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The Lesson of the Broken Ankle

Recently I broke my ankle when I fell riding a faulty piece of ... I haven’t broken anything since I was six years old. I broke my left wrist then, and being ... it really didn’t effe

Recently I broke my ankle when I fell riding a faulty piece of equipment. I haven’t broken anything since I was six years old. I broke my left wrist then, and being right-handed, it really didn’t effect my life much. I remember the initial pain, but I don’t remember any inconveniences after that. It was a non-event in the life of a six year old.

I broke my ankle on a trip. One of travel companions asked one of his employees to drive me back to my home town, and when I dropped the gentleman off at the Bus Stop and made my way to my house (I could always drive on the thing), after picking up my cat, I hobbled into the bedroom, flopped down on the bed and began to wonder how on earth I was going to do this. The pain and swelling, if you’ve ever done this, are excruciating.

I live alone. My son lives many miles away. Of course I have friends, but short of having someone move in with me, help was liable to not nearly be enough.

I could drive, but I could not touch the leg to the floor. I had a light cast on it from the ER on the trip, but no crutch. Hmmm.

It was a puzzle and had a high emotional component. I was scared at the prospect of having to be dependent, and also worried about the bills and logistics.


I teach Emotional Intelligence and yes, I use the skills. I also train and certify Emotional Intelligence coaches, and we always remind one another, “Remember to tell yourself what you would tell a client.”

Good thought! So what would I tell a client? Take a deep breath, calm down, and start thinking.

The first thing I did was look at my strengths. According to the StrengthsFinder Profile, which I use with my clients, two of my top strengths are Intellection and Strategic. Intellection – enjoying thinking would be useful only in application to a plan of action. But voila! Strategic means it comes natural to me to “make a plan.”

I reminded myself that once I get it sorted out, and calm down, I always “know what to do.” We all have different talents, but call me a strategist. Another person might be able to figure out their goal quickly with analytical focus, but not be able to make the plan to get himself or herself there. We’re all different and we all have our own innate talents. We learn others as time goes by, but our innate ones will always be the strongest, best and most reliable.

Now Emotional Intelligence means managing your own emotions (and those of others) so you can think, respond, and not self-sabotage. When you’ve developed yours, you learn to relax into a problem. This allows you to be flexible, cope, think clearly, and use creativity and reasoning to bring about the best income.

Start by remembering that if you’re panicking, worried or angry, you cannot think clearly. The same applies for physical circumstances – too hot, too cold, too tired, too hungry, in too much pain.

You can’t always rely on others to soothe and calm you. One of the best things EQ teaches is how to do what’s called “self-soothe,” so that you can experience the emotion, understand it, and then THINK about how you’re going to respond, rather than reacting like a nematode to a prick.

Then, if it’s a problem you’re facing, check in with your top five strengths. I recommend you take the StrengthsFinder profile, and there is information about it on my website.

You can always go back to these because they are innate. You were born with them and will always have them. They very much define you, and will always be your best course of approaching a program.

Someone else might have the strengths of Relator and Communicator. This individual would have approached the problem differently. They would probably have picked up the phone right away and called a friend to brainstorm, or ask them to come over.

This example is analogous to many things that can happen in life. One day I’m a Biped (walking on two feet), the next day I am not. I cannot get around the way I used to and I have to figure out how to manage around this.

We have extreme and rapid changes like this in our world today. To cope with them we need Emotional Intelligence. We need to become resilient enough to walk one day in one way, and figure out how to walk another way the next day, sometimes with no warning. With EQ, we learn to go back to other things we’ve coped with and draw on what we learnedArticle Search, and also to draw on our strengths and the meta-strength of resilience.

Get proactive and start learning it now. You’ll need it some day.

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©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, . Coaching, distance learning, and ebooks around emotional intelligence for your continued personal and professional development. I train and certify EQ coaches. Get in this field, dubbed “white hot” by the press, now, before it’s crowded, and offer your clients something of exceptional value. Start tomorrow, no residence requirement. for free ezine.

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