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You may believe that your ability to be successful on the job is linked primarily to your IQ, but in recent years social science researchers have observed that workplace success is more dependent on emotional intelligence, or EI.  EI is your ability to recognize and be aware of your emotions, to accurately perceive emotions in others, and to use this awareness to empower successful workplace relationships. Good EI promotes positive interactions with others and leads to more cooperation and a better ability to adapt to a changing work environment.



  • Knowing that missing a deadline will have a negative impact on coworkers, and deciding to finish early in order to enhance goodwill
  • Sensing a coworker’s frustration, and inquiring about it rather than ignoring it
  • Knowing that your attitude affects others, and therefore choosing to display a pleasant demeanor despite the way you might actually feel
  • Sensing when there is a need to resolve tension between you and a coworker, and being proactive in initiating that discussion




You can improve your EI by focusing on your feelings and those of others. Pay attention not just to what is said, but to tone of voice, nonverbal cues, and actions. Consider the most effective and suitable response to the message you perceive.



The ability to consciously decide how you react to certain emotions you experience is an EI skill called self-regulation. For example, self-regulation allows you to taper your response to provocations and incidents in the workplace to avoid an inappropriate emotional response that would cause you to lose control over the outcome.  Try asking your supervisor or good friend about areas where you need improvement in self-regulation. Turn these into personal goals for change. Use a coach, a counselor, or your employee assistance program to help you develop strategies for tackling these habits. Check out the book titled The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book. It’s loaded with great exercises for personal change and improving EI.  Do you frequently interrupt coworkers while they are talking? Do you pay more attention to your phone than to those speaking to you? What are some of your EI challenges?



It is well known that attitudes—both positive and negative—are contagious. Appreciating this dynamic can help you become a positive force in your workplace. You may not feel your best every day, but remember this will empower you to intervene with negative feeling states.  (Hint: To improve your attitude and be a positive influence, take care of yourself: get enough sleep, eat right, get daily exercise, and take appropriate time off from work to recharge and renew.)



Empathy is your ability to understand another person’s needs and the emotional state that person experiences regarding those needs, and then to respond appropriately. Improving your ability to empathize (your “empathic reach”) allows others to feel heard and prompts a give-and-take response from people that enhances relationships.  Listening well and talking less is the key to improving your empathic reach. Helping others really feel heard is a learned skill. For example, if a coworker says, “Oh no, it’s raining outside,” don’t just say, “Yes, it is.” Instead, reach with empathy by saying, “Let’s hope it stops before your tennis match today. You’ve worked so hard to prepare for it.” This is an example of a more meaningful and relationship-building response.



Emotional intelligence is about people skills. Practice a bit of self-awareness, and believe in your ability to positively affect others and your organization. And be open to learning about areas where you can improve by listening to others, considering the feedback they provide, and acquiring new habits of positivity and self-regulation. This approach will add to your job satisfaction and happiness, and will promote a positive work culture for all.




Facing Personal Change

It’s human nature to resist change. The more tumultuous our lives become, the more we seek to wrap ourselves in the warm, familiar blanket of stability.


Can You Let Go of the Old?

There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, so long as we’re able to cast off that comforting blanket when it begins to weigh upon and bind us.  What about you? Has life thrust some unexpected events at you lately? Have you heard a small, nagging voice urging you that it’s time to change and improve yourself?  If so, it’s time to embrace personal change. Here’s how:


Identify Your Fears

When faced with change, we tend to imagine worse-case scenarios and blow them out of proportion. The greatest obstacle to making positive changes in your life has nothing to do with money, time, resources, talent, or even willpower. The greatest obstacle is fear. . .

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of embarrassment
  • Fear of loss




Try this exercise:      Write down and examine each of your fears when you’re in a calm state of mind. Next, think back to all the other times you’ve adapted and thrived in the face of change. You’ll notice that those same fears were also present then. Reminding yourself that most of your worst fears never come to pass will reduce their potency and allow you to move forward.



Accept That You Don’t Have All the Answers

Change is usually chaotic. Finding your way without a road map can be confusing and messy. Embrace and accept that you won’t always know what you’re doing or that you may look foolish or need help from others. Remove pressure on yourself to get it right the first time. Change is a process, not a destination.


Re-program Your Thinking

Negative thinking is habitual. Replace harmful thoughts with positive ones as soon as you become aware of them by imagining all the good outcomes that will come from the change in front of you. Use your “mind’s eye” to see yourself in a better, happier place. Picture specific outcomes that change will bring about.



