The Heart Behind It

I have attempted five degrees and not finished one. When I finished high school, I simply couldn’t narrow down every single interest of mine into a single degree. So, for eight years, I have been playing the game of process of elimination! I have worked full time, part time, two jobs, no jobs, studied the whole time, volunteered across numerous areas (and applied to volunteer for a trillion more) and let’s not forget my portfolio of projects that I like to have on the go – just in case I get bored, as well as still maintaining a social life and hobbies.

My argument has been that I don’t want to be an “average Joe”, so I have justified running on the treadmill even when I needed to get off. My justification for continuing to study meant that I could hide behind feeling embarrassed about my lack of a cool career to say “oh, but I’m becoming someone great!”.

Forward to three weeks’ time and I will finish my sixth attempted degree in business. It is an absolute miracle and only by the grace of God! I am absolutely stoked, and yet, the last couple of months the question of what I’ll hide behind next year is slowly creeping up from my subconscious into a loud insecurity. It has continued to bring me back to the question of who I am and why I do what I do (which truthfully, I am grateful is being exposed by this insecurity!). I have the ability and the opportunity to reflect, observe and listen – and then choose – how those emotions and thoughts are reflected in my behaviour and thought life.

So, why, Elyce? Why is this important and what’s it got to do with emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

  1. Emotional intelligence skills may not proceed a healthy self-image, but a healthy self-image combined with a maturing emotional intelligence skill-set will likely increase your capacity to work efficiently, love well, and serve others. On the days, or weeks, or months, that I take responsibility of my self-confidence and self-talk to be in a healthy place, my ability to align my self-awareness, communication, relating with others and even ability to hope about my future becomes more effective in loving myself and others well. We’re designed to thrive, and a healthy self-image is key in this.
  2. As children, we have needs. These are major needs that if not met will hinder our development later in life. One theory, or goal post, is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pictured below. When we experience a deficit in any of these areas, we can carry this into our adult life and it has the potential to impact many areas of our lives.


{We are imperfect and wonderful creatures; please don’t hear me saying that imperfection will create chaos in your world. Unhealthy behaviours will create chaos in your world.}

Sometimes as a way of coping from our areas of lack of deficiency, we create unhealthy behaviours. I need to be aware of the fact that when my insecurities around my identity are triggered, my unhealthy behaviour can be to pick up projects or go looking for opportunities for validation, and get ‘back on the treadmill’.

Action Points

  • Deal with your stuff. Have a think about insecurities that come up in your work environment, in your family life, in your relationships – you may recognise a pattern. Listen to your self-talk, it will tell you something. Notice how you feel after you speak things over yourself.
  • Often, we are not aware of something others can plainly see. If you’re brave enough, consider asking people that you trust in your life about what they perceive. What do you get defensive about?
  • What is your default emotion (Ie. The emotion that appears to be your first emotion in conflict) and ‘why’?
  • Are you aware of your needs, and can you ask for what you need? Reflect on whether asking for your need gives you more or less energy.


  • Podcast: Carey Niewhof Leadership Podcast | ‘CNLP Bonus 016: My Advice for Young Leaders and Developing Your Character with Doug Smith’
  • Book: ‘Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication and Boundaries’ by Danny Silk

Keep a healthy heart.