Emotional Intelligence Model re-written, on a Micro-Level: Your Solid Foundation.

OK, first of all: why the snowflake? I searched for an image representing the Micro-Level, whilst it was snowing outside. So it’s a nice fit.

This morning, sitting quietly and to see what bubbles up to my mind, it was this.
Rewrite the Life-positions model: Have a look on a micro-level. It dawned on me, the model can be re-written, relating it to thoughts, emotions, body sensations as ‘object referral’ or ‘others’. Then it becomes an interesting twist, that gives you a solid foundation in life that never lets you down. So I started to write.

I intended to create a short & sweet 300-400 word post and ended up with 1750 words and 4 hours in the making. And I have no idea if this post makes sense to you. I hope it does, but I am not sure. We shall find out.

As a bonus, if you stick with it, you find a link at the end you can download. A presentation you may find helpful around Developing High-performance Teams. As I used parts of it to show the models in this blog that I refer to, I had the impulse to share it.

Again, I am curious to find out if my posts are helpful, especially to the people that know me from my workshops. As I use this blog to dive deeper into philosophical questions, I consider it as a safe place to express my thoughts and explore different worldviews. In a business context that’s often not possible. This blog closes the gap of my desire to do so and hopefully attracts readers that resonate with it.

A substantial model that Joe and I discovered in 2007 is the Emotional Intelligence related ‘Life positions’ & the ‘OK Corral.’ We attended a certification program for an EQ assessment instrument with JCA in Cheltenham.

I wear a small business card print with that model in my wallet to this day, 10 years later.
It lends itself for great discussions in restaurants with friends once we go into some ‘deeper relationship stuff.’

Here is the Model:


On the other side of the card are the ‘Life Positions’


In my workshops, where I show this frequently since 2007, it resonates a lot with all levels of an organization. From board members to blue-collar workers, as it is fairly simple and practical. It instantly brings up images of us jumping through the boxes on a daily basis depending on who we interact with, at work, home and in our community.

The idea of the original model is that self-regard is the most important component, and all the rest stems from there.

Which I want to question on this blog. To do that I need to explain the current model first before I expand on it. So please bear with me.

Back to the model: Why is self-regard is the most important component? The logic is that you cannot give what you don’t have: A low self-regard leads to lack of self-awareness, as you dislike yourself you won’t pay much attention to yourself. All the other boxes are  pretty low as well (as you cannot give what you don’t have.)

In my conversations with clients they flag up a contradiction here: people can have high regard for others and at the same time a low self-regard, for example. My explanation is that they operate from “I am not OK – you are OK” (submissive). So the regard for others is not as high as it would be when coming from ‘I am OK – You are OK.’ (healthy)

Now let’s re-arrange the Life-positions model: 

I was often wondering if self-awareness needs to be the start of it all instead of self-regard. As self-awareness is necessary first to build a concept of oneself, an idea like self-regard, based on our appreciation of qualities, or achievements that lead to a high self-regard.

Herein lies already a dangerous trap that many of us have fallen into (and often are still stuck in it). My favorite line to explain this is: We are ‘human beings,’ not ‘human doings!’ (which I heard in a speech of my friend Jim Rees and thought it was a brilliant catchphrase). If your self-regard is only defined by achievements, which are ‘objects,’ then you are in for a painful ride.

As you judge yourself by what you did or didn’t do, by your failures as well as your achievements. So you are captured in the past to define your self-worth today.

You also more likely compare yourself to others instead of your potential, another recipe for disaster. As there are always people out there who are better, brighter, faster, richer, happier, – it seems. So instead of defining your self-regard based on what you did, base it on the perfection of you as a human being: pure awareness at the source, your soul, mind, emotions, body as a highly sophisticated vehicle, totally unique and full of potential.

That view represents a higher level of self-awareness, and we can see how this influences ones self-regard. I know that many readers will not buy into it, yet why not let go of your hindering beliefs.

So the re-arrangement of the model, starting with self-awareness instead of self-regard makes more sense to me, and would look like this:




And now let’s see what happens when we take this even further.

Let’s re-write the Life-positions model on a micro-level. 

It dawned on me that it might be helpful to relate the Life-positions to our thoughts, emotions, body sensations as ‘object referral’ or ‘others.’ As we talk on this blog so often about how to use our minds and how to handle challenging thoughts, emotions and body sensations.

By relating ‘others’ to objects like our thoughts, it offers you a solid foundation in Life that never leaves you.

Here is the advanced model as a visual:



The source is awareness, not even self-awareness or awareness of others. Pure Awareness instead. In the sense of Non-Duality, underneath, as a stable and constant foundation. As long as you can think, pure awareness was part of your life, whereas objects came and went, like your thoughts and feelings.

On the next level up, it divides into self-awareness and awareness of others: here we enter the concept of Duality. We divide a world into Self and Others, that does not need to be seen as divided. However, as a concession to a widespread worldview, and to help others to understand, we go with that.

Self-awareness in this model is the realization that we are pure awareness, which enables us to be aware of thoughts, emotions and body sensations (objects). And that awareness of thoughts now becomes the awareness of others: others are not seen as other persons, but on a micro-level as all objects we refer to, including our thoughts, feelings, body sensations.

Self-regard is the appreciation of pure awareness.

Regard of others is the appreciation of objects we refer to, as mentioned in the paragraph above, including our thoughts, feelings, body sensations. We have high regard for them as a vital source of information we are grateful for. We don’t need to be ruled or overwhelmed by them; we can be merely aware and be able to let go if they don’t serve us well.

Self-management includes always keeping in mind the reality/truth that we are in essence pure awareness To be able to see all the illusions around us. Fast and clear.

Relationship management is the relationship we have with our thoughts, feelings and body signals: we know how to read them, use them, let them go at will, keeping a healthy distance or decide to immerse fully in them out of choice.

It will be interesting to see how this new micro-model keeps me going through the coming weeks.

Please let me know how this is (or is not) helpful in your practical daily life. It’s a more philosophical post, another attempt to support becoming an ‘Undivided Leader.’


P.S.: Here is the bonus I mentioned as an outcome of me writing this longer post and you sticking with it to the end. I found those slides in my files from 2010. It shows how I embed EQ, the Life Positions and OK-Corral in my High Performance Coaching. On slide 14 & 15 you find both models. I hope this is helpful. I was tempted to change the images I used at the time, as I would create a different look today. But I left it, as it is authentic.

To the ‘Undivided Leader’ in You!



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