Emotions can give you an advantage in decision making if you make proper use of them.

We’re constantly faced with too much information to process consciously. If your brain comes across something it appraises as a “red flag,” you’ll be sent a message in the form of feelings and thoughts that are created by an emotion. This imprecise signal alerts you to pay attention.

Last week we explored self-awareness, key to the development of the other three domains of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). With awareness, you can apply self-management, the next domain of EQ, and make an emotionally intelligent decision.

Near the end of her team meeting, Lynn was noticing her flushed face and sweaty palms – clues she was on the verge of an emotional outburst. Only 5 years out of medical school, the memory of her crazy work schedule was still acute. In medical school she had felt helpless to do anything about her schedule, now she did have influence and options.

Try This:

In less than 10 seconds you can ask yourself:

  • How do I feel about this situation? Lynn felt unimportant, like her physical and emotional needs did not matter.
  • What do I think I should do about it? Getting mad would feel good but not get the results she wanted. Exploring what was getting in the way of a decision could yield results.
  • What effect would that have for me and for other people? Finding the real source of the obstacles would yield a solution. Lynn would practice separating past situations from the present.
  • Does this action fit with my values? Lynn valued a collaborative decision that worked over a temporary Band-Aid fix.

The best decisions are a balance of emotion and logic. Pay attention to the information your body provides and then engage your logical mind!

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