When he wrote the breakthrough book Emotional Intelligence in 1995, Daniel Goleman identified the five pillars of Emotional Intelligence, in this article we look at self awareness and those things you can do to improve yours
Being self-aware means being in tune with how you feel.
It means you understand how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you. Whether you’re in a leadership position or a selling agent, it also means having a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses, and it means behaving with humility.
Daniel Goleman and his merry band of thought-leaders championed the belief that the highest form of intelligence is the ability to observe ourselves without judging.
And don’t be tricked into thinking that a lack of self-awareness is just some airy-fairy intangible either!
This is a serious shortcoming that can wreak havoc on the workflow and result in vicious stop and start patterns if you don’t monitor it.
We are very much in the business of people and communication after all.
Knowing yourself inside and out is perhaps the single most important skill when it comes to social awareness.
You need to be on intimate terms with the emotion behind your triggers and have a plan ready to activate when they arise.
The first step is being attuned to your intuitive or your ‘gut’ feeling.
Gut feeling is the place where many of your customers make their agent selection decisions.
You can learn more about this yourself if you choose to.
It’s as simple as calling the vendor and cheerfully asking for feedback if you missed out on getting a listing.
By doing this exercise, you just may find that they made their agent selection based on, ‘gut feeling’.
What is gut feeling?
According to research, it’s an automatic or unconscious thinking which motivates someone to make a decision; in this instance to choose to work with someone simply due to the way they ‘felt’. Some might describe this as ‘chemistry’.
Let’s use an example of the phone call to examine self-awareness.
- Can you remember a call that you were dreading to make?
- What was the reason?
- Was it anticipating what the other person would say?
- Or what they wouldn’t say?
- Did you make the call?
- How did it go?
- Was it as bad as you thought it would be?
Now reflect on your actual feelings, before the call, during the call and after the call.
Monitor your feelings as they unfold
Try this exercise the next time you find yourself paralysed by phone phobia and write down the following before the call.
- How do you feel – describe the feeling and the sensation i.e. jittery, nervous or butterflies.
- Describe the worst thing that can happen during the call.
- Describe the best thing that can happen during the call.
Now, take a deep breath and get your cup-of-whatever it is to make yourself comfortable and confident, and make that call!
During the call, jot down brief words or notes, as much or as little as you can, without disrupting the call.
During this process you are actively putting a name to the feelings as they unfold, what are they? Trepidation? Anxiety? Relief?
Once the call is complete, take a couple of minutes to flesh it out:
- What was the worst thing that happened?
- What was the best thing that happened?
- Was the call different to what you imagined?
- Was the call better?
- Was the call worse?
- How did it make you feel?
Now that you have processed the experience and actively participated in how you felt, you can repeat the process with the next challenging call you have scheduled.
Keep the momentum alive by creating a self-awareness profile.
To kickstart the process, come up with some questions about your life goals and values and truly ponder the following:
- What does your ideal “you” look like?
- What are your dreams and goals?
- What makes these dreams and goals so important?
- What is keeping you from these dreams or goals?
The next step is to list your best qualities and join the dots to create a profile. In a bid to monitor and assess this as you go, you could also:
- Keep a journal – Journals help you improve your self-awareness. If you spend just a few minutes each day writing down your thoughts, this can move you to a higher degree of self-awareness.
- Slow down – When you experience anger or other strong emotions, it’s useful to slow down to explore exactly why you’re feeling this way. Remember, no matter what the situation, you can always choose how you react to it.