Would you drive your car if the gas gauge and the warning lights were on red? Probably not, though sometimes we get into the drivers’ seat emotionally when our warning lights are on red. Being in touch with ourselves, and picking up on how we are coming across is crucial.

The Emotional Bank Account, your EBA

How we interact and react to others is metaphorically akin to a glass of water. This is our emotional bank account.

Imagine the first time you meet someone, no judgments, no interpretations about them, and they have none about you either. You are meeting them with a full glass of water in your emotional bank account (EBA). They are also meeting you with a full glass of water in their EBA. Now, over time — and sometimes quite quickly, some of the water gets knocked out of the glass. You consume some, by missing deadlines, by saying things that hurt, by using looks that might be misinterpreted. You knock some water out on purpose by being passive aggressive, or even aggressively passive with them — even going to the fighters corner with them.

You might add back some water by letting things not get out of hand, by saying “no worries” when they make a mistake – and mean it. By saying happy birthday, or even a congruent “good morning, how was your holiday?” You probably add back a lot of water by saying “thanks for pointing that out, I was wrong on that, sorry for what I did,” or by lending a helping hand without return expectation.

The problem with the EBA is that there is no overdraft facility. When the water is gone, the water is gone. Therefore, together with the presentation skills, positive impact and leadership — the emotional awareness wheel is the ability to be aware how you are coming across to others. It’s the wherewithal to ask yourself these questions, and then take action on them:

  • How am I coming across to others?
  • What is the impact of what I am saying or doing?
  • Is what I am doing working for me or not from an emotional standpoint?
  • If it is working for me, how do I maintain what I am doing in the best possible way.
  • If I can pick up on the signals that what I am doing is not working for me, what do I need to do to change and modify my approach.
  • How do I sustain positive behaviors over time?
  • How do I remain “congruent” in what I say and do so it is natural and the true “me?”
  • Where is my emotional bank account with my counterpart? Am I full, half full, near empty or on “overdraft?”
  • What do I need to do to augment my EBA?

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Develop conscious responses instead of unconscious reactions and master your emotional state.

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