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Roberta Ann Moore of EQ-i Coach: “Take inventory of relationships”

Something my clients tell me all the time as one of the most healing suggestions I’ve had for them is taking time once a day to write their thoughts in a journal. It can be as simple as a brief writing on what happened in your day and how it felt, or spending some time […]

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Something my clients tell me all the time as one of the most healing suggestions I’ve had for them is taking time once a day to write their thoughts in a journal. It can be as simple as a brief writing on what happened in your day and how it felt, or spending some time thinking on 3–5 things you’re grateful for. This is extremely helpful and getting your feelings up and out. When your feelings are in writing, then they’re out of your head and they become something tangible. This way, you can close the book and walk away which can allow for a feeling of detachment and peace.


Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “What We Can Do to Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Roberta Ann Moore.

Roberta Moore, founder of EQ-i Coach and author of Emotion at Work: Unleashing the Secret Power of Emotional Intelligence, utilizes her extensive background as an accomplished business executive and licensed therapist to help executives, business teams, and sales teams achieve workplace and personal success. As a therapist for nearly two decades and a member of the Forbes Council of Coaches, Moore’s experience has taught her that the key skills responsible for successful personal relationships are the same ones that spark workplace success. With this discovery, Moore has been able to help companies succeed by focusing on emotional and cognitive intelligence behaviors and tools. By using specific, practiced skills, individuals learn from Moore the EQ skills needed to inspire, engage, relate, and ultimately increase productivity and profitability. For more information, please visit https://www.eqicoach.com/.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Thank you for asking me this question, what happened in my childhood greatly contributes to the work I do today. I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mother had a serious mental illness that went undiagnosed because she and my father refused to recognize it. She was a very critical, angry person, and I was often her primary target. The worst thing she would say to me was that she was sorry that she had me as her daughter, and then continue to extol the virtues of my two younger sisters to me. She often told me that I was dumb because I didn’t clean the house as well as she did. She liked to say that her mother never taught her how to do anything, and she figured out housekeeping on her own, so she was not going to teach me either. A great upset to me was also one of my greatest blessings: to compensate for my mother’s treatment of me, I became studious and took school very seriously. I succeeded in getting good grades, which led me to earn the four degrees that I now have. Learning and curiosity gave me meaning and purpose, which led to self-motivation. I notice that these early experiences help me relate better to my clients, because there is always some hardship they face that I have endured and overcome myself.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

When I was young during my first career of accounting, a friend noticed that I was having difficulty with relationships at work and also in my personal life. She suggested I see her psychotherapist. Although at first, I was reluctant, it became painfully obvious that I needed help to see myself as others saw me and to become more emotionally mature. This woman’s name was Laura, and over time I’d say she served as a surrogate mother. She acted as a mirror for me. I would go in and tell her my stories, and she would help me sift and sort them out in order to help me see things more clearly. She gave me direct feedback about some of my poor choices and behaviors. She did it in a way that was both compassionate and honest. We formed a close bond, and through our work together I could figure out what I wanted in both a career and in my personal life. I credit her with helping me see that my heart wanted to help other people in their relationships the way she had helped me in mine. That seemed so much more compelling to me than a long term career in public accounting. So, I returned to school for the fourth time, and earned a degree in Marriage & Family Therapy so I could understand relationships and systems theory. I must add that she also introduced me to the concept of Emotional Intelligence by writing what she called a “Talk Paper” based on the work of Daniel Goleman. She gave me the paper and told me that she wrote it for me, because she hoped it would inspire me to develop my own emotional intelligence. I still have the yellowed copy of that paper today!

