Tuning Your EQ

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) needs little introduction. It's the other smart - the intangible 'something' in all of us that affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities and make decisions.  

The concept is so ubiquitous that even our devices are starting to incorporate it via high quality cameras, powerful algorithms and facial analysis. This will enable machines to recognize our emotions and transform our interactions with advertising, medtech, robotics and beyond.

  Meet Pepper, SoftBank's emotional social robot

Meet Pepper, SoftBank's emotional social robot

I just hosted a Business Generation workshop with a global real estate consultancy, and EQ was identified as a key 'skill' for their leaders to polish to enhance team and client dynamics and hit ambitious growth targets. The many entrepreneurs in my social and professional tribes also recognize the value of elevating their emotional smarts to define / re-define their purpose and endure the start-up tornado to potential success. 

But let’s rewind a decade (and then some). I was deeply ingrained in the music industry and within an audio context, EQ means attenuating the levels of different frequencies. I've now come to realize they are theoretically the same concepts.

Here are three of my recent learnings on adjusting your emotional treble and bass for optimal life output.


1. Embrace Struggle

Success and happiness are processes, rather than states of being - processes that often require temporary pain, risk, awkwardness, sacrifice and emotional turbulence. 

Professionally, you may aspire to be a successful entrepreneur and graze in the lush Unicorn farm of start up billionaires. But are you really willing to risk your known financial security, brave repeated failure and commit to relentless work hours to don your diamond-tipped horn?


Physically, you may want ripped abs or a peach-like ass(et)? But are you willing to trade your beloved pasta safaris for side planks and gluteus maximus painus? Or Netflix marathons for 26.2 miles?

Generally, the hardest things for us to do in life are full of emotional resistance. The ability to not only endure, but embrace this struggle is the difference between being interested in something vs being committed to it.

2. Your ‘crazy’ is your ticket. 

Curiosity is the product of empathy, which is a significant gateway to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and the world, the more curiosity you’re going to have.

Existing in this heightened state often feels like you are looking through a huge telescope towards an entire galaxy of ideas. However, constant star-gazing can rapidly consume your mind, leaving you in la-la-land, rather than gaining meaningful traction.

   'Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice, 'now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!' 

'Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice, 'now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!' 

Your craziness to declare what you want and not settle for ‘normal’ is your ticket to brilliance, but success is defined by execution, not the glittery ambiguity of what you might do someday. 

The average person has about 50,000 thoughts every day (which is extraordinary given there are 84,600 seconds in a day). Research suggests this number can increase dramatically in pressure cooker careers or personal scenarios that habitually ignite your grey matter on fire.  

Shush the chaos momentarily and put this in your head instead: a thought is a physical pathway in the brain. The more you have that thought, the more you groove that path and the easier it is to re-think it. This physical rewiring is why you need to dial down the volume on negative self talk. 

To dial up your EQ, be a rebel with a cause by intentionally directing your 'crazy'. Pave a positive cranial highway and take thoughtful strides towards greatness (insert your definition here).

3. Get tribal

The opinions, judgements and demands of others are often the fuel (and the flame!) for negative reactions. A high emotional quotient gives you perspective to see the blaze from all angles to extinguish it before the bridge is burned between you and that co-worker / boss / investor / friend / spouse. While you should always walk a mile in the other person's shoes to feel the ground beneath their possible motivations, sometimes you just need to walk towards a new tribe. 

The belief systems, habits and attitudes of your peer groups are contagious. If you're the most emotionally astute person in the room, down your cocktail, get the check and hit the exit.

One of the most important things you can do to improve your life, is neutralize toxic people and shift your circle of influence to where you aspire to be, both professionally and personally.

To greatly simplify the complexities of human relationships, it is inevitable that:

If you surround yourself with positive, confident, self-aware people, you’ll magnify these traits in yourself.  

If you surround yourself with physically fit and healthful folks, you’ll gravitate towards wellness.

If you surround yourself with success stories, you will be driven by a narrative of triumph.

You are what you eat. You are also who you eat with. So, make every meal with your tribe emotionally nourishing.


Does the EQ of your organization need fine tuning? I regularly host workshops to enhance leadership performance, team collaboration and ignite a culture of innovation. Let's chat


Emotional Intelligence is a collision point of reason and feelings. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities and process decisions. Improving your EQ will enable you to better recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and positively direct your behavior and relationships.