Everyone has had to deal with a difficult challenge, the poor performance of others or something that didn’t go as planned.When such a situation occurs, we may begin to experience an emotional reaction. The question we must then answer is, “Do we manage our emotions, or do they manage us?”

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, deals with people’s ability to recognize the presence of a negative or “hot” emotional reaction in themselves or others. (EQ is made up of multiple characteristics — this is just one aspect). This type of intelligence also encompasses the ability of the individual to manage those emotional situations in a way that enhances respect, builds relationships and achieves results.

A few years ago, I attended a conference at which I was asked to speak. When I arrived, the first thing I did was to visit the conference bookstore. I wanted to check and see if they had ordered a number of my books for the signing after my presentation. I was shocked to discover that for the second year in a row, they failed to order my books.

I was livid. I took a deep breath and excused myself for fear of saying something I might regret later. Then the real work began. I was determined to surface the thinking behind my emotional reaction and to dispel my current energy or feelings for the situation. This was extremely important because I did not want to speak from a place of anger or frustration during my talk the next morning.