Developing Self-Awareness

What is Self-Awareness?  It is your ability to effectively read how you react to cues in the environment.  It is when you are aware of how your emotions affect your performance.

There are four levels of Self-Awareness: The first level requires you to be aware of how you feel in specific situations.  You’ve reached the second level when you understand what triggers certain emotions/reactions in the way you feel.  The third level is when you realize how your emotions impact you and others.  Ultimately, you are looking to have the fourth level of Self-Awareness which is emotional insight.

You have Self-Awareness if you understand subtle signals that tell you how you are feeling.  You are also able to articulate those feelings and show them appropriately in social settings.

 You may want to improve your Self-Awareness if you are easily irritated, get angry and/or treat people abrasively.  You  might also look at this competency if you struggle balancing you work life, health and family needs. If you have ever thought, or been told, that you are socially awkward you may also want to improve your Self-Awareness.

The most effective way to develop Emotional Self-Awareness is to have a couple of people help you….someone in your personal life and someone in your professional life.  You can not develop Emotional Self-Awareness on your own because you “don’t know what you don’t know.”  Choose people you trust that you think are very self-aware.  Show them this description.  Ask them to give you feedback on the past as well as in situations moving forward.

Set your calendar to go off 3 or 4 times a day.  Your goal is to write down a word or two that describes how you feel.  Do this for 2 weeks.  Keep a record of your responses.  Take a look back at any patterns you notice… do you start the day in a positive way?  Do you get angry in meetings with peers?  Bosses?  Family?  When you’re tired? If you’re hungry?

Now ask yourself how you can diffuse some of these situations before they occur.  If you tend to come home each day in a bad mood, do something to “reset” your day before walking into the house.  Work out? Play your favorite music on the way home (save it specifically for this purpose)?  Walk the dog before settling in at home?

If you notice you are short tempered at work, is it when you are in group situations? When your boss asks you direct questions? When others don’t meet your expectations?

One solution is to “role-play,”  in your head or with a friend, how these interactions usually play out….and PLAN your first TWO responses ahead of time….Not just your first response.  You can imagine how your work colleagues react to not only your first statement but also their response and then your SECOND statement.  This approach gives you a chance to create the right response beforehand and gives you time to calm down at the start of a stressful encounter.

Was this helpful?  Are you interested in more tips?


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