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Because of my work with Laura, I met the man who became my husband and we moved to follow his career opportunities. This was in the days before virtual counseling, so I had to find another therapist. This time I chose a strong, wise and gentle male who was a trained Jungian Analyst. Like me, he had lived in Europe. Moreover, he studied with Carl Jung himself. Jungian psychology is especially interesting to me because it embraces emotions as well as symbolism to create meaning and purpose in life. I was originally introduced to Jungian thought in high school when writing a paper on “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” and later by Laura. Working with Dr. Keith Parker was like continuing a thread and an ideal next step. We met while I was working on my Ed.S. Degree at Converse College in Spartanburg, while filming a video on Jungian-oriented therapy approaches. Months later, I traveled to his office when he granted me an interview. I was writing a paper for a pastoral counseling class, attempting to prove that Jungian therapy was an approach well-suited to the South (because the instructor did not think it was). Keith was a successful example of what I was trying to illustrate. It was during this encounter that I felt drawn to work with him. While Laura became a surrogate mother, Keith was a like a father to me. One of the things I always wanted to hear from my father was an encouraging phrase like “you can do it, Roberta” or “I am proud of your accomplishments”. While this never happened, I could feel support and encouragement in Keith’s compassionate words. In addition, he was already a successful published author, and gave me the support and encouragement I needed to write my book.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

Perhaps that would be my whole first career: becoming an accountant and a CPA. I am a people person, as you may have intuited by now. On the Myers Briggs, I am an ENFJ, which means I get a lot of my energy from interacting with people and listening to other ideas. Conversely, most successful accountants are introverts who enjoy working alone (with numbers whereas I prefer talking). Always persistent, I tried different ways at different firms to attempt to fit in, including performing the role of practice development. This was decades ago, before the time when public accounting changed and recognized they needed to employ salespeople dedicated solely to business development. In the old model, one had to be chargeable and billable to clients or else you were considered administrative. I was tasked with doing tax returns with a productivity goal while doing business development at the same time. I was too naïve to understand that serving two masters just wouldn’t work smoothly. When two different managing partners told me that I just didn’t have the personality of an accountant because I was too exuberant, I took the hint and left the accounting field. I learned that it is important to have emotional self-awareness, a good understanding of your skillset, and how to use it, in order to fully embrace yourself in your career. Ironically, the firms today have totally dedicated salespeople and I would like to believe I was just ahead of my time!

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

My husband and I are book people, and we’ve had to downsize and clear out our library collection several times during our marriage to make room for house moves or new books. I bet we own at least 400 physical books, so it is awfully hard to name just one. Growing up I lived in a wooded country-area several miles from the nearest town. I often felt lonely for company and isolated, so I buried myself in books and the characters became my imaginary friends. Back then, reading the Bible, especially the psalms, helped keep me glued together with hope. All of the Nancy Drew books were also my favorites. As I grew up and started my career after graduate school, I started a routine that I’ve kept even now: listening to self-help books on tape (okay, now in the digital age it is often podcasts or online radio shows) that dispel negativity and fill me with inspiration that lasts the whole day. I have been especially influenced by: Carl Jung, James Hollis, Steven J. Stein, Christiane Northrup, and Marion Woodman.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

There is an old adage that really fits my life: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again”. As a child, I was constantly seeking the approval of both my mother and father. Perhaps that’s another reason why I became so studious: I sought their acknowledgement and attention through accomplishment and achievement. My father was very accomplished as a successful CFO and CPA, in a well-known and privately held company. He used to take me to work with him when I was on school break as a youngster and his staff referred to me as “daddy’s little accountant” and that stuck with me. As he was the more nurturing parent, I especially wanted to be just like him, so I set my sights on becoming a CPA. You may remember that my mother was very critical of me and often told me I was dumb, so I had trouble believing that I could learn to do accounting and pass the CPA exam. In truth, math and numbers didn’t come as easily to me as music, language and verbal skills. When I got discouraged, my father used to tell me that there was only one way to learn accounting: “pushing the pencil”, which meant you just kept trying until you got it right. I am a very persistent person. I never give up, even when sometimes it might be in my best interests to do so; determination is my strength to a fault!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I recently became certified in an EQ-related assessment tool called the HRG: Hardiness Resilience Gauge and have created a workshop that helps people understand their ability to bounce back from hardship and keep going by cultivating their resiliency. This is a particularly popular subject since the advent of the pandemic and the stress of the current political divide. People who take the workshop have told me they gained practical tools that helped them better understand themselves and have resources to cope better during a crisis. In addition to that, I am creating a new workshop based on the need for self-empathy as well as building increased empathy skills. Cultivating empathy skills (as well as emotional self-awareness) helps people reach across an unconscious divide and better understand people who think and perceive differently from them. In this way, this workshop is a perfect support for diversity and inclusion efforts. I am currently being hired by healthcare and financial institutions to help their leaders develop these skills and I am excited by those opportunities

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Personally, I think about body, mind and spirit and practice habits that restore balance to all three. One of the most important things we can do for mental wellness is to rise early and spend time in quiet reflection and stillness before the rest of the world (or household) wakes up!

