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High “Emotional Intelligence” Brings Hope

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High “Emotional Intelligence” Brings Hope

Written by Dave Jones

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I recently asked my hockey team to define a moment. I asked them if a moment is a minute or 30 seconds. The captain of the team said a moment is kind of like snapping your fingers. My assistant captain and goalie started snapping their fingers at the same time, and then the rest of the team was snapping their fingers and now we were a choir of little finger snappers. Changing the outcome of the game and your attitude can change in a moment. There are many definitions of Hope, the one that I like most “The belief that change is possible”.

Going from low EI to high EI brings hope and it can happen in a moment.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the newer buzz word used today in evaluating players, coaches, and teams. Coaches and players who are living in low EI are going to be penalized. Unfortunately, low EI is not a common penalty like tripping, or slashing, it’s more like a penalty shot.  A penalty shot is one of the most exciting events in hockey to watch if you are the team who is shooting. If your team is defending the penalty shot it is not as exciting.  The penalty itself is one of the most embarrassing penalties in hockey.  A player has either covered up the puck in the crease, tripped a player on a breakaway or threw their stick at the potential goal scorer. In either case, a player has committed an embarrassing situation and has given the other team a great opportunity to score.

Regardless if the other team scores or not, the embarrassment of the infraction still resides and haunts the player who committed the crime. Low EI is like a penalty shot in many ways. When a team or coach has a low EI moment it’s embarrassing and no matter how he or she remedies the situation, the low EI moment carries embarrassment and a memory that potentially lasts a lifetime. We have all had occasional low EI moments and have corrected ourselves; however, chronic low EI moments are cancerous players and coaches that no one wants or respects. It’s hard for everyone to associate with players and coaches who live in low EI. Trying to navigate around their low EI is everyone's penalty shot.

Emotional Intelligence is defined as “the ability to perceive emotions accurately and recognize their meaning and impact, and or the capacity to manage and use one’s emotions”. High EI is when a player understands their emotions and the emotions of others and uses those emotions to accomplish the vision of the team. Low EI is when a player or coach has total disregard for other player’s emotions and can’t control their own personal emotions.

There are four quadrants to Emotional Intelligence. These quadrants include: self-confidence, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management. Each one of these four quadrants has emotional categories like empathy, self-confidence, self-control, influence, teamwork and collaboration. Each one of these categories can be emotional triggers that drive a player into penalty shot situation. It is safe to say that players who instigated a penalty shot have low EI.

There is only one way to Heaven and that is through Jesus, and there is only one way to high EI and that is through awareness of your emotions and the emotions of others. A player or coach who can control their emotions and use that energy to impact the team in a positive manner has high EI. High and low EI moments will be influenced through verbal or physical engagement. The center of EI is awareness and control. Awareness of yourself and others and control over your personal emotions. Understanding the basic concepts of EI can move a player, coach, and teams from anger to love, from despair to hope, and from fear to faith. Resurrection power through the transfer of low to high EI offers fresh, creative energy, and a reawakening of courage and change of mood. Understanding the basics of EI can move a player from good to great in a moment.

I am forever inspired by this concept because the belief that change is possible brings a player, coach or team to another level of thought and execution. This concept requires no skill development, or tireless nights shooting puck or executing a breakout over and over again.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you define a “moment”?
  2. From a personal perspective, do you have low EI or high EI? How about your teammates? And your coaches?
  3. Of the four quadrants mentioned above, which one needs to be your “point of emphasis” the next time you’re on the ice in a practice or game situation?

Further Reflection

  1. 2 Corinthians 10:5
  2. Mark 3:5
  3. 2 Corinthians 1:3-11;
  4. Philippians 3:7-15

About the Author

Dave grew up in Western Pennsylvania and spent most of his life in and out of hockey rinks around the world; playing in cities such as Ottawa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. His love and skill for hockey lead into a professional career in Europe playing in Luxemburg, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Germany.

For over 13 years, Dave has worked with NHL, NFL, Track and Field, and CrossFit athletes with their mental preparation, as well as hundreds of organizational leaders and executives around the world. He  founded 4 thriving companies in the Raleigh North Carolina community. He has a B.S in Management Studies from the University of Maryland and a Master’s Degree in Counseling Sports Psychology from California Southern University, and currently pursuing his Doctorate in Sport Psychology.


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