Actively Look for Opportunity

People who are good at bringing about and adapting to change have the ability to see opportunity where others don’t. Sometimes this takes some unconventional thinking. Reexamine what you count as a “win.”  Setbacks are inevitable. Promise yourself before you get started that you won’t throw in the towel when you stumble. Instead, stop, reassess, and look for another opportunity whenever you run into a roadblock.



Share Your Goals

Strong social support provides encouragement and accountability. Seek out people who are positive influences in your life and let them in on your plans.  Consider joining or forming a group with similar goals. There’s power in numbers. Leaning on the strength, resources, and wisdom of others beats going it alone.



Other Tips

  • Post your goals and daily affirmations around the house to serve as encouragement.
  • Take on only one big change at a time.
  • You don’t have to “fix” everything about you or your life all at once.
  • Strive for progress rather than perfection.
  • Celebrate milestones and continually
  • Lay down new short- and medium- term goals


Change is largely what we make of it. With the right mind-set, personal change can be one of the most exciting, memorable periods of your life—an opportunity for personal development; a chance to refresh, re-energize, or chart a new course in life.

When change comes, seize it and keep moving forward. You are the author of your own life story. You can’t erase what has passed, but you can always write a new chapter for tomorrow.


Distracted Driving and You

If it seems like people on the road just don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them anymore, you’re not imagining things—distracted driving is on the rise.

But let’s be honest—it’s not just the other guy. We’re an on-the-go society, and we all occasionally do things while driving that we know we shouldn’t. It’s not a matter of bad intent. We just don’t always consider the dangers.

Deadly Cell Phone Habits

You’d never dream of guzzling a six-pack and jumping behind the wheel with your kids in the back, but you may be doing something just as dangerous every single day

A University of Utah study reveals a shocking fact—talking on your cell phone while driving reduces your reaction time as much as driving with a blood alcohol content of .08—the legal limit in most states.

This delayed reaction was observed even when drivers used hands-free headsets. Here’s why: Manual dexterity is only one key to being safe while driving. The other two components are keeping your eyes on the road and staying mentally focused. If any one of these elements is missing, your chances of getting in an accident increase.

Texting while driving distracts you from all three of these tasks, which makes it one of the most dangerous things you can do while driving. Nineteen states and many localities have established laws that make this practice illegal.

It’s Not Just Cell Phones

Cell phone usage gets almost all the negative press, but it’s not the only problem. Today’s vehicles are full of devices that distract us from what should be our primary task—paying attention to the road.

Onboard guidance systems, TVs and DVD players, MP3 devices, and computers take our eyes away from the road, our hands from the steering wheel, and our minds away from the task of driving.

Eating or applying makeup while driving carries similar dangers. Combine two or more of these activities, and you’ve just turned yourself into a roadway menace.

Driving Responsibly

On average, today’s cars weigh just over 4,000 pounds. That’s two tons of glass and steel surrounding a highly combustible fuel tank, rolling at speeds up to 70 mph with nothing less than a few feet between you and the drivers around you.

Drivers have a shared responsibility to protect each other from harm. Here’s how you can do your part to keep you, your loved ones, and those around you safe while on the road:

  • Organize your day so that you’re not in the position of trying to complete work in your vehicle.
  • Don’t combine visual entertainment with driving. If you listen to music on your drive, ready your playlist before you leave. Only change out CDs when stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.
  • Never participate in a manual activity of any sort (texting, writing notes) while on the road.
  • If you pick up food on the go, wait until you arrive at your destination before eating.

Life is increasingly hectic and hurried, but you choose how you handle your daily challenges. Before turning that key, take a moment to fix your mind on what you’re doing. Commit to being safe and responsible on the road—it can make all the difference.

Don’t Give Up On New Year’s Resolution!

If you are about to break your 2017 New Year’s resolution, you aren’t alone. Some statistics find that up to 92 percent of us never meet our goal. However, you can beat the odds this year by employing some of these strategies that the successful 8 percent use to reach their goals. Half of the tips involve setting yourself up for success by thinking through your resolution and being realistic. The other half help with keeping you motivated and on track. Planning and executing your resolution are equally important.

Write down a complete resolution.

People remember things they write down, so place your resolution somewhere you see it every day, such as taped to the bathroom mirror. Move this reminder to a new location every three-four days so you don’t start overlooking it. This process of actually touching it will also reinforce your commitment. Think through your resolution, including why you want to meet your goal. Understand the motivation behind the resolution. Do you want to lose that 40 pounds to lower your cholesterol or to drop three pants sizes? Understanding what you will gain by keeping your resolution will help keep you on track.

