EQ Simplified: All About the 4Ds and 4Ls of  Emotional Intelligence in 2023

Gravity is a principle that has always existed and 

while Isaac Newton didn’t discover it, he did name the powerful force that keeps us grounded on the earth and explained how it works. Another powerful force that can keep you grounded is emotional intelligence, also known as EQ because it allows you to stay anchored in the present and focused on your mind and body where you feel your emotions. 


We owe the theory of emotional intelligence to professors Peter Salovey and John Mayer who first defined it in 1990 as “the ability to engage in sophisticated information processing about one’s own and others’ emotions and to use this information as a guide to thinking and behaviour.” Daniel Goleman further advanced the theory, adding that emotional intelligence is the ability to become more self-aware, regulate one’s moods and motivation, and develop empathy and social skills. After publishing his book on the topic, Goleman elevated EQ as a human skill, arguably more vital for survival than IQ. 


Because EQ is a learned skill, like learning to play basketball or ride a bike, you get better at it with more practice. But learning about EQ shouldn’t be complex and getting better at developing more EQ should be a goal we work towards daily. That’s why I developed the 4Ds and 4Ls as a way to simplify the process and help you develop greater emotional intelligence in your life.  


The 4Ds and 4Ls help you move from a state of dependence or self-awareness to independence or self-mastery, and then finally to a state of interdependence where you are working and thriving with others. The 4Ds and 4Ls enable you to harness the necessary emotions required to cultivate productivity and build positive relationships. They also help you discover techniques for raising your EQ by becoming more self-aware, exercising emotional self-control, understanding and managing your triggers, and developing empathy. With this knowledge, you can take action and build awareness of others, and become a more inspiring and effective individual and leader in your workplace and community.

Learn More: How to Achieve Mental Clarity with these 12 technique


So what are the 4Ds and the 4Ls? 


The process starts with Diagnose, the stage of dependence that is all about introspecting on your values and who you are. Through ongoing reflection, you learn to assess your behaviours and what you would like to change, identifying your triggers and how you react to people and situations.   


What then follows is a process where you Determine just how accurate is your diagnosis by validating it through real-world experiences and whether you respond to people and situations or simply react impulsively without pausing for thought on the better course of action. 


Next, you Develop a plan, identifying why you are doing it and how and when you are going to accomplish it.  


Finally, no knowledge is valuable unless you put it into action, so you follow through with the fourth D, Doing, that’s the process of changing your behaviours and getting things done, which correlates to moving into a state of independence. 


Now let’s learn about the 4Ls starting with Listening, the single most important tool for discovering others. In the same way that you diagnosed yourself by introspecting consciously and with intent, you need to listen empathetically so you more than just hear the words others share and can first seek to understand rather than be understood. Effective listening means paying attention and responding when necessary to the other person, not merely replying. As you learn about the other individual, you start moving towards a state of independence with them. 


When you listen, intuitively you Learn, you get to know what motivates a person, what stresses them out and how they respond to various stimuli in their professional or personal lives.


Learning about their needs, what makes them tick and what ticks them off, ultimately allows you to care about them, and that takes us to the third L, Love, which is about accepting others rather than simply tolerating them. Love is about having respect for everyone and their perspectives, recognizing that while diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice and that you make to ensure everyone feels like they belong. 


When you move into this state of interdependence, you transition into an individual who involves others and uses your influence to bring them on board with your vision and inspire them to strive to become better versions of themselves.  


That leads to our fourth L, Lead. When you lead with love, empathy, and compassion, you respond to the individual’s needs and can become of service to them, encouraging growth and confidence on their leadership journey. 

Learn More: The Strength of Kindness in 2023


In conclusion, the 4Ds and the 4Ls help you sharpen your emotional intelligence and become a more resilient individual, develop a greater sense of awareness of yourself and others. With that heightened awareness, you can lead from the heart, connecting with others to build resilient communities where we all belong and thrive, something we need now more than ever. As Oprah eloquently articulated in her virtual address to the graduating class of 2020, we need “a more evolved normal…a world more just, kind, beautiful, tender, luminous, creative, whole.” 


So you and I may not have discovered gravity, the great force that keeps us grounded on the earth, but we can intentionally develop our emotional intelligence with every action to become kinder, more aware and loving individuals. And that is a great force that will keep us grounded.  

Ask me how I can help you develop your emotional intelligence using the 4Ds and 4Ls. With my Leading with Clarity roadmap, you can develop healthy habits to lead with more clarity and purpose in your life.

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