Baseline Behavior, Behavioral Deviations

Behavioral Baselines and Deviations: Their Role in Emotional Intelligence

Baseline Behavior, Behavioral Deviations

By Starla

September 26, 2019

 Minute Read

A Quick Story

Our little Abbi Lou wasn't feeling well a couple of weeks ago, so I took her to the vet.

When Dr. Rice entered the room, she asked, "Same thing? Another UTI?"

"No, I don't think so," I replied. "Not this time. I think it is something else."

An Important Backstory To Explain Dr. Rice's UTI Question

When Abbi DISENGAGES FROM INTERACTION, CURLS UP ON A DINING ROOM CHAIR, and DOESN'T MOVE FOR 24 HOURS, I keep a close eye on her BECAUSE I KNOW THOSE BEHAVIORS ARE INDICATIVE OF ONE OF TWO THINGS:

1

A bowel movement might be coming.

If, after 24 HOURS OF LETHARGY, Abbi begins to CRY (cat people know what I'm talking about), what comes next is a BRIEF MOMENT OF SILENCE followed by a DEAD SPRINT THROUGH THE HOUSE with HUMAN-SIZED TURDS SHOOTING OUT THE BACK LIKE MISSILES.

Abbi only has bowel movements every seven to ten days due to her Megacolon. We've been managing it the last five years with three medications twice a day. So when it's time, IT'S TIME! My husband and I can't decide if the one-minute sprint through the house is a celebration or if she thinks the turds are chasing her. Either way, it's quite a sight.

OUR REQUIRED ACTION WHEN THESE BEHAVIORS FOLLOW A 24-HOUR STINT OF LETHARGY:

A trip to the vet is unnecessary. Abbi celebrates with a special treat, resumes her normal behavior, and all is good.

- OR -

I know. I know. This is a terrible topic for a blog post, but it will help me make a point in just a moment, so hang in there with me.

2

A urinary tract infection might be setting in.

If, after 24 HOURS OF LETHARGY, she VOMITS, STOPS EATING, and URINATES UNCONTROLLABLY OUTSIDE HER LITTER BOX with a NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE IN ITS APPEARANCE, SMELL, AND CONSISTENCY, I know she likely has a UTI.

Why? Because I've observed this cluster of behaviors several times before since our little Abbi is also one of those cats who gets a UTI every four to six months.

OUR REQUIRED ACTION WHEN THESE BEHAVIORS FOLLOW A 24-HOUR STINT OF LETHARGY:

I scoop her up and take her to the vet for treatment.

Now, Back To My Original Story

So after I told Dr. Rice I didn't think it was a UTI, I shared a new set of various behaviors that I had observed.

  • increased lethargy over the last seven days, but still engaged and wanting pets
  • not eating, but periodically licking her wet food as if she wants to eat
  • staring at her food bowl for long periods as if she is zoned out or in a trance
  • drinking more than average - lots of trips to the water bowl
  • urinating in the litter box more than usual with an appearance, smell & consistency that are different than when she has a UTI (again, I'll spare you the details)
  • no longer sleeping in bed with us
  • difficulty jumping onto furniture - missed our bed a few times, fell off, hurt herself, and walked with a limp for two days
  • walking gingerly as if she is inebriated
  • difficulty holding her head and hind end up (in the last 24 hours)

Based on what I shared, Dr. Rice surmised that Abbi's kidney values were out-of-whack. She ordered a blood test to confirm, and now yours truly gets to administer daily subcutaneous fluids. Add that to the list of things poor little Abbi has to endure each day.


Anyhoo...I digress. Let's get back to the point of this blog post.

Why Am I Sharing All Of This With You?

After I provided my observations, Dr. Rice said, "This is why we love you. You pay attention and can tell us everything we need to know." Inquisitively, I asked, "Doesn't everyone?" Dr. Rice replied, "No, they don't."

I learned from Dr. Rice that some pet owners are oblivious to when their pets deviate from their baseline behaviors. This is why they often miss the critical information needed to quickly recognize their pet's illness and make informed decisions about how to best respond.

What Does This Have To Do With Emotional Intelligence?

Knowing Baseline Behaviors and Recognizing Patterns of Deviation are cornerstones for Situational-Awareness.

