Category Archives: Reflections

Observations and Random Thoughts

Emotional Intelligence, Learning and Developing “People Skills”

When someone tells me, “I’m a People Person,” I want think about four things:

1. This person is a good listener who always seems to know what needs to be said, but more importantly, how to not upset or offend others in their delivery.

2. This person considers proper word-choice when conversing because they care about creating and optimistic solution and they are hopeful they will reach it.

3. This person consciously works at managing their emotions, especially in stressful situations.

4. This person looks at themselves in an honest way, because they believe you can learn more from failure than you can from success. Criticism, to this person, is an opportunity to improve their performance and decision making.

People who have these skills have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence, or EI. They are able to sense the emotional needs of others because they know themselves very well.

So, what exactly is Emotional Intelligence, and what can you do to improve your People Skills?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

We all have different personalities, different wants and needs, and different ways of showing our emotions. Navigating through this all takes tact and cleverness – especially if we hope to succeed in life. This is where EI becomes important.

Emotional Intelligence is a person’s ability to consciously understand and recognize their own emotions and how they affect others. It involves a delicate perception of understanding of how others are feeling- a person with emotional intelligence uses this knowledge to manage relationships more effectively.

Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist, developed a framework of five elements that define emotional intelligence:

1. Self-Awareness – People with high EI are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them. They’re confident – because they trust their intuition and don’t let their emotions get out of control.
They’re also willing to take an honest look at themselves. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they work on these areas so they can perform better. Many people believe that this self-awareness is the most important part of EI.

2. Self-Regulation – This is the ability to control emotions and impulses. People who self-regulate typically don’t allow themselves to become too angry or jealous, and they don’t make impulsive, careless decisions. They think before they act. Characteristics of self-regulation are thoughtfulness, comfort with change, integrity, and the ability to say no.

3. Motivation – People with a high degree of EI are usually motivated. They’re willing to defer immediate results for long-term success. They’re highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.

4. Empathy – This is perhaps the second-most important element of EI. Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. People with empathy are good at recognizing the feelings of others, even when those feelings may not be obvious. As a result, empathetic people are usually excellent at managing relationships , listening , and relating to others. They avoid stereotyping and judging too quickly, and they live their lives in a very open, honest way.

5. Social Skills – It’s usually easy to talk to and like people with good social skills, another sign of high EI. Those with strong social skills are typically team players. Rather than focus on their own success first, they help others develop and shine. They can manage disputes, are excellent communicators, and are masters at building and maintaining relationships.

The ability to manage people and relationships is very important in all careers, so developing and using your Emotional Intelligence can show others your leadership qualities.

How to Build Your People Skills by Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence be learned and developed. As well as working on Daniel Goleman’s skills, you can use some of these strategies:

• Observe how your actions and reactions affect people. Before you act, consider your own impact and how others might judge or deal with your action or reaction.

• Practice Humility. Be quietly confident in your accomplishments and don’t intentionally seek out praise.

• Identify your weaknesses. Be willing to accept that there is an honest way to be a better, happier, more productive, version of yourself.

• Control your emotions. Remember that anger clouds thought, especially in stressful situations. Stay calm when things go wrong.

• Be responsible for your actions. If your word-choice merits a direct apology, do it as an effort to make things right.

Practicing Emotional Intelligence is not only being aware of your actions and feelings – and how they affect those around you but also about valuing, empathizing, and identify with people on many different levels.

Angry Cappuccino (Work on Stress)

Okay Stress! Really if you think about it stress has a bad reputation. Here are some benefits of stress according to

“According to experts, stress is a burst of energy that basically advises you on what to do. In small doses, stress has many advantages. For instance, stress can help you meet daily challenges and motivates you to reach your goals. In fact, stress can help you accomplish tasks more efficiently. It can even boost memory.

Stress is also a vital warning system, producing the fight-or-flight response. When the brain perceives some kind of stress, it starts flooding the body with chemicals like epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. This creates a variety of reactions such as an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Plus, the senses suddenly have a laser-like focus so you can avoid physically stressful situations — such as jumping away from a moving car — and be safe.

In addition, there are various health benefits with a little bit of stress. Researchers believe that some stress can help to fortify the immune system. For instance, stress can improve how your heart works and protect your body from infection. In one study, individuals who experienced moderate levels of stress before surgery were able to recover faster than individuals who had low or high levels.”

BUT regardless of the benefits, there are often times we could hang from the rafters chanting, “I am so stressed-out!” What I suggest to you is something I like to call “My Angry Cappuccino.”

Here’s What I Do:

I go to a coffee shop and order a cappuccino with no sugar and extra foam.

I decide that the bitterness of the beverage and the chaotic foam represents my stress/troubles.

I take my time and swallow every ounce, reminding myself that once I have conquered this beverage I have, in a sense, conquered my problems.

Once I finish, I rip the cup to smithereens and dunk it in the trash receptacle. Suddenly I feel like such a bad-ass. I can conquer you cappuccino, I can conquer anything…bring it!

Ah, you have to try this! For best results incorporate a happy victory dance.

