Sharpen the Saw

100_0068This week I spent time “sharpening the saw.” For those who know Dr. Stephen Covey’s book: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People recognize that this is habit number seven. In particular I focused on the mental dimension of the habit. As Stephen wrote, most of our mental development comes from our formal education but when we leave the structure and focus of school, our minds can begin to atrophy if we don’t make a life long practice to learning. I truly believe in the benefits being a life long student and I have found that new found knowledge gives me more energy, purpose, and drive in life.

Instead of preparing for and writing this week’s blog post I spent the time preparing for and participating in an emotional intelligence program in Seattle. It was an amazing program in which I learned where my current level of emotional intelligence fitness is and how I can utilize specific practices to improve my overall fitness. I was not only sharpening the saw, I was digging deep as to how I show up to others in relationships in the time of conflict; I was entrenched in this mental dimension deeper than I have ever experienced. It was both emotional and energizing.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to be self-aware of our own emotions, to be conscious of the emotions of the people around us, and to manage our own emotions effectively in our relationships, even when those relationships become difficult. Developing EQ is a learned process that begins at birth and continues throughout our lives. We come into this world as emotional and social beings ready to grow, learn, and prosper in relationships. Some of our initial learned responses to relationships are life giving and serve us well while others may be ineffective in both personal and professional relationships as adults.

There is scientific data that demonstrates EQ is more important than IQ when achieving success; EQ is the primary determinant of the quality of our personal and professional relationships. The good news is that unlike intelligence (IQ), EQ can be learned and enhanced. We can even make radical changes to our emotional reactions and our lives by using a focused and disciplined approach when we understand what drives our emotional intelligence. We can unlearn any ineffective responses and introduce new more effective ways of filtering data received during interactions with others to enhance a more positive outcome.

I left training with a greater understanding of how important EQ is and how to build upon my fitness by increasing my awareness and choices in relationships; in particular when I’m in the midst of challenging situations. There is work to do in this area but I’m up for the journey!

See you next week,


“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”Henry David Thoreau