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Emotion Chef - A New Resume Skill?

According to Psychology Today, emotional intelligence is "the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others." The emerging science of constructed emotions provides the understanding and skills you need to increase your emotional intelligence.

Constructing Emotions

According to the theory of constructed emotion, our emotional responses don't happen to us; we construct them, especially in the workplace.

"In every waking moment, your brain uses experience, organized as concepts, to guide your actions and give your sensations meaning. When the concepts involved are emotion concepts, your brain constructs instances of emotion."

Instead of emotions happening to you - you construct them using a kind of emotion recipe.

For example: 

Walking in the park with a friend, you both see a dog walking towards you. You experience a feeling of joy, and your companion experiences fear. The emotion recipe of joy is based on your experience of having family dogs. You may or may not recall a specific doggie memory, but your brain cooked up the emotion recipe "joy". On the other hand, your friend's traumatic incident of being bitten by a dog brought up the emotion recipe "fear" without recalling the actual event.

Our subconscious catalogs external and internal sensory input, categorized into concepts and associated with an emotion word

This happens for every event we encounter - every emotion we experience. Our brain uses these stored concepts to elicit an emotion - and it happens quickly. Our emotions are generated by the brain 30 seconds before we experience the emotion.

This means that emotional intelligence is constantly growing and evolving - and it plays a huge role in our ability to hold jobs, complete tasks, and have relationships. 

This is amplified in the workplace. In fact, in a recent CNBC article, the value of emotional intelligence was further shown to directly impact the workplace, from promotions to ability: 

  • Nearly 90% of top performers have a higher level of emotional intelligence.
  • Emotional intelligence accounts for 90% of career advancements when IQ and technical skills are roughly similar.
  • Emotional intelligence is responsible for 58% of your job performance.
  • People with high emotional intelligence make $29,000 more, on average, than their counterparts.
  • Almost 85% of your financial success is due to human engineering skills, personality, and the ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Only 15% of your financial success is due to technical ability.

The construction theory of emotions is very empowering.  

As demonstrated in the story of the oncoming dog, the dog may be as sweet as can be, allowing your friend to either change the recipe or stay with the original recipe of fear. 

If the friend was able to make the distinction that this dog is kind and friendly, approach the dog with caution, and assign a different emotional experience, "I feel safe," this just created a new emotion recipe.

What is an Emotion Chef?

As you have discovered, emotions are changeable - especially when you know the “emotion recipe.”

But what makes an Emotion Chef?

By definition, a chef has experienced a full array of flavors, taste combinations, foods at their peak of maturity, seasonings, and texture combinations. 

The chef’s palate is so fine-tuned that they can taste food and identify the ingredients.

Becoming an Emotion Chef is similar. Emotion Chefs can distinguish their emotions and fine-tune their emotion recipes. 

This happens when emotional granularity -- the ability to label our emotions precisely -- is developed. A key method for acquiring this skill is by adding emotion words to our vocabulary. Each word is another invitation to construct your experiences in new ways.

The more emotion words we have to “cook” with, the greater our emotional granularity. 

And, with emotional granularity comes resilience. 

The trick to emotional granularity and workplace resilience isn't just adding words; it’s learning to "cook" with the inherent tools we already have at our disposal - in the same way that you use kitchen tools to execute a recipe - to help everyone better manage the emotion recipes that we produce.

This is why I developed the courses and workshops I offer to provide small, actionable steps for increasing emotional intelligence. For more details, visit

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