More than we gave them credit for, our emotions guide the decisions we make, the behaviors that we demonstrate, and our ability to perform. Yet, not many of us are aware of how they impact our day-to-day lives. Patrick Veroneau continues the series on doubling down on emotional intelligence by discussing the need for self-awareness. He shares some exercises that will help develop the level of self-awareness that can best serve us and those around us.
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Doubling Down On Emotional Intelligence: The Need For Self-Awareness
In an earlier episode, I talked about doubling down on emotional intelligence and said that I was going to make a series out of them, and this is the second in that series. We’re going to talk about self-awareness and how important that is in terms of developing a foundation for emotional intelligence. Now is the time to double down at least on understanding what is it in regards to emotional intelligence. I bet you’ll be surprised to find that you’re probably doing a lot of the things now, you just didn’t realize that’s what it was called or that was the impact of it. This series of workshops is going to help to uncover that based on work that I’ve done for over a decade now in this space with many organizations, individuals, and teams.
This emotional intelligence episode is about developing self-awareness. I’ve been playing a lot with this idea of emotional intelligence, and also to me, flipping it around to see if this is about being intelligently emotional. I think that helps some people out there that maybe connect to this in a way that doesn’t feel so fluffy or kumbaya, even though I know it’s not, it’s a strong skill. It’s something that I’ve had an opportunity and the benefit of working with since 2008 formally. If I look back on my career before that, it was about understanding or not understanding what emotional intelligence was formally. Certainly, knowing that if I were to trace back where I was successful and unsuccessful, it would come back to when I behaved in ways that were either emotionally intelligent or emotionally unintelligent. That’s what this episode will be.
We’ll look at self-awareness. What is self-awareness? Self-awareness is just about being in touch or having a good sense of who we are. What are the drivers, what are the triggers that we have? It comes down to emotions and values. When we’re dealing with emotions, they impact the decisions we make, the behaviors that we demonstrate, and our ability to perform, our level of performance. All three of those are impacted by emotions. If that’s the case, then why wouldn’t I want to be aware of what are those things? This episode looks to say, “How can I get better at understanding that?” This is a muscle.
What’s also important here to recognize is that self-awareness, like emotional intelligence, just because you’re self-aware, or you know somebody that’s self-aware, that’s not the end game. To start, hopefully, but it’s not the end game, because I will tell you in my experience, unfortunately, over the years, I have run across several individuals that I would say were very self-aware. Unfortunately, they were self-aware that they were not nice people, and they were self-aware that they were going to behave in certain ways, regardless of how it impacted somebody else. That’s not the kind of self-awareness that we’re aiming for here.Self-awareness is just about being in touch or having a good sense of who we are and the drivers and triggers we have. Click To Tweet
The first exercise that you can do in regards to developing this level of self-awareness is to Google emotions, and you’ll come up with a list. Print out that list and then go through it, and on that list, write next to each one of those behaviors, either positive, negative, or neutral, and then take the top three. The top three that are positive, the top three that are negative, and maybe three that you think are neutral. From there, what we want to do, as an example, if I were looking at a list that I’ve used before, I might have some things on there, admired, fortunate, safe, insecure, sad, frustrated, optimistic, angry, appreciated, understood, respected.
On that list I’d write down is it positive, is it negative or is it neutral? Next to each one of those, from there, what I want to do is, what events typically cause these? If I look back and say, “What workplace events, what home events, whatever that might be, typically make me angry? What workplace events or what events in general, make me feel respected? What are the events that I generally get frustrated in? What are the ones that are positive that I feel fortunate about?” Whatever those are, it’s going to be important as we go through this. What we’re going to do next is take a look and say, from emotions were there any tied to values?
You could simply Google “values” and you’re going to come up with a list. I would, again, challenge you, take three to five of those that are your top values. It might be trust, integrity, humility, competence, recognition, honesty, leadership, whatever those are, and then look to how those impact you and your own life. What I mean by that is, again, you’re doing a connect the dots exercise here. What I would ask you to do is take whatever that value is, and then write your definition of that value. What does that value personally mean to you?
If we’re looking at this from a workplace setting, look and ask yourself, or answer this question. What are workplace events that result in positive emotions associated with this value are? Write those up. Next, what are workplace events that result in negative emotions associated with that value? What you’re going to start to see is that there are connections here that probably happen more than we think. It’s not until we take a step back and start connecting the dots, we realize that we’ve got triggers. Generally, they come from what our values are.
The next part of this exercise is to answer this question saying, “Decisions I sometimes make when these events and emotions arise include behaviors I sometimes display to others when these events and emotions arise are.” Lastly, “Strategies I could implement to optimize my emotions around this value include.” What you’re doing here is you’re doing a very simple exercise of starting to connect emotions with values. From there, you can start to look and say, “When I do that, how do those things affect the decisions I make, the behaviors I demonstrate, and how I perform?” You’ll start to see that there are triggers.
This is part of developing that self-awareness muscle. What we’re trying to do is if I know that recognition is something important to me, and all of a sudden, I start feeling angry in a conversation or frustrated, and I know that I’m in a situation where that value is being threatened. What I can then start to do is what are some alternative approaches I can now take so that I control both my decisions and behaviors that in the past, maybe they were positive, or maybe they were not in terms of how I reacted to this. That’s the whole process here in regards to first understanding self-awareness. This is our foundation.
I hope you found this helpful, and I’m looking forward to the next webinar on developing emotional intelligence that will look at emotional expression, how do we take whatever the emotions are, and how do we effectively display those to other people. That can be so important in terms of helping other people to understand who we are, and it builds a level of connection and trust which we all need to be more effective in terms of our working and personal relationships.
If you know somebody that might benefit from this episode, I ask you to forward it to them. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please go ahead and subscribe. It would mean the world to me if you’d leave a rating or a comment on this or any other episode that you’ve read. Until our next episode, we’ll talk about emotional self-expression. I hope you’re able to do two things, one is lead like no other, and the other is to rise above your best. Peace.