A few weeks ago I was providing a training for a business in Vancouver, WA on “Exercising Emotional Intelligence in Sales.” During the presentation we went over the importance of tapping into emotional intelligence (EQ) and how people who have high EQ consistently see better results in business and in sales.
In fact, current research is now showing that when it comes to excelling in business, EQ is more important than IQ and previous work experience.
The four main components of emotional intelligence:
During the presentation, I focused heavily on two areas of EQ, Self Awareness and Relationship Management. After the training, I was asked if there were any quick resources for gaining a deeper sense of self awareness. Unfortunately, I couldn’t think of any tangible guides! This brought me to the idea of creating a post on deepening self awareness. The questions below are designed to provoke contemplation and to help each of us dive deeper into building a stronger sense of self awareness.
*Note* These questions are not easy. They may bring up feelings of discomfort and you may need time to process through your findings after you finish this exercise. Just remember discomfort is natural in self discovery and in growth.
Take some time while going through these questions. You may find writing or journaling your answers to be a productive way to process through your responses. To deepen this experience, share with your partner or a close friend and see if they have anything to add that may help you on your journey to developing more self awareness.
6 Ways to Improve Your Self Awareness
1. Honestly acknowledge criticism. Look at the criticism you have received, contemplate on these remarks and ask yourself if any of this could be true. Our initial reaction is usually to deny the negative things that are said about us, however these statements can lead us down deeper paths of understanding. Rumi once said, “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” Take criticism as an opportunity to look inside.
2. Ask for feedback. While it is tempting to want to hear only the positives, it is imperative to hear the potential negatives as well. Ask for feedback from your boss, business partner, employees and/or anyone you have interfaced with on a professional level. Get in there and find out the true nitty gritty details. This is hard, humbling and a very effective way to help uncover our blind spots.
3. Check in about your triggers. What things bother you? Where did these triggers come from? What have you done to work on these aspects? Noticing our triggers is a way to take blame off of others and to turn inward to uncover our sensitivities.
4. Look at your defenses. What do you do when you are uncomfortable? Do you use humor, blame, anger etc? Where did these come from and what purpose do they serve for you? Defenses protect us. However, when we can recognize our defenses rather than simply engaging in them subconsciously we can gain more self awareness.
5. Recognize your vices.What are your vices? How and when did they come into play in your life? What are you avoiding by holding onto your vices? What are you doing to overcome these? Vices start as a means to find something out there that will make us feel better than how we feel on the inside. Unfortunately, then they can turn into addictions.
6. Take a look at the past. What strong beliefs, views or experiences did you encounter in your family of origin? How have these shaped you today? Are there any biases or stereotypes you subscribe to due to your upbringing? This is a big one. An honest look in the past can be sobering. All of us have been influenced by our past, knowing how your past has effected you will help you gain more present day awareness.
For more on deepening who you are, check out The Importance of Authenticity.
“Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.” – Brene Brown
-Written by Emily De La Torre, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA