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Raise Your Emotional Intelligence at Work

The type of work you do, your title or your salary has very little to do with whether you are happy at work. Self-esteem and believing you deserve to be happy do.


"Self-esteem is the first key to finding happiness on the job," says Denis Waitley, Ph.D., speaker and coauthor of several books on personal and career success, including The Joy of Working. "Self-esteem is a deep-down feeling in your soul of your own self-worth. Individuals who enjoy their work develop strong beliefs of self-worth and self-confidence regarding everything they do."

Setting and achieving goals that are important to you are a necessary part of developing self-worth. "I advise people to chase their passions, not their pensions," Dr. Waitley says. "People who are working for their salaries alone become slaves to their work. People who are involved in what they're doing, who put their signature on everything they do, find satisfaction and happiness on the job."

Wake up happy

"Optimism is a learned attitude," Dr. Waitley says. "If you start thinking positively early in the day, you're more likely to maintain a positive stance as your day progresses." To have a happier morning: Wake up to music instead of an alarm. Begin your day by saying something positive to your spouse, your children or the first person you see.

Positive self-talk

"The role of positive self-dialogue in maintaining a positive attitude has been well-documented," Dr. Waitley says. "And it's been found to be most effective if you put it in the present tense."

Dr. Waitley begins his day with these affirmations: "This will be a good day." "I'm going to take steps today that will move me closer to my goals."

Here are other ideas from Dr. Waitley: 

Always greet your co-workers and your boss with a smile. "As simple as it sounds, a smile establishes your own self-worth and shares it with others," Dr. Waitley says.
Turn dilemmas into opportunities. To do so, examine your most pressing problems on the job. Then, to gain a better perspective, come up with solutions as if you were advising one of your best friends.
  • Stay away from pity parties or gripe sessions. Joining in may feel like worker solidarity, but it's actually climbing aboard a sinking ship. Instead, find happy and successful role models to pattern yourself after. Surround yourself with people who enjoy their work.
  • View change as normal. Constantly monitor and evaluate your capacity to be flexible, open to new ideas and adaptable to change.
  • Be persistent in visualizing your ultimate goals and dreams of achievement. Constantly practice positive self-talk and keep a positive attitude when times are tough and your perseverance needs bolstering.
  • Don't let trifles bother you. "If the effort it takes to change something far exceeds its worth, forget it and learn to live with it," Dr. Waitley says. "Keep your mind free to concentrate on larger issues and problems."
  • Don't make too much of your mistakes. They are part of being human. Concentrate on the lessons to be learned from even the most trying confrontations.
  • Set your own standards rather than comparing yourself to others. Successful people run their own races.
  • Appreciate each moment of your working day. If the work gets boring, use your powers of visualization to see yourself succeeding in your goals.
  • Discover a sense of purpose. Knowing why you want what you want makes the difference between success and failure, happiness and unhappiness, joy and frustration.
  • Expect the best from others; that includes your boss, co-workers and subordinates. "Be a leader in spreading encouragement and praise," Dr. Waitley says. "You'll be surprised how people will live up to what you expect when you share your positive expectations."