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Part 1: The case of Emotional Intelligence – "Self-Awareness"

 

What is it?

Self awareness is an internal process. D. Goleman defines it as “knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources and intuitions”; the “knowing” indicates your ability to describe your likes and dislikes, notice your internal reactions, observe your body response and how your behavior is received by others. 

For expample, as a global leader, you may demonstrate good self-aware if:

- you work on yourself and know what your strengths and weaknesses are;

- you observe how these play differently depending on the context (different country, different leadership style!) and in relation to other team players' strengths and weaknesses;

- you are conscious of your cultural orientation, as well as that of the people around you;

- you are able to notice your feelings and emotion when working with people with different backgrounds.

So the question is, "How can you become more self-aware?". Before you go on, it is important to underline that becoming self-aware is about noticing what is happening to you as if you were watching a movie; it is not about acting or reacting. You do not try to change anything, you simply acknowledge what you see - feel - think.

Awareness is the 1ststep toward change! 

 

The Tool

How can you improve your self-awareness? Here are 2 proven techniques that have been extensively studies by researchers. They have worked well with my clients so far and I hope they'll work well for you too.

 

Journaling

Keeping a diary can really help you become more self-aware. At first, it may feel weird and (why not!) a bit uncomfortable; with time, however, it may become a nice "escape". You can write freely about your day, or you can use guiding questions. For example, you could ask yourself,  “What am I proud of today?”, “What am I grateful for today”, “From 1 to 10 (1 being terrible and 10 being fantastic), how was my day? What made it what it was? And what could have made it 1-2 points better?”.

When journaling, a key part is to go back to what you wrote and analyze it, look for patterns of thoughts, actions, behaviors, what you consistently like or dislike, what makes you happy or sad and what gives you satisfaction or dissatisfaction. This is power data about you!

Hint: your journal can be paper or paperless - you choose! Most of my clients prefer paper because they can see it and feel it: they leave a notebook on the bedside table together with a pen and that helps them establish a good routine. Give it a try!

 

Mental Scan

You can practice your self-awareness during the day and on a daily base, simply by noticing how you "show up" at work and in life. 

For example, if you want to become more aware of your listening, a good practice would be reminding yourself to observe how you listen during the day. You can do this by breaking any interaction in 3 parts: beginning, middle and end. 

Beginning: notice how you enter a conversation. Are you fresh, tired, curious, distracted? What are you thinking and feeling right now?

Middle: notice changes and shifts during the conversation. For example, if you entered the conversation with curiosity but then you start getting bored and distracted. What is going on? What turned your curiosity down?

End: evaluate the conversation. What went well? What triggered your engagement? What distracted you? How did you feel overall? Evaluation provides you with tons of powerful insights to help you understand "why you listen the way you listen". Once you know what your baseline is, you can start planning for improvements. 

You can apply this same process to almost anything, not just conversations. Take a skill, a situation or a habit you want to become more aware of and remind yourself to Mental Scan several times a day. 

Hint: We are our habits. The more we practice the easier it will be to establish a new habit or routine. Once you get used to Mental Scan, you will do it in auto-pilot and it will take you seconds to use this process. 

 

Choose your tool now and become more self-aware! I am here to support you when you need me. Let me know how it goes.

Laura

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