Many executives are so immersed in their daily tasks that they crash and burn without advance warning.

Did you know it doesn’t have to be so?

Do you know how to observe yourself and spot when you are going to step into the arena of crash and burn?

Do you know that you can avoid it?

In the video, I showed you how I was able to help a senior executive with whom I worked for an 9 months and who had been off work for 9 months prior to starting work with me.

How did I help him?

I helped him on three levels: develop a greater level of self-awareness, practice blatant self-honesty, and observe himself in a particular way, that is, reflect on his thoughts, feelings and emotions in a particular way.

As a consequence, he got to know himself so well that he became his own sentinel. Not only he was able to spot when he was about to step into the arena of crash and burn, he was also completely tooled up and able to head back to work.

What is Crash and Burn?

The very words “crash and burn” implies subscription to a most extreme form of behaviour.

This is the crux of the matter: You don’t have to subscribe. You have a choice that is implied in the word subscribe.

However sometimes, we feel thrown into a situation, so much so that the situation compels us to behave in a particular way. Crash and Burn then implies moving away from choice and diving into compulsion.

To be able to regain choice and move away from compulsion, we need to develop Emotional Intelligence.

One aspect of Emotional Intelligence which enables us to do this is the concept of self-regulation.

According to Daniel Goleman, the best-selling author of “Emotional Intelligence,” self-regulation is made up of five emotional competences:

  1. Self-control – the ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check,
  2. Trustworthiness – maintaining standards of honesty and integrity,
  3. Conscientiousness – taking responsibility for personal performance,
  4. Adaptability – flexibility in handling change, and finally,
  5. Innovation – being comfortable with novel ideas, approaches and information.

Together, these five emotional competences facilitate the steering of emotions from compulsion to choice.

So how does this happen?

1. The first step is the practice of Self-control.

This is where Mindfulness comes in.

The practice of Mindfulness, of “in the moment awareness,” lets you see when compulsion arises. The onus is then on the individual to practice Choice.

This is not about suppressing or avoiding distressing emotions. This is about allowing situation appropriate emotions.

For example, if your best friend just mentioned that her mother had passed away, you would not greet her with passivity. You might want to share in her sadness. Equally, if a presentation has not gone well at work, it might not be a good idea to throw your laptop out of the window.

You choose how you behave, but this has to be appropriate to what is happening in the moment.

Being able to observe yourself closely, watching what arises and being in the driving seat of what is happening is an ongoing practice.

In actual fact, it is an education because feelings teach and inform. Feelings carry valuable information, so if you deny or repress them, you lose that information. Self-regulation, then, empowers you to choose a different approach.

2. What does Trustworthiness have to do with Self-regulation?

Well, people who are in control of their behaviours and impulses have the capacity to make others feel safe.


Because when someone’s in charge of their own feelings and emotions, it feels like they are not about to kick off at any moment. The people who practice this, usually have a measured view of whatever is happening at the time. With them you won’t get the feeling that a laptop is going to fly past the window at any moment.

Practitioners of this competency are usually honest with themselves about what they are feeling. They maintain a level of integrity about how they are in the world, even if the emotions that are rushing through them in the moment may not be the most exciting and amazing. You could say that the practice of self-regulation also promotes standards of honesty and integrity.

3. What about Conscientiousness?

Our thoughts drive our emotions which drive our actions. Everything begins with a thought, and each person has a choice about what they think.

All of these things lead to a certain level of Conscientiousness. Again, Choice rears its head here. Taking responsibility for personal behaviour and performance is part of being conscientious.

4. How does Adaptability fit in?

Life is full of ambiguity and change. In fact, the one constant in life is change. People who have mastered their emotions are able to roll with the changes in life and work. The competence of being able to Adapt to what is happening in one’s world means there is less panic and more control over emotions.

5. The same is true for Innovation.

Individuals with this competence are comfortable with novel ideas, approaches and information. They already practicing the other four competences of self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness and adaptability.

With technology transforming work and personal life at a dizzying pace, those who choose to live from this space do not panic. Instead, they are able to suspend judgement, ask questions in a particular way, listen in a particular way and take control about what happens for them.

This mindset creates a different and possibly superior way of living life. It allows you to come from a place of knowing and confidence instead of adherence to triggers and loss of inner control.

Now, as confidence has come into the frame, we can see that the practice of self-regulation has the potential to lead to multiple benefits on the personal development front.

Becoming emotionally intelligent, then, develops your five competences, which, in turn, lead to a higher level of self-awareness.

How does this help you avoid crash and burn?

With a higher level of self-awareness, you observe your own behaviours, notice your triggers and practice blatant self-honesty. Knowing yourself really well empowers you to become your own Emotional Sentinel and avoid crash and burn.

If you want to explore further how you can achieve this level of awareness that helps you avoid crash and burn, call me on for a consultation on 07983 164 667, or click here to complete the contact form. I look forward to talking with you.