23 Signs You’re Emotionally Intelligent & Destined for Success

Screen Shot 2013 09 04 at 11.42.07 AM 23 Signs Youre Emotionally Intelligent & Destined for Success
Image courtesy of Flickr user RoyBluementhal

Soft skills — what are they, anyway? And which ones are essential to a successful career? Dan Schawbel has the answer in his new book, Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.

(Dan also happens to be one of the people I especially enjoyed meeting along the way in my QUIET book tour. He’s a very thoughtful interviewer, and a truly nice guy.)

23 Signs You’re Emotionally Intelligent & Destined for Success:

  • The ability to listen and to speak to the “human needs” of coworkers and customers and make them feel understood and respected
  • Ability to build relationships and connect with others on a deep level
  • Good conversation skills
  • The ability to propose solutions to problems, not just talk about problems
  • Meaningfully contribute to brainstorming
  • Ability to write well
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Being a team player
  • Being likeable
  • Self-confidence
  • Strong work ethic
  • Optimism/positive attitude
  • Good communication skills
  • Storytelling abilities for presentations
  • Time management abilities
  • Being good at “reading” people
  • Exercise tact when delivering a message

In addition to “soft” skills, Dan says “hard” skills and internet savvy are also crucial to the development of a successful career. Can you claim those strengths too?


I believe it’s possible to employ each of these skills in an authentically QUIET manner. Do you agree?



  1. Bruno on 04.09.2013 at 12:41 (Reply)

    Hello Mrs. Cain

    I must say that now you have spoiled my life. I’m immensely shy and now I also know that I’m not emotionally intelligent. Thank you very much!

    1. Alasdair on 04.09.2013 at 20:53 (Reply)

      How does being shy, even extremely shy prevent you from found any of the following well: writing well, solving problems, listening well, having a strong work ethic, exercising tact, being the person who sees solutions rather than just problems?

      1. Bruno on 05.09.2013 at 02:18 (Reply)

        I didn’t said that being shy prevent me of found those signs. I said that I don’t have any of them.

  2. Zach on 04.09.2013 at 15:56 (Reply)

    Am I missing something or are there only 17 “signs” listed here?

  3. Jeff on 04.09.2013 at 16:25 (Reply)

    I have very few of the “skills” you associate with high emotional intelligence. If I am not mistaken emotions are feelings which are based on chemical reactions, produced in the brain, whereas intelligence occurs through a series of electrical impulses in the brain. Perhaps the two words are incongruous. Irregardless, it seems as though the skills you reference are generally attributed to extroverts. I too take offense that my IE doesnt pass muster. I do appreciate your site though and look forward to more updated.

    1. Cheryl on 04.09.2013 at 19:40 (Reply)

      I take issue with your observation that many of the skills listed in the post are “extroverted” attributes. Building relationships and connecting to people? Having self-confidence? Using tact? Writing well? Being likeable and positive? Listening to and assessing the human needs of your customers, co-workers, constituents? THESE are skills only extroverts can master? Absolutely not. C’mon, Jeff, give introverts a break here!

      1. Jeff on 05.09.2013 at 08:54 (Reply)

        No Cheryl, these are not skills that only extroverts can master. I possess many of them myself. However, some are skills that come easier to outgoing people. To be a good storyteller in a group setting is not something I aspire to. Being a team player? I work better alone or in a one on one situation. Even the title of the book “Promote Yourself” is geared toward being extroverted. If I don’t meet this criteria of having high emotional intelligence does this mean I am not successful? Whose definition of success are we using? To me understanding that my preference of being alone or in a one on one situation is where I am most comfortable is success. It took years to come to that understanding and I have no desire to “learn” new methods of relating to others. Actually it seems that this is a book about how introverted people can learn to fit in an exrovrted world.

    2. John Delano on 05.09.2013 at 01:35 (Reply)

      “I too take offense that my IE doesnt pass muster.”
      That is a statement worth analyzing.

  4. Richard on 04.09.2013 at 18:55 (Reply)

    As an Introvert I find it difficult to assess these skills, but there are some aspects that I can relate to and others I find difficult such as Conversation Skills. Other people usually tell me what skills I have but I know I underestimate myself.

  5. Autar Kaw on 04.09.2013 at 21:07 (Reply)

    I would like all readers to know that introverted and shy are not synonymous.

    1. kiwimusume on 06.09.2013 at 05:57 (Reply)

      Did someone on this thread say they ARE synonymous? All I’m seeing is a couple of people who said that THEY were shy, not that introversion and shyness are the same.

  6. JBHegehog on 04.09.2013 at 21:28 (Reply)

    I have 13 of these traits (and a number in spades!)…still don’t feel like much of a success.

