. So that’s on the self side.

The other side of emotional intelligence, recognizes that emotion also shows up in other people. And and for me, what becomes very interesting about emotions and other people is that they seem to almost be like a virus. When somebody else has emotion. There’s this energy that pops across to you somehow, and we get, we get affected by other people’s emotions. So if we’re self aware of our own emotions, what we then have the ability to do is become more empathetic and use empathy so that we can actually tune into what others are feeling. And if we have the ability to tune into what they’re thinking, we grow that empathy. We grow in our ability to recognize that what their experience is not what I’m actually experiencing. I might be feeling something as a result of what they’re, they’re… the emotion they’re having or expressing, but it’s not necessarily mine. So it’s really that ability to see it in others and tune into it. And be aware of that. Now, if you have self awareness, and you have other awareness of the emotion that present in them, then that really helps you to manage relationships.

Manage relationships, is recognizing that boundary that you can set for yourself around emotion. And so the boundaries you set, these are my feelings, these are the emotions that are present in me, these are the emotions that are present in them. And when I construct that boundary, I can actually manage the relationships. And recognize that the emotion that somebody else has does not have to become mine. It’s something that I recognize, and when I’m managing my emotion, I don’t need to let them manage my emotion.

So what begins to happen is you grow this, it’s kind of like a muscle that you have to grow. And it’s important to grow that. So if you understand those four elements, the other cool part of emotional intelligence that Daniel Goleman talked about, is this ability to self motivate. And self motivate from an emotional perspective is to recognize that I can then use emotion, I can use emotion to help me accomplish the kind of things that I want to accomplish, whether it be internally or with others. And so that self motivation gives me the leverage of those emotions to accomplish the kind of things I want.

This is an incredibly small definition or explanation of emotional intelligence. But what I want it what I want for you in this is to be able to recognize those various aspects. What’s happening in me, how I manage myself, what’s happening, others, how I manage to interact with them based on the emotion that’s present, and then how can I use that to accomplish the kind of things I want in my relationships and in my life.

I hope that’s helpful. We’ll talk to you next time.