When I first began coaching, I noticed language can be a barrier to understanding when it comes to emotions.

Some of my clients have a comfortable command of the vocabulary of emotions. Some tell me what they think when I ask them how they feel.

Others have rules about what feelings they can and can’t feel.

Knowing what is happening emotionally with my clients is important.

It challenges me to find a common language for calibrating and describing emotions. Hence, the Emotometer.

The beginning of the Emotometer

Throughout my journey of growth, awareness and transformation, I often fell into the category of those who believe their thoughts are their feelings.

When I was 28 years old and in a treatment center for alcoholism, a counselor asked me how I felt. I told him what I thought. He pointed out my thoughts were not my feelings and that irritated me.

He invited me to take another run at describing how I felt. I told him what I thought from a different angle.

Apparently, he was just not getting it.

When he told me a second time I still had not answered his question, I told him I felt like he was not making any sense.


Now he knew what I felt.

Understanding how others communicate

Years later, I began to understand feelings are the language of the body. Feelings are my body’s way of communicating to me and are a response to what I think and believe.

After years of denying my feelings and intellectualizing them, I was completely unprepared to acknowledge or to even notice what I was feeling.

Eventually, I got a lot of help. I began to recognize and understand what my body was trying to tell me.

A solution for emotional expression

After I had been coaching for a while, I realized how difficult it was to “read” people or to “see” them if they were emotionally illiterate as I had been.

I struggled with ways to measure the impact of a new awareness on my clients without a way to measure emotion.

In a conversation with a client one day, I grabbed a napkin and drew out the first Emotometer. I imagined a meter that would calibrate the quality and intensity of emotions without having to name them or even understand them.

The image comprised a semi-circle, like a gauge on the dashboard of a car such as a spedometer or a tachometer.

At first, I labeled the calibrations from zero to 10. Later, I realized the range of emotions should be represented by a negative or positive charge.

That model stuck, and I decided to call it the Emotometer.


Explaining the Emotometer

On the Emotometer, minus-10 represents the worse you can feel. Zero represents neutral, and plus-10 represents the best you can feel.

Some feelings have a negative charge like extreme anger or fear but still feel powerful.

When I explain to clients the worse we feel, the more disempowered we are and the better we feel, the more empowered we are, they often begin to calibrate anger and fear on the positive side of the Emotometer.

“When I feel this anger or this fear, I feel empowered,” they say, “and it motivates me to take actions that I wouldn’t otherwise take.”

Minus-10 can feel powerful, or it can feel powerless. Either way, I associate minus-10 with being disempowered because the energy behind extreme fear or anger is not sustainable.

These emotions burn up our energy. Conversely, feelings like joy and enthusiasm are empowering emotions.

The better we feel, the more empowered we are.

Why disempowering thoughts make life so hard

Negatively charged emotions are associated with difficulty, struggle, effort, trying, making things happen, and using force. They are disempowering because they deplete our energy and require will power and determination.

Using negatively charged emotions as motivation rarely works for long and comes with a price:

  • Unhappiness
  • Frustration
  • Disappointment
  • Discontent

The worse it gets, the worse it gets. If we continue to try to motivate our lives with the energy of survival, with negatively charged emotions, we can do a lot of damage to the very bodies that have been trying so hard to get our attention with these “negative” emotions.

Empowering emotions with positivity

On the other hand, emotions with a positive charge are empowering. When we feel these empowering emotions, things go so much better, so much easier.

Our lives begin to flow and cooperate with the lives of others. We experience peace and ease and attract fortune; some people call it “luck.”

The energy of positively charged emotions builds on itself. They energize us.

The better we feel, the better it gets.

Are you ready to feel energized?


Could coaching help you on your personal development journey? Schedule a free 30-minute discovery conversation.

Schedule a free 30-minute discovery conversation.



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