Energy and EQ / Relational Effectiveness

Art Sponseller, JD, PCC, Senior Executive Coach,

Business today is like drinking from a fire hose. In our immediate response world, business is conducted in a continuous stream of interpersonal encounters. Each interaction with another human is fraught with potential communication challenges, referred to as friction. Physical and emotional energy are essential to our ability to deal with the “friction” that is part of all relationships.
One of the most significant books on the subject is Mira Kirshenbaum’s The Emotional Energy Factor. The author makes the point that 70% of our needed energy comes from emotional energy. Physical energy from exercise, healthy eating, and sufficient rest is critical but is not sufficient.
It is common for a successful executive to be emotionally depleted without realizing it – it is called running on empty. When depletion hits the ability to engage with others is lost. This often results from caring for and focusing on your company, team, friends, and family at the expense of your own emotional needs.
Kirshenbaum says “Our emotional energy doesn’t care about how successful you are in worldly terms. Your emotional energy only cares about how successful you are at being yourself.”
Being comfortable in one’s own skin, being one’s authentic self is a primary source of emotional energy. The sense of “I’ve got this” and being “engaged in life” are key feelings. The good news, according to Kirshenbaum, is we can increase our reservoir of emotional energy by —

  • Mindfulness practices
  • Focusing on self, on your wants, and taking action to achieve your desires
  • Noticing when you are feeling depleted and giving yourself a restorative break
  • Expressing self appreciation
  • Engaging in restorative activities regularly — prayer, meditation, doing something new and enjoyable that takes you out of your routine, visualizing yourself filled with emotional energy
  • Noticing what gives energy and what drains energy and do more of what gives energy

Your reservoir of physical & emotional energy is a vital asset in your executive toolbox. It is the fuel of emotional intelligence and successful relationships.
“Emotional intelligence, more than any other factor, more than I.Q. or expertise, accounts for 85% to 90% of success at work…..I.Q. is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional intelligence can.” Warren G. Bennis
Source material from Learning in Action,, and Johnson, Jan (2010). EQ Fitness Handbook: You in Relationship – 300 Daily Practices to Build EQ Fitness. USA: Learning in Action Technologies