First Step in Developing Emotional Intelligence: Self-Awareness
As the founder of Marcie Walker LLC, I help my clients focus on holistic wellness through brain-based coaching to improve their emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence helps us build fantastic relationships in our personal lives and careers by utilizing the powers of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Emotional intelligence means being self-aware, managing yourself well, reading others’ emotions, and connecting with others. The first step in developing emotional intelligence is self-awareness.
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to see oneself clearly and objectively through reflection and introspection. It involves being aware of different aspects of the self, including traits, behaviors, and feelings. Self-awareness is the basis for a theory that states, “you are not your thoughts, but the entity observing your thoughts.” As the thinker and you’re separate from your thoughts.
Three benefits of self-awareness
Self-awareness is not just the basis for a psychological theory or a management buzzword. It’s the key to creating sustainable positive life changes and better performance in the workplace as a leader. Research published on self-awareness and constructive functioning has found self-awareness enables “self-control, creative accomplishments, and high self-esteem.”
Self-awareness improves self-control
Self-aware people are the first to take responsibility for their actions. They understand the expected social norms in both their personal and professional lives. With self-awareness, we’re less likely to lie, cheat, and steal.
Self-awareness increases creative achievements
Self-awareness enables creative achievements, but how it does so is not clear. The theory is most highly creative people go through a process involving a significant amount of self-awareness. To achieve the best outcome, creative people deeply reflect on their work and incorporate adjustments and improvements. Thus, high self-awareness stimulates creativity.
The link between self-awareness and higher self-esteem
Increased self-awareness can lead to higher self-esteem and a sense of pride. The key is to see oneself as the cause of success. Seeing yourself as the cause of success leads to positive feelings of pride, which is the basis of self-esteem.
The role of self-awareness in the workplace
Dr. Tasha Eurich wrote in the Harvard Business Review that there are two types of self-awareness: internal and external. Internal self-awareness is about how well we see ourselves and our aspirations, strengths, weaknesses, passions, reactions, and fit in an environment. External self-awareness is understanding how others view us with those same factors.
The best leaders and managers need to have a good grasp of both internal and external self-awareness. While many people think they are self-aware, true self-awareness is a rare skill. Research shows less than 15 percent of those in Eurich’s (2018) study displayed self-awareness. However, it is possible to improve self-awareness.
How to increase self-awareness
I help clients take control of their lives by providing practical tools to improve their self-awareness. My holistic approach attunes your body and mind for success through guided meditation, goal setting, and powerful coaching. Three ways to increase self-awareness include:
- active listening
- asking “what” questions
- mindful meditation
Listening in a way where you are engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way is also known as active listening. Active listening involves truly listening without judgment or evaluation. It’s essential to observe the emotions and body language of both you and your conversation partner.
Ask what, not why
Asking yourself “what” questions increases productive introspection while decreasing unproductive rumination associated with “why” questions. “What” questions help you stay objective and focused on the future. For example, when trying to understand your feelings instead of asking yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” Ask yourself, “What factors make me feel this way, and what do they have in common?”
Mindful meditation leads to better self-awareness. Mindful meditation involves paying attention to the things that are often ignored in our busy day-to-day lives. Through guided meditation, I can help you improve your self-awareness.
Become a more self-aware leader
Self-awareness is a rare skill, and it’s not easy to master. You can become a better leader who makes sounder decisions, builds stronger relationships, and communicates more effectively through proper guidance. As a more effective leader, you’ll have more satisfied employees and more profitable companies. Contact me to become a more self-aware leader.