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

Yes! I believe early morning routines are very important because they set the tone for daily mental mindset, much like eating a healthy breakfast does for the diet. I rise early at 5:00, get my coffee and then read something spiritual for about 20 minutes. Then I switch to meditation. I heat an eye mask in the microwave and sit up straight in bed with a warm salon wrap on my lap. I use box breathing to get started, which means I inhale to a count of four, hold my breath for a count of four, exhale to a count of four, and pause for a count of four. I do about ten rounds like this and then I start a short tapping routine using the Emotional Freedom Technique. I then imagine my body is filling with divine light and love. I imagine being forgiven for any wrongdoings and I send my energy out around me like a beacon of light. I imagine being connected to the earth and all its peoples, and I pray for all of my clients, loved ones and humanity at large. This lasts for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then I get up and exercise. Sometimes it’s an hour’s walk with my husband if the weather is good, or else I do kundalini yoga or preset exercise routines using old CD’s from The Firm. It is essential every workday morning that I have two to three hours to myself, in order to fill up my mind, body, and spirit before I can begin my workday.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Physical wellness has always been a priority for me. Since childhood, I suffered from panic attacks that my doctor could not find a physical cause for or help me with them. The attacks almost always happened when I was engaged in strenuous physical activity, and it would feel like my body would just give out all of a sudden. Then I would faint or hyper-ventilate. When he could not find a physical cause, my doctor accused me of doing this on purpose to gain attention from my parents and teachers. I remember being hospitalized for a week as a teen because I was suffering from exhaustion. I was lying in the hospital bed, feeling hopeless, and the doctor came in and scolded me and told me to stop faking things. I felt humiliated and this further affected my low self-esteem. As I matured, I passionately took matters into my own hands. I researched and studied, trying to find the cause of these debilitating episodes. It took me years to figure it out and I eventually went to an endocrinologist who confirmed I had a severe thyroid problem. In the meantime, however, I researched and embraced exercise and nutrition. Daily exercise is important to strengthen your body and shake off the mental cobwebs. Personally, I rotate between walking, kundalini yoga, strength training with handheld weights, and cardio exercise for thirty to sixty minutes, six times per week. I also belong to a medical research group called Life Extension. As a member, I purchase lab tests at a discount and then have the results reviewed by a doctor on staff who makes recommendations for supplements. The supplements that I take to balance my neurotransmitters have made a significant increase in my quality of life. Thirdly, I make a special effort to eat nutritiously and I follow guidelines recommended for me specifically by my endocrinologist.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

Because of myHypothyroidism, I have struggled with poor digestion my whole life. I’ve been on many diets, one being the elimination diet for about 3 years, and it was very severe and no fun at all. Not only was it a terrible diet but for the 3 years that I was on it, I experienced little to no change at all. My thoughts on this question stem from my experience with that. People’s expectations for diets, including the doctors or nutritionists that may prescribe them, set the bar too high for themselves. There is a very all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to diets which I believe sets people up to overwhelm themselves into a state of preemptive defeat. They think if they can’t do any of it then they’ll do nothing of it. For example, if someone goes on a diet and eats a slice of cake, they might think “while now I blew it,” and go on to eat a whole bag of Oreos. My take on the best way to get over this blockage is the 80% method. If you go for eating 80% well instead of 100%, you’re going to have a much better chance at success because the bar is set at a more achievable level and there’s less pressure involved.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Having daily quiet time — using a journal

Something my clients tell me all the time as one of the most healing suggestions I’ve had for them is taking time once a day to write their thoughts in a journal. It can be as simple as a brief writing on what happened in your day and how it felt, or spending some time thinking on 3–5 things you’re grateful for. This is extremely helpful and getting your feelings up and out. When your feelings are in writing, then they’re out of your head and they become something tangible. This way, you can close the book and walk away which can allow for a feeling of detachment and peace.

