Self awareness is a beautiful thing. However, the challenge to acknowledge you need to increase self awareness is daunting. Most of us go along our merry way without giving thought to how we may be getting in our own way with limiting beliefs, unconscious fears or simply a lack of emotional intelligence. How do we even begin to check in with ourselves and look for opportunities to grow?
Probably the easiest way is recognize it in others. It’s much safer and less threatening to observe someone else’s self sabotaging behavior than to look in the mirror. So let’s take a look at a few examples to sharpen your focus.
Joan is complimented by her client on her performance in completing a project. Instead of accepting the compliment, she rejects it by saying it was really not a big deal. The client makes another attempt to praise her work but she passes it off as ‘no biggie.’ The client begins to wonder if the cost of the project is commensurate with the effort required. As they discuss her next engagement with them, the client negotiates hard for a lower price – much to Joan’s dismay. She’s appalled that they seem to undervalue her work.
Tony emailed a colleague this morning with a request for information on a critical project. As of this afternoon, he has still not heard back. He proceeds to call his colleague and leave a voice mail, insisting he get the information ASAP. As the minutes roll by, Tony begins to wonder if his colleague is intentionally dogging him. That notion angers him even more and he finds he cannot stay focused on his work because he is so agitated.
Kathryn calls to schedule a company dinner meeting at a restaurant they’ve used many times in the past. The restaurant manager informs her that, due to the holidays, they need confirmation of the number of guests to secure the reservation for a private room. Kathryn indicated she would not know the actual number until three days before the dinner. The manager reiterates their requirement and Kathryn triggers. In haste, she tells the manager she will find another restaurant. However, at this late date, she will be hard pressed to do so.
In each of these situations, the individual was unaware how their deficit in emotional intelligence affected their reactions. Joan lacks the self esteem to accept that she had done great work; Tony lacks empathy to understand his colleague has his own challenging time table, and Kathryn lacks impulse control to reason out a better solution in the moment. They all got in their own way yet each of them places blame elsewhere.
The common denominator in these scenarios is the need to look within at your contribution when life throws you a curve ball. Certainly you don’t cause every bump in the road of life, but a few may have your hand print in them. Your next step in the self awareness journey? Simply ask yourself, “How may I have contributed to this?” and “How would my best version of myself do things differently in the future?” If you answer honestly, you just might be amazed at how quickly you stop getting in your own way.
Thank you for reading. Make it an EQ day!