The core of your personal and professional fulfillment

The defining skill that propels you forward is emotional intelligence. It’s just that simple. Without it, you can have the sharpest and most in-demand skills and you’ll stagnate and spin your wheels. To build the career and life that you want, you MUST be proficient here.

The good news?

It’s not an innate skill. It’s something you learn and cultivate. 

Center of a fern

Emotions can be contagious so awareness of your emotions is helpful as you regulate yourself amid turbulent and conflict-ridden experiences.

Both at work and in your personal life.

.It’s also useful to be aware of your impact so that you can be intentional about the ripple you have around others.

Awareness, practice, and intention drive improvement in EQ

4 Key Components in EQ

The building blocks of emotional intelligence are straight-forward. They’re simple and easy to identify.

What I teach people is how to recognize where you’re stuck and move forward in the direction you want to go (or to simply decide the direction you want to go rather than continue to follow the script that’s been handed to you).


Recognizing and understanding your own emotions


Intentional action that aligns with our purpose.

Social Awareness

Focusing on others with an empathetic lens.

Relationship Management

Shaping your interactions with others.

What makes you unique.

For all of us, there are three key elements that make up who we are – EQ, IQ, and personality. IQ (intelligence quotient, which is a measure of cognitive competence), can only be developed through age 10, and personality is largely stable across a person’s lifespan. But EQ can be cultivated and grown regardless of age.

Self- Awareness
Self-awareness consistently shows up first in EQ models because it is considered the foundation for the remaining dimensions of EQ. Basically, it boils down to recognizing and understanding your own emotions. Although it sounds simple – and it is –there are some nuances to emotional awareness, including:

Labeling your emotions with precision (example: rejected is different from discouraged)

Identifying and being attentive to your emotional triggers

Understanding your own limits (example: your boundaries, resources, strengths, and challenges)

Welcoming and navigating feedback, even when it’s difficult

Knowing the forces that motivate you, along with learning how to cultivate and foster those motivators rather than waiting for them to arrive

Recognizing your impact on those around you

Personal power is a key ingredient for self-awareness. When you can access your self-confidence and articulate your self-worth, you’ll find the seat of your own power.

Often at work, we look externally (such as where we stand on an organizational chart in terms of hierarchy and authority), and while those qualities factor into the world of work and carry weight, they’re not the only source of our professional power.


Self-management shifts us from understanding to action, from recognition to behavior, and from introspection to observable acts. It’s important to realize that proficiency in this arena extends from a solid base of self-awareness, so make sure that you spend enough time building a solid foundation in self-awareness before moving on to this section.

Since we’re focusing on action and behavior right now, know that emotional management doesn’t necessarily look like charging into action. It can also look like pausing or interrupting a behavior that doesn’t serve you or your professional situation. Often, people are directed to this section of EQ if they demonstrate explosive outbursts or other troublesome behavior.

Daniel Goleman, one of the most well-known EQ researchers, explains that Emotional Management isn’t about Pollyannaish optimism. Rather, it’s about accessing a flow state where the intent is to create a desired result (instead of being at the mercy of our outer circumstances and our inner states).

Social Awareness

With social awareness, we are shifting from personal competence (which includes the previous two EQ ingredients, Self-awareness and Self-management) to social competence. Are you inclined to consider others’ perspectives? Guess accurately about their motivations and emotions? Not impose your own filters onto others? If so, you’re likely skilled in this domain of EQ.

Empathy is the heart of social awareness. The root of the word “empathy” comes from a German term, Einfuhlung, which literally translates to mean “feeling into.” It means imagining another person’s perspective, walking a mile in their shoes, going beyond the words that are spoken, listening (rather than formulating your response or zoning out), and offering sensitivity to their experience. It’s helpful to distinguish between sympathy and empathy. At its core, empathy is essentially joining or experiencing others’ emotions – almost as if those feelings were your own. In contrast, sympathy is feeling for someone. Sympathy tends to include elements of pity, sorrow, and concern whereas empathy leans towards understanding and acceptance. In general, empathy is present when there’s a strong association with another person while sympathy implies some distance between others’ experiences and our own. 

Relationship Management

Built upon the foundation of the other three dimensions of EQ, relationship management boils down to being purposeful with your interactions at every professional level: peers, those you report to, those you lead, and those you serve.

The main ingredients of relationship management include:

• Conflict resolution

• Communication

• Leadership and influence

• Collaboration and teamwork

• Building bonds and trust

Under stress, relationship management tends to erode, which is why success in this area hinges on skill in the other three EQ arenas. When you’re self-aware, you recognize signs of stress and manage your stress appropriately to help ward off a stumble in your relationships. Managed stress also makes you attuned to external cues regarding the people who matter to you, thereby helping you avert missteps around relationship management.

What’s the twist that I mentioned that shifts EQ to EL (emotional literacy), a term that I use quite often in my practice? Emotional literacy digs deeply into self-awareness to identify patterns that both empower you and continually cause you to trip en route to fulfilling your goals and aligning with your purpose. Let’s talk about the building blocks that’ll help you recognize where you’re stuck in any situation and offer you a route to clarity and forward movement.