  7. Fiona on 05.09.2013 at 04:18 (Reply)

    I’ve never felt like I’ve fitted into a box - how can you outwardly appear loud| fun loving| party type | on the outside and secretly know you have to force yourself into this other person when you really want to be quiet| caring |leave me alone? It’s a real dilemma to sit between “I know what I want to be seen as” but I just can’t bring myself to do it. At the end of it all I can only be who I am and accept that some people aren’t going to “get It” - their loss not mine :-)

  8. Sara on 05.09.2013 at 09:48 (Reply)

    I am extremely introverted but feel as though I possess most of these attributes. I think these traits are something many introverted people already possess, but they may not come across to others in the same way that extroverts do. For example, I work at a public library, where you have to work with people all day long. I’ve heard people remark on how quiet I am, but I’ve also had people tell others that when I helped them with their computer questions, that I was “so friendly” and that they always came in during my shifts. In fact, just yesterday, I walked in at the beginning of my shift and didn’t even have time to set down my purse in the back office, because three people were at the desk, waiting for me to help them. While I think some of the traits mentioned in this list might be easier for a more outgoing person to muster (team player), I do think some might be easier for introverts (connect emotionally on a deep level). Overall, I think having empathy helps anyone master most of these traits just be default, and of course, we all have room for improvement. You simply have to care about others and their welfare enough to extend a hand in the workplace, so-to-speak. You don’t have to do it in the same way extroverts do.

  9. Wolfkiss on 05.09.2013 at 11:34 (Reply)

    23 Items? What about the ability to count?

    Yes, I know, that’s not contributing meaningfully. Some of us outliers have our place on a successful team though too.

  10. Fuzzy Dunlop on 05.09.2013 at 17:36 (Reply)

    I’m extremely introverted /and/ extremely shy; they are related in ways, but not the same thing, and not always co-present.

    I honestly have to say I was sort of distressed by reading this list. “Ability to build relationships and connect with others on a deep level” is something that I already knew I was not good at and that thus created a lot of shame, sadness, and other problems. Same goes for “Good conversation skills.” Same for “Being likeable,” “self-confidence,” “Optimism,” and “Being good at “reading” people.” I just don’t have those skills/suck at/am not interested in/find it extremely uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking to do these things.

    On the other hand, I do possess strong writing skills, am comfortable with and adept at leading presentations in front of groups of people, and not too shabby when it comes to some of the remaining points.

    So what’s my point? I don’t know. I guess to jsut say to those who are feeling equally bothered by this list that you’re not alone, and to remind us all to remember and value our “good”/healthy/positive traits and skills and abilities — we all have plenty of those.

    Moving forward, it would be interesting to hear of strategies through which one can improve one’s “emotional intelligence” and overall well-being. At first glance it seems like many of the points above are the diametric opposite of what people who struggle with depression, shyness/social anxiety, obsessiveness, and shame (to name a few examples) tend to experience… It also calls to mind the question of whether being a “people person” and “likeable” and good at forming deep social bonds and deft at conversation are innate qualities, can be learned or improved on, or both.

    1. kiwimusume on 06.09.2013 at 05:52 (Reply)

      “I guess to jsut say to those who are feeling equally bothered by this list that you’re not alone, and to remind us all to remember and value our “good”/healthy/positive traits and skills and abilities — we all have plenty of those.”

      Thank you for writing this, I really needed to hear it.

  11. Oaken on 06.09.2013 at 02:20 (Reply)

    And the 24th sign is (like this page) you are able to put all 23 signs on a single page so people don’t have to click, click, click!

  12. Rich Day on 06.09.2013 at 11:01 (Reply)

    I feel for those who have expressed not having these skills, I do not have to imagine this feeling. In the presence of the kind of fear and discomfort that sometimes accompanies either shyness, or introversion we cannot possible accurately view our strengths. I promise you this: Fear is a great imposter, who sits on our shoulders and whispers lies and half-truths in our ears. Do not listen to fear. I do not believe there is anyone who does not have some of these skills, but I believe there are many, many people whose great gifts remain latent and hidden from them. The environment needed to express our own voice is compassion and love. Sorry to be so touchy-feely, but it’s true! When the pressure is on, and fear is present, give yourself a break. Smile on yourself, and while you’re at it, smile on your neighbor too. Moses himself felt the same, no skills he thought, but in the metaphor that records his call to action, he was asked to give only that simple thing that he had, (a shepards staff), and it worked wonders. We all have a voice, a skill with an unique timbre. We may not see it clearly at the moment, but we see it more and more clearly at those moments when we smile at ourselves and others.

    1. Damian on 06.09.2013 at 14:56 (Reply)

      Thanks for this.

  13. Jacoby on 03.10.2013 at 13:26 (Reply)

    I think I too was introverted much as a young boy, especially during elementary school. Not recalling that I was necessarily shy, but I had nothing to say. Accepted into Gateway, a program for students who could pick up on ideas quicker than average students, in first grade much of my time went to school projects and reading. I enjoyed school as a child. Going into fifth grade and middle school, I became more rebellious and school was more of a waste of time. I also hated reading. My middle school did not push me as much as my elementary school did and the Gateway program could probably be equated to a special Ed or general class. In other words, little work, a lot of fun. I think my extroverted abilities became more apparent in middle school and high school. I now work at Brookshires Grocery Company, where like other businesses, customer service is on a top priority basis. Not to brag, but I have been complimented on the phenomenal customer service I provide.

    Therefore, these signs should come with the note that anything can be learned or unlearned, just as my transition as an introverted young boy and now an extroverted 18yo.

    I am also on a mission right now to relearn my “introvertedness” if you will. I am trying to read more books and spend more time alone, but am not sure whether or not this is working. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  14. Jimmy on 22.01.2014 at 20:28 (Reply)

    I agree.


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Quiet: The Book

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Bill Gates names "The Power of Introverts" one of his all-time favorite TED Talks.

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