08/05/2014 11:17 am ET Updated Oct 05, 2014

What's Your Boomer EQ? Part 3

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Motivation! Part 3 of learning successful Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills is affirming your motivation for healthy emotions. Motivation is what causes us to act.

Having accomplished "Part 1, Know Yourself," and Part 2, Manage Yourself, it's time to determine if you are motivated to develop better relationships with others.

A nonprofit organization where I volunteered had a Board President who was a retired statistician. He prided himself in his autocratic leadership style, and whenever he would rub people the wrong way (which was quite frequently), he would say, 'But I'm a statistician.' Translation -- don't blame me if I can't relate to others; I work with numbers! Unfortunately, the organization lost volunteers who were turned off by the Board President's (lack of) leadership style.

Making a case for maintaining behavior which causes difficulties suggests there is a payoff for that behavior. In the case of the statistician, his payoff was never having to expend energy to learn to get along with others AND he ran off volunteers who might disagree with him.

We all know people who are self-sacrificing for their friends and relatives. Often, these individuals sacrifice their resources at the expense of themselves -- finances, housing, emotional energy -- and then complain about it later. I call this rescuing behavior the 'martyr of the year' syndrome. The obvious payoff for this behavior is finding glory in self-sacrifice -- even if it causes personal suffering.

Enough already. Let's examine motivation for healthy behavior.

When I was facilitating a group of parents who were in the middle of separating from their spouses, I asked them: What is the payoff for healthier behavior in the midst of difficulties? Here are some of their answers:

1. You eat and sleep better
2. Your self-esteem improves
3. You are not distracted from work or from parenting
4. You model healthier behavior for your children
5. Your improve your physical health
6. You maintain your sense of humor
7. You become adaptable to new situations
8. You reduce risk for substance abuse.

Remember, items on this list were articulated by adults in the middle of a crisis. Even in the midst of the emotional confusion created by divorce or separation, they could identify motivating factors which would stimulate their desire to change unhealthy behaviors.

Every item on the list is applicable to Boomers. Improved health, emotional stability, willingness to risk new experiences and overall well-being must be priorities for individuals who have spent a lifetime attending to the well-being of others.

Become your own cheerleader. Get motivated!

And for you Boomers who would like to introduce your grandchildren to EQ, remember, they are never too young to begin practicing healthy emotions. There are many EQ resources online for youngsters, but here is one newly developing: .

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