Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, and Motivation

In my previous post I briefly discussed the five essential aspects of Emotional Intelligence (EI).  This post will further the discussion on three of those aspects: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, and Motivation by providing key correctional informational steps that will aid you in raising your level of EI.


To refresh, Self-Awareness refers to the ability to recognize and understand our own emotions and how they influence our interactions and the emotional states of the people we interact with.  Many people are in denial about their emotions as they do not want to be perceived as weak. Our emotions often change rapidly and can be combined with other emotions and thereby making the task difficult.  So, what can you do?  First, you must assess and note your emotions and behaviors.  This will allow you to identify patterns in your emotions.  Do this by noting the following:

  • Your interactions with others and their relation to you.

  • The reason and topic of the interaction.

  • The emotions you felt.

  • The strength of the emotions.

  • Your ability to control the emotions.

  • Any physical behaviors, such as increased heart rate, perspiration, or tightening of muscles (Emotional Intelligence, n.d.).

This journal will allow you to identify your strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement.  By reviewing each interaction and the emotions you displayed, you will be able to identify situations or events that caused you to experience negative or inappropriate emotions.  Once you identify the patterns you can create a plan of action based on past experiences. 



Self-Regulation refers to the your ability to manage your emotions, abilities, and impulses.  Managing your emotions allows you to chose how to respond to any event, situation, or interaction.  Simply put, self-regulation is thinking before acting. Developing self-regulation skills will make you better prepared to respond to difficult or stressful situations. The journal discussed above provides the foundation for self-regulation or self-management.  Keeping a journal will identify the triggers that produce destructive or negative emotions and behaviors which then can be replaced positive alternatives.  Key competencies of self-regulation include self-control (slowdown and analyze your behaviors) and adaptability (identifying the negative behavior or emotion and replacing it with a positive action).  Additionally, knowing your values, holding yourself accountable, and practicing mindfulness will aid you in self-regulation (Emotional Intelligence, n.d.).


Motivation refers to your personal drive to improve and achieve, readiness, commitment to goals, initiative, optimism, and resilience.  Goal setting, being realistic, positive thinking, and stepping outside your comfort zone are all key aspects of staying motivated.  When goal setting it is important to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely goals.  Be realistic, setting goals that are not measurable or attainable will negatively impact your motivation (Emotional Intelligence in Leadership, 2018 ).

Developing or improving your self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation will positively impact your level of emotional intelligence. Further, having a high level of EI positively influences your relationships, interactions with others, improves your communication skills, increases your confidence, and overall  makes you a more effective leader.  

My next post will complete our examination of emotional intelligence by discussing empathy and social skills.

Thank you for reading! I look forward to your comments and questions.



Emotional Intelligence (n.d.). Retrieved from


Emotional Intelligence in Leadership (2018). Retrieved from





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