Discretionary Use of Emotional Intelligence

Most of the time, when we embark on learning something new, we expect there to be a finish line to the learning. Something that tells us – ‘You Graduated!’

With emotional intelligence, there is…it just doesn’t come with a certificate. It can be identified as the ability to use the 15 skills of emotional intelligence with discretion.

Anybody can become angry. But to be angry… at the right time and for the right purpose is not within everybody’s power.

– Aristotle

The EQi-2.0 assessment provides the individual with a report of their EI profile. It outlines the 15 skills and their score. As a practitioner, my expertise is applied in reading this report to identify the lack of balance within the EI profile, as well as the skills that need to be developed. It is a beautiful dance between developing skills and balancing skills that marks healthy (high) emotional intelligence. Then add to that the ability to use each skill with discretion depending upon the situation at hand.

When your EI is developed, you are, all the time, aware, in tune, and aligned with your emotions. You are also, all the time, aware and in tune (not necessarily aligned) with the emotions of others. You are able to use this information to foster mutually satisfying relationships which leads to the ability to solve problems effectively and manage your stress levels in a healthy way. This turns over into wholesome self-perception (esteem) which allows you to be in tune and aligned with your emotions, then be aware and in tune with others. And this circle of emotional intelligence continues in a balanced way.

When your EI is developed you also possess a critical skill – discretionary use of your skills when and as needed. This discretionary use is the hallmark of truly understanding your emotions and having a finely tuned emotional quotient that serves you and others in magnificent ways. This is often why EQ can matter more than IQ.

Discretionary use of your EI is the ability to turn up or dial down your emotional skill set when and as needed.


At work, I need to dial up empathy for clients who see their EQi results for the first time. I can see their self-esteem take a hit and sometimes this follows with shutting down. Dialling up my empathy serves the purpose of connection. At the same time, I have to dial down my problem-solving skills. What I know about myself is my problem-solving skills are further developed than my empathy skills by just enough, that if I allow myself to not be fully present, I will turn to the problem-solving mode when the individual needs me to stay with the emotion of shame/embarrassment/humiliation/discomfort.

At home, I need to dial down self-actualization (my drive for self-improvement) when my son is sitting on the couch just sitting (LOL! – stay with me on this one all you parents that are reading). By dialing down self-actualization I remove what I define as motivation, actions toward achievement, getting things done to feel productive. This creates an environment of safety for my son to share with me what he’s thinking about and what he is planning on doing; even if what he plans is to just sit on the couch and chill for a while. In this moment I turn up my skills in flexibility which involves considering the ideas and values of another person and remaining open to changing your ideas and values. To do this I turn on the curiosity switch and match my sons’ energy level of ‘chill’.

Both at work and at home, I always show up as me. I am always my authentic self. That is the constant with emotional intelligence. This is also why the self-perception realm is the first one to work on; it helps all other realms to improve automatically.

Often times, what is immediately combined with self-perception improvement is stress management. To bring yourself into your EQ development, you need to have great stress management tools. A decompression chamber if you will. Because EI development can be uncomfortable…so it’s best to have a few ways to mentally, physically, and emotionally be your best.

My recommendations for stress management to be able to work on your emotional intelligence toward showing up authentically in every situation, with every person, no matter the location.

1. Exercise, nutrition, sleep. The triple threat of success for stress management. Make sure you are meticulous with your self-care.

2. Journaling. Daily gratitude and reflection bring your focus to things you may be neglecting to pay attention to…shifting your thought patterns and habits.

To have the life you want, you must consciously decide to be off-balance with each area of your life, on purpose.

3. Goal Setting. What are your life goals? What is important to you? When you can define your life goals, you can then go about prioritizing them. Daniel Thurman authored a book called “Off Balance On Purpose”. He describes each important area of your life as a ball that you are constantly juggling. Each competes for priority (time and energy and focus). To have the life you want, you must consciously decide to be off-balance with each area of your life, on purpose. Sometimes your self-care might not get the attention it usually does because another area of your life requires more of your attention today. But tomorrow your self-care returns to its normal space. Sometimes your family time may not get the attention it often does because work requires more of your attention today. But in 2 days, your family time gets a boost and work takes a back seat. This ability to shift priorities (and let the people involved know they are shifting) releases you from the guilt of competing priorities. Nothing really competes when you make the conscious decisions of importance.

The absolute best way to know where your emotional intelligence is now is to invest in the EQi-2.0 assessment with a certified practitioner. Reach out to me below to learn more!


Teresa Quinlan
Teresa Quinlan
Teresa Quinlan, Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Speaker, Consultant. An Entrepreneur and Founder of her personal brand and the formula IQ+EQ=TQ, Teresa is passionate about emotional intelligence as the key ingredient to leveraging your IQ and personality and achieving the greatest levels of performance success. Teresa has been focused on transforming individuals, teams, and organizations to greater levels of performance since 1998 and has experienced leading teams and organizations through the highest of highs and the most challenging changes. Having spent over 25 years cultivating a rich and diverse set of skills, knowledge, behaviours, coaching and training new and experienced leaders, and mentoring, Teresa has developed shoot straight coaching, training, and mentoring techniques which foster opportunities for sustainable behavioural changes that lead to exceptional results; whether these results are to improve an individual's overall sense of well-being, a teams ability to be innovative, collaborative, self-organizing and self-directing, or an organizations ability to truly live their values throughout every uphill battle and downhill celebration. The road for Emotional Intelligence can being with the EQi-2.0 assessment; providing the baseline markers for one’s current EQ skill set. Development of EQ is done in many ways including: 1:1 Coaching, lEQdership – Leadership Development through Emotional Intelligence Program, Webinars, Speaking Engagements, Team coaching, and consultation. Listen to TNT ESQ podcast with co-host Rhys Thomas on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, and more.

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