Emotional Fitness

Moving beyond emotional intelligence (EI or EQ), emotional fitness is a living practice that asks you to be open to growing, learning, and changing. Our emotional health isn’t limited to our mental health, but looks at living in a whole-hearted way, through its 3 steps. 

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eq fitness

The three-step path to finding and living emotionally fit is what I call “EQ Fitness” (EQF) at work, and emotional fitness is its application for all of life. More can be learned through my book, Fully Human

This growth process creates personal satisfaction, harnesses healthy emotions for fulfilling productivity, and builds successful, fully-human workplaces and cultures. 

EQ Fitness

Step 1: Willingness

EQ Fitness begins with a willingness to gain greater self-understanding, which includes:

  • Your strengths and talents, as well as your limits
  • Your values and motives
  • Certain patterns of behavior that are keeping you stuck in unhealthy habits. For me, that meant confronting my workaholic, and later, alcoholic behaviors. Some of us can come to understand and confront our behaviors through talking with friends, journaling, and speaking with a therapist or executive coach.

Are you emotionally fit?

Take the quiz to understand where you are on your EQ Fitness journey.

Step 2: Trust

Trusting others at work can help you work with increased speed and focus, because you’re not distracted by worries of competing and winning all the time. I have no doubt that much of my success at HGTV is owed to working with a trustworthy team. It’s important to note that trust requires you to take some emotional risk, and some people are not worthy of your trust, so use your EQ to make those assessments.

Step Two also includes trusting yourself enough to say ‘yes’ to things that interest you, even if you feel you’re not completely ready for them. Stretch yourself! Trust yourself!

Step 3: “We” Principles

In Step Three, you move from worker or manager to leader, from “me” to “we.”  You now begin working in service to something greater than your ego, shifting focus to your organization and its well-being, and to the greater good too. You are spreading, modeling and inspiring hope.

The greater good might mean a values-based commitment to equity and inclusion, or to sustainability and our planet, or to something else. At HGTV, we built homes with Habitat for Humanity; while at Food Network, we partnered with food banks in the communities where our employees worked. At Step Three, you recognize that your work is about more than managing a balance sheet well. Great leaders are citizens of the world.

Practicing EQ Fitness at work, and Emotional Fitness in all areas of life, is one way we can grow into the fullness of ourselves, as workers, leaders, and human beings.

And isn’t that hopeful?

EQ Fit Cultures

Get the stories from readers about emotional fitness practices in the workplace.

The three steps of emotional sobriety can be found through the stories in Little Book of College Sobriety. They are very similar to emotional fitness, only applied to living a happy, healthy, hope-rich recovery. Learn more here.