EQ Rule #10: Emotional Intelligence: Rewrite the Rules

By Justin Bariso, Principal, EQ Applied
Reprinted with Permission

One day, when the clock hit 9:45, I started screaming inside…

Because I actually wanted to start work at 8:30.

But I had to help get the kids set up for homeschool. And answer their million questions. And clean up the kitchen because my wife and I didn’t have the energy to do it the night before.

All of these things were new to us because, you know…

Pandemic life.

But then, I came to a realization:

What if I rewrite the rules?

I’m self-employed. So…what if some days I don’t start work until 9:45?

Or, God forbid, 10:00!!!

Of course, this isn’t ideal. Heck, it’s not even normal…

But these aren’t normal circumstances.

8:30 was perfectly fine to start work when I dropped the kids off by 8:00, like usual. But now that things had changed, I needed to rewrite the rules: by changing my expectations for myself, and being more flexible.

The Lesson

The rules you’re allowed to rewrite may look different from mine.

But regardless of your personal situation, chances are that you add a lot of unnecessary pressure—in the form of expectations, schedules, deadlines, etc.—to yourself (or others).

And while all of those things can be good, they can also lead to burnout if you’re not careful.

So, why not rewrite some of those rules?

If you’re a manager or executive, maybe you can rewrite the rules for your whole team.

If you’re a mom or dad, maybe you can rewrite the rules for your family.

Rewriting the rules could include:

  • Being more flexible
  • Allowing yourself (or others) more freedom
  • Changing a deadline
  • Focusing on outcomes, instead of hours
  • Taking a day off

The important thing is not to worry about the things you have no control over…and instead focus on the things that you do.

Try This

This week, if you feel you’ve let yourself down despite trying your best (or others have let you down despite trying their best), consider rewriting the rules.

Consider how you can adjust your expectation to allow a little more flexibility or freedom, or somehow reduce the stress you put on yourself (or others).

When rewriting the rules for you, ask yourself:

  • Am I expecting far more from myself than I would expect from others in these circumstances? How can I adjust?

If rewriting the rules for others, ask yourself:

  • What adjustments would I appreciate if I was in this person’s situation?

In Summary
By rewriting the rules, you’ll. . .

  • avoid burnout
  • live a smoother, happier life
  • be a source of refreshment to others

Use this handy worksheet to explore EQ Rule #10: Emotional Intelligence: Rewrite the Rules.

About the Author

Justin Bariso, Principal, EQ Applied
The founder of EQ Applied, Justin Bariso helps organizations and individuals develop their emotional intelligence. His thoughts on leadership and EQ draw over a million readers a month, and LinkedIn named him a “Top Voice” in the field of management and workplace culture three years in a row. His book, EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence, shares fascinating research, modern examples, and personal stories that illustrate how emotional intelligence works in the real world. Email: [email protected]


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Disclaimer: This article is written for educational purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure its accuracy and completeness. It is the responsibility of the reader to refer to the definitions, descriptions, conventions, and guidelines specific to each coding classification, as well as relevant laws and regulations when selecting and reporting medical codes.

About the Author

Libman Education
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