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Self-management - Choose Wisely

#emotionalintelligence #eqfit #eqplus #self-management Feb 20, 2023

When you here the term "self-management", what do you think of?

The second major category of EQ (emotional intelligence) skills is self-management. It is being more intentional with choices for more desired outcomes. The following is an excerpt from my soon to be released online course, "Understanding Your Own EQ". It will be available through our website in early March 2023.

Reaction vs Response

It is easy to react to something, but are the outcomes what we want them to be? Usually, reaction is rapid and not well thought through. That is not necessarily a bad thing when you are in a situation where the triggering of emotions happens to save you from bodily harm. It is a natural part of our survival instincts. The "fight, flight, freeze" reactions are embedded in a part of our brain that houses our survival reactions. We have all experienced times in our lives when emotions have "kicked in" to limit harm to us, giving us the energy and motivation to stay safe.

In our world today, these reactions may not be the best response to everyday emotions. Rarely is fight, flight, or freeze a good thing at home or at work, barring extreme circumstances.

Responding to emotions that we feel is usually a better way to go. There is real science behind the old saying, "count to 10 when you are mad." The science is simply that a flood of emotion(s) that happens when we experience something clears the brain in about 6 seconds, allowing us to think more clearly and be more intentional with our choices. That does not mean the emotion(s) completely go away, just that the intensity is reduced.

Self-management is a set of EQ skills and competencies that help us to be more intentional with our choices. Or, as Six Seconds says, "Being smarter with emotions".

Elements of Self-management

There are a few specific elements that are important to self-management. These can be called EQ competencies or skills, or can simply be thought of as self-management skills.

What if

We probably all know what it means if we use the "what if" approach to thinking and deciding. If I do this then what might happen? If I choose that, what might the outcome be? This process allows us to think through different scenarios before we make a final decision and move forward. This also allows us to come up with options and then decide which options might be the best. This is a good thing most of the time. When is it not a good thing? When it causes us to be stuck. Being stuck is actually a choice. While we cannot control all things, we can control our choices, efforts, and attitude. I am sure you have heard terms like "you are overthinking", or, "you are ruminating on this." Every strength has a potential shadow. This is where self-awareness can help keep us on track and intentional about making choices in a timely manner.


How well do you navigate emotions? Not just yours but those you experience from other people. Obviously some emotions will be more difficult to navigate than others. This element of self-management is critical. If every emotion derails us, then we will be very limited in what we will be able to do.

The ability to navigate emotions allows us to take the energy and information we receive from emotions and repurpose those for better outcomes. Navigating emotions is key to our ability to practice self-management. The bridge between simply reacting versus responding to something that generates emotions in us is built on the strength of our ability to navigate those emotions.


Have you ever asked yourself where motivation comes from? If you stop and think about it, like most people, you probably come up with something like, "Well, it comes from inside me," or, "I am motivated or demotivated by something that happens." Both of these have some truth to them. It is a little more complicated than that.

First…I want to give credit to Daphne Bernicker…Daphne is a friend and has done deep work in the area of motivation. Daphne has created a tool called EQPlus Motivation Profile that is unique and truly cutting edge in measuring several critical components of motivation. You can learn more about this tool at

At the heart of motivation are some key elements that you might not think of…what are they:

  1. We all have a set of beliefs about ourselves and our place in the world…in essence, what we believe to be true.
  2. From those beliefs, we make a set of rules that we live by.
  3. Those beliefs and rules create our self-talk…and self-talk is a very powerful force in our lives.


This is authentic optimism. Looking toward the future with hope and possibility. There is no way to fake this and get results that can sustain long term success and satisfaction.

Optimism is probably one of the most important competencies of EQ. It has a massive impact on the emotional environment you choose to live in. Optimism facilitates higher cognitive functions whereas pessimism tends to block those (critical thinking, problem solving, abstract thinking, numerical reasoning, creation, innovation, strategic thinking).

If you want to enjoy life and work more, optimism is an accelerator to achieve that.

Self-management in action

Think of these EQ skills as tools in a tool box. The more you practice with them, the greater skill you develop. Why is this important? Would you like to improve in any of these areas:

Relationships - Effectiveness - Well-being - Balance - Focus - Energy - Leadership - Decision Making - Problem solving - Critical thinking - Agility - Resilience - Connection - Trust Building

These are just a few of the areas that can be enhanced by developing EQ skills. Self-management is the key to putting these skills into practice so you can get the outcomes you desire.

**NOTE:  The section above in italics is a sneak peek at one small section of the new online course "Understanding Your Own EQ" by EQFIT®. The course will include videos, downloads, exercises, and multiple opportunities to practice EQ skills. It is designed for anyone interested in learning and growing their emotional intelligence.


For more, check out our other resources:

EQFIT® YouTube Channel


EQFIT® Podcast

 Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected]

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