The Why, What, Where, Who and When of Emotional Intelligence

JT - We are dangerous when we are not conscious of our responsibility for how we behave, think, and feel

The past few weeks, a number of people have asked me about emotional intelligence. It got me reflecting, so I have decided to put something together under the over-arching theme of the why, what, where, who and when of emotional intelligence. .

Let’s get started…

Why Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is what we use when we have authentic, open and honest conversations with our coworkers, effectively work with customers and staff in business, empathise with our spouse or significant other, perform under pressure and support a challenging or distraught child / student. It allows us to understand ourselves better, build connections and relationships with others and live a more authentic, healthy, and happy life.

There are many other reasons, both professional and personally, why emotional intelligence is important, including –

  • being able to better adapt to and cope with change,
  • building high performing teams,
  • increased employee engagement,
  • developing trust and empathy within relationships,
  • having a clearer vision and building a great culture, and
  • executing performance effectively and efficiently.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Originally John Mayer and Peter Salovey (1997) defined emotional intelligence as involving the abilities to –

“…monitor one’s own and other’s feelings, discriminate among them, and use this information to guide’s one thinking and action.”

However, since 1997, Mayer and Salovey have redefined emotional intelligence as –

1. the ability to perceive emotions,

2. to access and generate emotions to assist thought,

3. to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and

4. to reflectively regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).

Then in 2016, Mayer et al, further refined their definition as the four-branch model of emotional intelligence, with the four branches being –

1. perceiving emotion, 

2. facilitating thought using emotion, 

3. understanding emotions, and 

4. managing emotions.

Where Can I Use Emotional Intelligence?

Simply – everywhere! Emotional intelligence begins with you and continues out in to all areas of your life. Become aware of your emotions as you are reading this. Yes, I know it can be challenging as emotional intelligence is not spoken about much or taught (which is one of the reasons I am passionate about emotional literacy and intelligence).

If you are a teacher and / or work in education – what impact would being emotional intelligent have in the classroom have for the students? Would it benefit you as the teacher to have emotional equilibrium, focus and attention in your day? If you are an athlete – what impact would emotional intelligence have on your performance? I certainly wish I had learn how to cultivate emotional awareness and harmony when I was playing tennis 🙂 And if you are a professional, how could emotional intelligence impact the work you do within you day?

Who Can Be Emotionally Intelligent?

Again, simply – everyone! If we go back to the definition above, can you see the benefit of perceiving your emotions, facilitating your thoughts using emotion, understanding your emotions, and managing your emotions, so you can be yourself? And as I have discovered, the more emotional intelligence we can have for ourselves, the more we can model and share it with others and grow empathy and compassion.

When Can We Be Emotionally Intelligent?

Mmm – think you may be getting the drift of this! Again – as much as possible. Emotional intelligence starts from when we was up in the morning to when we go to sleep at night. From my own experience, this is a never-ending adventure and practising starts with self-awareness and turning within.

How Can I Be Emotionally Intelligent? –

I think it goes back to Tolle‘s explanation of presence. He says –

“To stay present in everyday life, it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself…. To always have some of your attention in the energy field of your body. To feel the body from within, so to speak. Body awareness keeps you present” (p. 94).

Eckhart Tolle

Personally, this is why I invest time every day to connect with myself through journaling, mindfulness, gratitude and self-compassion as well as moving my body 🙂

Over to You…

I hope this post has given you some insight in to the 5W’s of Emotional Intelligence. If you have any questions, please leave any questions or comments below.

If you are ready to reclaim your courage and take the next step towards freedom and opening your heartwhy not join our Toolkit?

References –

Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In D. J. Sluyter (Ed.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications (pp. 3–34). New York, NY: Basic Books.

Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (2016). The ability model of emotional intelligence: Principles and updates. Emotion Review, 8 1-11.

Tolle, E. (1999). The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Vancouver, Canada: Namaste Publishing.

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