Set a more realistic goal.

Many people blow off their resolutions because they set unrealistic goals. You can’t expect to go from saving no money at all to socking away $20,000 in a year. Start small. Instead of exercising an hour a day, six days a week, try a half hour a day, three to four days a week. You can always add to your goal after you’ve been successful for a while.

Share your resolution with others.

When you tell others what you plan to do, you’re making yourself accountable to them. Ask an assertive, but trusted family member or friend to ask you about how you are achieving your goal. Having supportive people in your corner increases the odds that you’ll keep your resolution.

Address the naysayers.

We all have at least one negative person in our lives. Whether it’s your jealous relative or a nasty coworker, you cannot let what they say derail you. Plan what you’ll say to the naysayers. Try a conver-sation stopper, such as, “Thank you for your input,” or “I’ll certainly consider what you’ve said.”

Pat yourself on the back for your successes.

Once you’ve successfully worked toward your goal for a week or two, be sure to give yourself some credit. Cele-brate your successes in positive ways. If you are trying to lose weight for example, treat yourself to something (other than unhealthy food or slacking off on exercise.) Some studies find that we have as much willpower as we think we do, and reminding yourself that you’ve been successful in the past will help you when the going gets rough.

Don’t abandon your resolution because of a setback.

Most people give up after they break their resolution once or twice. It’s unrealistic to believe we are going to work toward our goals consistently, especially when trying to break unhealthy habits or establish healthy ones. Note what happened to get you off track, make any adjustments you can to avoid those circumstances and start again. It doesn’t matter how many times you start over, as long as you reach your goal. You can always start your day, or even your year, over. Look back at your previous successes, and keep going.


We view each January as a fresh start with potential for life-changing possibilities. Making a New Year’s resolution and attempting to keep it requires work, but the payoff is huge. Not only will you reach a goal, you’ll become more self-confident from the lessons you learned during the process. Here’s to hoping your 2017 sees some of your dreams come true!


Holiday Eating Tips You Can Bite Into!

Along with the holidays comes an abundance of temptation –mounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing, trays of mouthwatering sweets, and piles of fresh, home baked treats–all conspiring to break your will and bust your waistline. New research shows that adults gain an average of one pound between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  That’s less than the common wisdom, but the problem isn’t the amount–it’s that once it’s on, we tend to keep it and accumulate more the following year. Twenty pounds later, we’re wondering what went wrong. This year, cast aside that crash diet you’ve planned for the new year. Planning a radical crackdown on your eating habits only encourages binge eating during the days leading up to your diet. This battle doesn’t have to be won all at once. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to shed pounds during a time of year when food is all around you, shoot for maintaining your current weight through the holidays. A slow reduction in weight can come later.

Food Preparation

If you do most or some of the holiday cooking in your household, you can lower caloric intake by controlling what’s on the menu and how it’s prepared. Choose leaner meats like turkey for your protein. Prepare stuffing separately from the bird. Baking it inside will cause it to absorb fat. Substitute vegetables for bread with every meal. Serve them first so that family and guests can fill up before the main course. Do away with serving high-calorie fluids like alcoholic beverages, soda, or eggnog. Save these for dessert or as a nightcap and you’ll consume less. Look for ways to cut calories in ingredients. Use egg whites instead of whole eggs and substitute skim milk for whole milk. Refrigerate gravy and then skim the fat from the top before serving.

Eating Strategies 

Small changes in your eating habits add up over time. Try some of these ideas for the holiday season and then see if you can’t apply them year-round. Eat breakfast every day. This will kick-start your metabolism, keep you awake and energized, and help control cravings later in the day. Limit your portions. An easy way to accomplish this is to use a smaller plate. Eat more slowly and wait 10-15 minutes before going back for seconds. Your stomach fills up faster than your brain is able to receive the signal that you’re full. Eat before attending holiday parties so you don’t load up on high-calorie foods. Stick with high-fiber foods. They make you feel more full. Make sure your calories are worth it. Do a drive-by “recon” at holiday buffets before piling up your plate, then pick only your favorites.


Exercising restraint is important, but give yourself some leeway. There’s nothing wrong with indulging yourself occasionally. If your grandmother makes the world’s best pumpkin pie, give yourself permission to have seconds. Just don’t do it every night.

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