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WO! That’s a HUGE emoji face! 😆

I debated on searching for a much smaller version, so to avoid being pictorially obnoxious, then the loud, screen filling imagery of this silly face emoji gave me the same “feeling” I wanted this blog to give you.


Isn't it interesting how little interruptions of humor like this can change the course of our mood, a stressful morning or even our day? If they do anything at all these interruptions INTERRUPT the flow of our day just long enough to give us a much-needed lift.

They swoop in!

SMACK into our cerebral like a quick slap to the face.

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Delivering just enough jolt of energy to lift our spirits momentarily.

But what if they’re not pleasant or funny?

Those kind have the power to derail an entire day or more if we allow them right? Jerk cuts in front of us in traffic. Last minute task gets emailed you at 4:30 on Friday.

Truth is… interruptions are uninvited and out of our control. Yet our reactions to them belong to us. No matter when, who, where, how the interruptions sneak into our day what comes next in the form of our reaction is 100%…our…choice.

We get to chose!

So when it comes to our emotional reactions that control our day, why do we sometimes make poor choices?

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For years I’ve been giving talks on the topic of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). It’s something I made consistently bad choices in my reactions with. My lack of knowledge around it, and lack of practicing high Emotional Intelligence, nearly cost me my career as a military officer.

In 2012, I’m in Afghanistan on a deployment to support U.S. and NATO country’s ground troops with U.S. Air Force unmanned aircraft. You know them as “drones”. These were just bigger and more expensive. Like a lot more…

I was sitting at my very old, very worn, very beat up metal desk (the kind of desk where the bottom drawer doesn’t open or close properly) with my computer in front of me in the middle of the desk, stack of papers to my left and the phone to my right. As I laid the phone down slowly to hang up the only thought in my mind at the time was…

“I’m about to be kicked out of the military” 😞

The reason that thought took over all of the real estate in my mind at that moment was because I had just finished a call with a VERY ANGRY Lieutenant Colonel, I’m a 1st Lieutenant at this time (3 ranks below the Lt Col), who informed me, with a volume so loud and pace that would make auctioneers blush, that my career would be over if he could make it so.

“You’re unprofessional! You’re hot headed! You won’t make it as an officer!”


He felt this such way because earlier I had dished out the same volume and the same pace rivaling any auctioneer out there on another 1st Lieutenant who happened to work for said heated Lt Col. And the reason the Lt Col knew what I yelled out at this other colleague of mine was because he was sitting next to him and heard everything.

They teach you how to use your “Command Voice” early in your military career. Don’t think they meant it was for this purpose. 😄

See…this colleague of mine had been using his connections and proximity to this higher ranking person to his advantage for months. Anytime he needed something from us, his peers, he would just simply pick up the phone and tell us, not ask, what we were going to do and when we were going to do it.

“Colonel’s orders.” Was his final jab before ending ever call.

Like Napoleon on his ivory tower, this guy would use his boss’s rank to get things done and when the credit was due take a wild guess who gladly accepted it.


Until I had enough.

On this particular day I was DONE with his schemes, talking down to me, all of it!

I went COMPLETELY NUCLEAR on this guy!!!

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In the matter of 1 minute (maybe 2 max) I let him have every single bit of my frustration that had been building up for months. I remember thinking while I was going off “Josh don’t even stop to breathe! If you take a breath you’ll give him a window to speak and HE’S NOT GETTING A CHANCE TO TALK!!”


I slammed the phone down! Took my much needed breath and sat down. Yeah I stood up to delivery that verbal smack down.

While it felt “good” to relieve some stress in those few minutes the months that followed were a much different feeling. I had to spend the rest of my deployment convincing my superiors and my colleagues I was more than just a hot head. I could actually get the job done and get along with everyone.

In the end I was able to build a new image, but I feel that incident followed me around for a while. If only I had been more Proactive with my Emotional Intelligence instead of Reactive I could have avoided a lot of headache of making up for lost ground and nearly losing my military career.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been giving talks on this topic of Emotional Intelligence and that personal story has been the launching point for some of them. It wasn’t until recently that my focus points during each talk shifted.

After some reflection, I realized during my talks I was delivering a few good takeaways the audience could apply during a heated situation. BUT that’s too late!! During a heated moment or a touchy situation with someone is not the time to be thinking about high or low EQ tolerance.

When our emotions kick in it becomes REALLY HARD to slow them down enough to think and adjust.