And Situational-Awareness is a key component of Emotional Intelligence.

To explain, here a few slides from a recent presentation:

Emotional Intelligence isn't just about self-awareness. It's about self-awareness and situational-awareness. When you enhance your skills in both areas, your overall EQ will heighten.

Pulling It All Together
How Can YOU Improve Your Situational-Awareness?

1

Pay Attention and Be Observant

Assume the role of an unbiased and objective observer of your environment. Make a conscious choice to pay close attention to the following so that you may gather the data you need to identify and better understand the baselines of others.

  • nonverbal behaviors and mannerisms
  • appearance - the look and feel of their physical presence
  • pace, pitch, tone, and volume of their voice when they speak
  • cognitive process - how they process and think about things
  • approach to communicating and interacting with others
  • response to various situations - positive & negative / pleasant & unpleasant
  • priorities - what they seem to care about and focus on most often
  • fears - what they seemed to worry about most often
2

Turn Your Radar On, Keep It On, and Be Genuinely Curious

Once you've gained a deeper understanding of someone's baseline behaviors, continue to pay close attention to the items noted above. Doing so makes you more likely to notice deviations when they occur.


When you spot a deviation:

  • Delay your response or reaction until you're more informed about what elicited it.
  • It may not mean anything, so make a mental note of it, keep your radar on, and continue to be curious. With time and additional observation, you might be able to identify what triggered it.
  • If you must respond, engage your curiosity, and respond with a question, perhaps something like, "It's not like you get fired up about something like this. Is there something else I'm unaware of, or am I perhaps missing a piece of information that might explain your unusual reaction to this situation?"
3

Recognize Patterns of Deviation

Always watch for multiple deviations that occur in clusters or succession. This will improve your accuracy in reading people.

  • WHEN INTERACTING WITH OTHERS, SEEK TO RECOGNIZE THE:
  • various ways in which they deviate from their behavioral baselines and any RECURRING PATTERNS that may exist
  • the TRIGGERS for these deviations (people, situations, events, conversations, topics, projects, etc.)
  • the INSIGHT these deviations provide as to what might be going on inside their head (what they may be thinking and feeling)
  • THIS CAREFUL OBSERVATION WILL ALLOW YOU TO:
  • BE MORE AWARE of these triggers when they exist
  • PEDICT THINGS BEFORE THEY HAPPEN
  • MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS as to how you navigate these deviations and their potential impact
  • If the patterns of deviation are positive and beneficial, consider finding ways to REINFORCE and LEVERAGE them.
  • If the patterns of deviation are harmful, develop strategies you can use to PROACTIVELY INTERRUPT THEM when the triggers that elicit them are present again.

When you strengthen these situational-awareness skills, your intuition and trust in yourself will dramatically improve your decision-making, timing, and results. Give this a try and shoot me a message on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn to let me know how it goes.

Comments or Questions?

Please share them below.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Related Posts

Andrew Luck risked millions of dollars to pursue a more meaningful and satisfying life. Are you willing to do the same?
How to Write a “Get Off My Back” Email
What It Really Takes To Improve Your Self-Awareness

Schedule a Meeting, Book a Call, or Submit an Inquiry

Select your preferred option from the dropdown menu.

Schedule A Free 30-Minute Discovery Zoom Meeting

When reviewing available timeslots, remember to select your preferred time zone in the top right-hand corner below.

Information to connect via Zoom will be provided in the calendar invitation sent to you after you confirm this appointment.

Book A Free 30-Minute Discovery Phone Call

When reviewing available timeslots, remember to select your preferred time zone in the top right-hand corner below.

The phone number at which you can reach me will be provided in the calendar invitation sent to you after you confirm this appointment.

Contact Form for General Inquiries

* Required

FIRST NAME*
LAST NAME*
Email*
tell me how i can help*
0 of 500

A copy of your inquiry will be emailed to the email address you provide.

You will receive a response within 24 to 48 hours.

Contact Form for General Inquiries

* Required

FIRST Name*
last name*
Email*
Message*
0 of 1000

You will receive a response within 24 to 48 hours, and a copy of your inquiry will be emailed to the address you provide.

>