Rearrange your space (Work on seeing Happiness)

In the past my desk has looked like it threw-up a extensive amount of marked-up papers and got attacked by sticky notes. So I HAVE to ask, “What does your environment do to promote happiness? Really, I want you to understand that the first step in this “exercise” is that you need to set up your space to allow happiness. Yes, Happiness is allowed. Today make an effort to change three things that surround you (if you want to go for more…super!) your goal is to smile more today in your surroundings.

One of my random reaches to smile today and be happy:

I got out a couple of markers, stickers, and fancy paper supplies. I made myself a happy note. I wrote the quote “be kind to yourself, you’re awesome-now get back to work!” and selected a hilarious photo to match then I posted it to my corkboard by my desk. Then I decided to rearrange my paperwork. I just kept on reminding myself that I am working on something that usually displeases me then I look at my reminder again. Productive but with the reminder that I am too damn funny and that I work too hard not to have this moment- it makes me happy to have this laugh with myself.

Consciously try today to do something that reminds you to be happy.

Gratitude Entry (Work on the Practice)

I am not saying you need to constantly engage in the practice of practicing gratitude but really, the more the better. Taking a few moments to be grateful (and record it in some way) really does make you feel happy. Here is my entry:

You know what I like about butterflies? They stop the thought process, even if just for a brief moment. They casually and pleasantly interrupt any sentence and present the viewer an overwhelming serge of complete happiness. Conversations sway from particulars to visualizations of beauty- a small reminder of all that is majestic in nature. Many thanks to the universe for the spontaneous gift that is the butterfly.

Now that wasn’t too difficult. Really any topic will work for you. Suggestions!?? Perhaps write a piece on the epic-ness that is the crunchy cheeto or the versatile advantages of incorporating more raisins into cuisine. Be grateful to all things that surround your life, even if they seem insignificant- you have so many reasons to smile, you have so many reasons to be happy.



You Only Get Three Words? (Work on Defining Yourself)

Throughout high school, even now that I am an adult, there have been labels or situational defined groups that a person most closely identifies themselves as belonging. Sure it’s easy to say that that jock over there is good at sports, but what about the punks or the weirdoes? What about the geeks and the gold-diggers?

I’m sure by this point you wondering where I’m going with this… so I just want to take this moment to express the fact that I have often wondered what people say about me, you know, when I’m not around.

I know there are some things I, as an individual, should not hear about myself. I admit willingly I have had moments and thoughts against my better judgment. I am absolutely certain I do not want to read minds as I am equally as certain that I would find most people would find me strange if they read mine.

So how do I define myself? If I had to write one word on a label and wear it around what word would I choose? What word would others choose for me? Or the question that until recently, I guess I never really gave it some extensive thought is, what are three words you would use to describe yourself?

I’ll give this some thought, nothing wrong with a little self-reflection… am I right?

Okay here are my words- considerate, productive, and sassy. (I’m going to elaborate, you’re welcome)

I am considerate. When I shovel snow, I don’t block other people in. When I get a drink from a coffee spot, if I happen to spill my coffee while I am stirring in my sugar, I clean up after myself. I hold doors open for other people, I say good morning, I understand people sometimes have bad days, and I generally think about how my actions affect others. People might not always treat me with the same consideration as I treat them, I’m still considerate regardless.

Productive. I set goals. I learn from my mistakes and I get shit done. I hate it when people ask me what my greatest weakness is because when I think I’m weak in a certain aspect of my life, I try my best to improve. I can always be a better version of myself. It is my belief that in order to be both considerate and productive you must also be sassy.

The other day someone told me I was “sassy.” What’s funny is I can, at times, absolutely agree with that.

I am sassy. I have Sassy-ness, Miss Sass- a -Frass herself, that’s me. (Too far?) I think that people say this to me because I am so damn honest. I usually say how I feel about a situation because if you always tell the truth then you never have to remember what you said. Sometimes I wonder what drives people to live double lives, to cheat, to steal, and to lie. The other day I told my neighbors I was going inside because I had stuff to do and I didn’t want to hang out with them anymore. I just used a humorous tone when I said it (that’s sass) but what I said was absolutely true.

I didn’t want to hang anymore. I said it. They laughed. It was honest and we are still cool. I should tell you being honest is really not that hard. Being likable while being honest is the tricky part. To me, it’s all about three things- tone, delivery, and word-choice. You can say anything to anyone if you use proper – tone, delivery, and word-choice. Being conscious and considerate to people and their feelings leads to a humorous but productive environment in my book; mix that with remaining professional and I would work well with you.

There will always be a bit of myself that identifies with various words and groups of people. I just try to balance what I am with what others might think of me- in general, I think I am a good person. I don’t want anyone to consider this conceit or advice, I just took a moment to think about myself. Sometimes it’s difficult to reflect on ourselves without thinking about judgment-anyone know what I mean?

Just remember that being happy is realizing that no matter what judgments you encounter, if you really want to find a person that can change your life for the better, you only need to look in the mirror. Exercise happiness by smiling at yourself in the mirror and reminding yourself that (even if only sometimes) you rule.