So I thought… Studied… Wrote… Thought some more… Bounced some ideas off trusted friends in the personal development, psychology and counseling worlds. And decided to change my Emotional Intelligence talk entirely including its title.

“Emoji Intelligence”

is the new proactive plan for preparing ourselves for the moments WHEN life’s unexpected, intense interruptions land on our front lawn unannounced.

After all, instead of being reactive it’s better to be proactive.

The reason for “Emoji” is because I believe this grand idea of Emotional Intelligence, while extremely important, should be fun and easy to remember not complicated or scholarly. We need to prepare ourselves and know what to do in the blink of an eye because that’s all the time our emotions give us.

Plus! Dale Carnegie taught us 106 years ago that “People think in Pictures” meaning if we can put a picture to something we give ourselves a far greater chance at remembering it. We teach this in our Skills for Success Program from day one when we introduce a methodology into a room of strangers which gives them the skill to remember every single person’s name after just meeting them for the first time. It’s really awesome!!

So because people think in pictures, and because operating with a high healthy emotional intelligence is important enough for our careers, our relationships and our health I decided to change my talk inside and out so the audience can actually retain and use it at a moment’s notice.

Inside the “Emoji Intelligence” talk I lay out, and we dive into, 3 Decisions you and I should commit to in order to take a proactive approach to our emotional responses:

For the purpose of this blog (which is already too lengthy now 😬) we will talk about the first and most important place to start.

Decide to Be More Aware

Nothing is more important to improving your circumstances than to possess a heightened sense of Awareness. If we aren’t “aware” that we need a new skill, or even what this new helpful skill is, then we are what I refer to Blissfully Oblivious there’s even an issue holding us back. Noel Burch refers to it as “Unconsciously Unskilled” in his Conscious Competence Ladder.

It’s sort of like hopping in your car to set off on a trip. You’re excited about the trip. You’re getting away for a bit, and you can’t wait to get there! Then you realize after you’ve been driving for a little bit you have no idea where your destination is nor have you put anything into the GPS.

You would never do that right?!

So when it comes to being a better version of ourselves the approach should be similar to setting off on a road trip.

1st — Identify the destination. aka the type of person we want to be perceived as (yep perception is reality) by others. Pick 3 Characteristics you want to come to mind when people think of you. For example mine are:

2nd — To avoid being like a corporate office that has posters on the walls of some mountain range or beach with one single word like “Teamwork” “Perseverance” “Trust” on them which we have no idea what they mean for us or how they fit in our work, let’s put some language to your 3 Characteristics. Let’s give them life. This could be a single sentence or multiple. It just has to FIT you and your world. For example:

3rd — Like a GPS, with your destination on it, stays somewhere within your field of view so you know where you’re going and you can check your progress we should also keep these 3 Characteristics and their description near us. Perhaps in your car, on your office desk, next to your keys so you can see them before you begin your work day. Whichever makes the most sense for you.

By keeping these words we’ve chosen and their description that fits us the best near us we’ll be reminded often to Decide to be More Aware of our emotional control. What we get out of doing these things is setting ourselves up for success when choosing our emotional responses throughout the day.

Picture your emotional response menu you have available to choose from:

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If you can visualize this menu (or other versions for my Android friends out there 😆) to choose from plus your 3 Characteristics you’ve committed to, then you are now proactively in control of your emotional responses when circumstance INTERRUPT your day.

Some would say this was my emotional response when that annoying colleague of mine had pushed my button for the last time…

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When I hung up with the very angry, much higher ranking supervisor who was threatening my career, this was more like me prescribed emotion…

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Now, by Deciding to be More Aware and using my 3 Characteristics as a guide I know now I have a menu full of emotional options (proactive) instead of one I’m forced into (reactive).

At the time of my deployment, I didn’t know my reactive cage didn’t have to be where I resided all the time or that I put myself in there. I found out later that what kept me out of that cage were proactive decisions. I could decide.

So my advice to you is…

PS: To learn more about the full “Emoji Intelligence” talk connect with me HERE

Thanks for reading. I hope this helps you in your proactive journey forward! If it did, then please share it with others who would benefit from their reading experience.

To Your Success,

Josh Bledsoe

Talent Development Specialist

Dale Carnegie Training

Believer | Blessed husband and dad | Talent Development Specialist at Dale Carnegie Training | USAF Reserve Officer | Better version today than yesterday

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