Work on your emotional intelligence skills

In the model I use there are 16 different emotional intelligence skills that I am constantly practicing. Even if you’re unaware of all the different emotional intelligence skills there are, you can start with working on your self-regard. Self-regard is a foundation skill that will allow you to expand into other facets of emotional intelligence and ultimate lead to a higher sense of emotional well-being.

Take inventory of relationships

Decide if there are any to let go of or any you should foster more. This also counts for relationships with organizations as well. I used to be a part of an organization where I held a position as an officer which demanded a lor of work and time. It became an all-consuming thing for me to be a part of. Even though I loved this organization and wanted to continue to support them, I made the difficult decision of stepping away. Though it was hard, immediately I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders and regained so much emotional and physical energy back.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

I know you’ve heard the saying that if you can’t do something, “fake it till you make it”? Well, I feel that way about the effect that smiling has on our moods and dispositions. I think that moving those muscles in our face activates neural pathways that signal our brain to release the neurotransmitters that give us a mood boost! I often explain to my clients that you can choose what you feel, and you can choose your mood. Often, this is counterintuitive to them and they tell me they don’t understand because we’ve been told that our feelings and moods choose us. Guess what? That’s not true. You can generate your own feelings and moods. Here is an example: if you are in a down mood and want to feel happier, think about someone you love. It could even be your pet. Puppies are almost always sure smile inducers and you can’t stay down when thinking about them. These neurotransmitters then promote relaxation and combat stress, which is great for your emotional and physical wellness.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

The first good habit is it is essential for spiritual wellness to believe in and care about something greater than ourselves. This can be different things for different people: God, a “force” like the universe, an ideal such as peace, kindness or goodness. Perhaps it doesn’t matter as much what it is, but rather that it is something you contemplate and continue to ponder because it is part of a greater mystery. The second would be regular journaling. If part of being spiritual is becoming all that you could be, or developing into the best version of yourself, then regularly examining your feelings, thoughts, and daily experiences is critical to accomplishing that goal. My clients often tell me that this activity was the most expedient tool or healing part of their journey. Thirdly, writing down, analyzing and examining your nighttime dreams would be very similar. One of the ways our unconscious mind (the giant tape recorder in our brains that categorizes everything that has ever happened to us) speaks to us in in our dreams. It speaks in a foreign language, and it is up to us to take the time to figure out what the symbology means. An example would be that when I was trying to decide whether to change careers and become a Marriage and Family Therapist, I had an extraordinary dream that involved being on an out of control sled careening towards the bottom of the hill. I jumped off so I could drink some orange juice. In real life, I chose to leave my career in public accounting and go back to school to get my E.D.’s. in Marriage & Family Therapy. In so doing, I saved myself.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

Being out in nature is healthy for our physical bodies and soothing to our souls. Because we witness the cycle of death and rebirth by watching the seasons change, we feel a sense of renewal. We can sense an energy at work that is greater than us, and that engenders respect for things that are mysterious. Mother nature can be sweet and mild in a beautiful sunset or horrible and terrifying in a hurricane or a storm. She can simultaneously inspire awe as well as fear and she is spontaneously unpredictable. Participating in nature helps us be more human.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

As I already hinted at, I value the role that empathy skills can play at helping people of different perspectives understand, accept, and respect each other. It would be my dream that every leader (corporate, political, church/faith, even parents) would learn about Emotional Intelligence and want to take an EQ assessment to determine their level of empathy. Then if they fell short, they’d want to get the coaching and do the skill-building to increase their skill to a high level. If every leader had high empathy (balanced with high assertiveness and self-regard), I could imagine a world where we were more collaborative, cooperative and less judgmental.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would want to sit down and talk with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, who has openly shared in various interviews how important emotional intelligence (particularly the skill of empathy) has been in his life and career. One of my favorite quotes came from him speaking to students on NDTV: “In the long run, EQ trumps IQ”. I would like to know if he would agree with me that emotional intelligence training should be required learning and a prerequisite for graduation from universities or even from high school!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

My website, www.eqicoach.com, is a great place to keep up with my speaking events and new services, learn more about emotional intelligence in general, and sign up for my e-newsletter, where I share tips and resources on improving emotional intelligence and becoming more productive and successful. People can also follow EQ-i Coach on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council, where I regularly contribute articles about the role of emotional intelligence in our personal and professional lives.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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