Copyright (c) 2009 Maurine Patten
Many of you are familiar with Emotional Intelligence. According to Daniel Goleman’s model, Self-Awareness is one of two domains in the area of Personal Competence. The second one is Self-Management which is not covered in this article.
You might think of Self-Awareness as setting the stage for your life. For that reason, it as an essential starting place from which you build the other important aspects of your life.
There are three areas in the Self-Awareness domain of Emotional Intelligence:
- Emotional Self-Awareness.
- Accurate Self-Assessment.
Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize your emotions and their effects. It has been said that there is no thinking without feeling and vice versa. Although we all have blind spots where we do not recognize our feelings, the more aware we are of what we are experiencing, the more learning is possible.
Emotions activate and chemically stimulate the brain. They are a critical source of information for learning and memory. Individuals who are high in emotional awareness:
- Know what they are feeling and why.
- Understand the connection between their feelings and what they think, say and do.
- Know how their feelings directly affect performance.
- Are aware of their values and goals.
Accurate Self-Assessment is the ability to know your inner resources, abilities and limits. We can have blind spots about our strengths and limitations, especially during times of stress when we tend to go on “automatic pilot.” Blind spots, among other things, can cause us to:
- Set unrealistic goals.
- Push others too hard.
- Need to seem perfect.
Individuals who are high in accurate self-assessment:
- Are aware of strengths and limitations.
- Learn more from experience.
- Are reflective and have a sense of humor.
- Are open to constructive feedback and self-development.
Self-Confidence is the ability to have a sense of your self-worth and accurately know your strengths. When self-confidence is appropriately high, you believe in what you can do with the skills you have. Anxiety levels tend to be low. Individuals who are self-confident:
- Welcome difficult assignments and challenges.
- Are self-assured.
- Can voice unpopular views.
- Are decisive and resilient.
Emotional intelligence is learned through experience, reflection and modeling over time. Time must be set aside with someone you trust and respect that will allow you to experiment with and practice new behaviors, thoughts and feelings to the point of mastery. The environment needs to be supportive, emotionally engaging and offer time for practice.
If you are interested in increasing your Self-Awareness, the following steps are necessary:
1. Believe self-improvement is important.
2. Know who you want to be.
3. Know your strengths and limitations as well as your values.
4. Seek out feedback – how you are perceived by others to determine the gap between who you want to be and who you are presently.
5. Work with a supportive, encouraging person you trust (a coach is ideal) who can guide and hold you accountable as you experiment with new thoughts, feelings and behavior in order to build on your strengths.
6. Practice these new behaviors over time until your ideal self is realized.
Increasing the three areas of Self-Awareness is worth the effort. It establishes the foundation upon which to build relationships and handle the challenges in your personal and professional life.
Maurine Patten, EdD. CMC – The Self-Confidence Sage has been empowering professionals to work collaboratively, increase motivation, and improve performance for the past 8 years using the latest research in neuroscience. Visit Maurine at: http://www.pattencoaching.com/services for details, client testimonials, and her free report “How to Be Resilient in Today’s World.” Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need help in this area? Today there is a growing body of science in the field of Emotional Intelligence (EI), indicating that proper understanding and use of emotions can help us be more effective workers and better communicators. CRM Learning’s video program, Emotional Intelligence, teaches that organizations that know this, and apply EI principles, come out ahead in employee morale, creativity, energy and productivity.