Self-Awareness: Knowing Who You Are and Who You Aren’t

Before I walk into a meeting room or an event full of potential, brewing conversation, I already know five things.

  1. The culture I want to bring is one of inclusiveness.
  2. Regardless of what any conversation brings, my default will be to respect you and I will do everything I can to reflect this in my actions.
  3. My emotions will not dictate how I treat you.
  4. I want my behaviour to reflect that I believe at the core of my being, that each and every person has inherent value.
  5. I thought I had five when I wrote five above, but I only have four.

How do these convictions play out when I walk into that room for me personally? I’m willing to engage with anyone who may look socially uncomfortable. I’m willing to ask questions; what do you do with your time? Do you enjoy it? Do you have hobbies? This engagement reflects and communicates that I am interested in your life, I am willing to find value from what you have to share. How is this person’s behaving as we have this discussion? What does their body language say? Better yet, what does my body language communicate?

This understanding comes from having an awareness of how people impact each other. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “no man is an island” – and this is true! We do not live isolated, and we have an ability to set a culture by our behaviour and actions. Self-awareness is the first step in developing this: understanding who you are and who you aren’t, because you’ve probably noticed by now that you surround yourself with people that are similar to who you think you are and what you think your values, beliefs and convictions are.

I feel it’s important to note that if you’re anything like me and this value for self-awareness and loving people well can somehow dance (somewhat gracefully) across the line into hypervigilance, it’s important to develop the skill to rest and have healthy boundaries (if you’re not sure what healthy boundaries are, go right now and buy Dr Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend’s book ‘Boundaries’). Self-awareness means knowing that even when you’re not at your best, your desire to express how you value others can manifest in a number of different ways (and does not mean not loving yourself well enough by not getting the rest you need).

So, I leave you with these questions: who are you before you enter a room? Have you decided who you will be regardless of external factors? Do you know how you might handle someone disagreeing with you? What five things (or four) do you know about who you are before entering a room?

Elyce

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We Need Emotional Coaches

Emotional intelligence (EI) has changed my life. It is a lifelong discipline to undertake developing and strengthening your ability to regulate your emotions, to learn to recognise your needs and the needs of others, to empathise, to be self-aware, to healthily manage interpersonal relationships, and to realize all of this is just the beginning of a highly underrated area of health and intelligence.

EI can be defined as:

“The ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions [and to] recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.” (The Institute for Health and Human Potential, 2018) 

I could, and I will continue to study the areas of emotional intelligence, social intelligence and relational intelligence for the rest of my life – and how could you not?! Our ageing and growing workforce is becoming increasingly complex. Employers seem to be requiring candidates to hold higher and higher qualifications to find the rose amongst thorns (don’t worry – I personally believe you are all roses), but there seems to be an underlying expectation, or hope, for our Gen Ys and Gen Zs entering the workforce, and it’s this: “Please, oh please, let this person have some communication and relational skills!”.

Cadman and J. Brewer concluded that “the importance of emotional intelligence as a criterion for the selection of students and in achieving improved quality clinical nursing outcomes should be recognized”, in their 2001 Journal Article. Sure, you may not be a nurse, but maybe you’re an accountant? The results of a study of the importance of emotional intelligence in recruitment and retaining staff in the finance industry came to the conclusion that employees displaying emotional intelligence had higher job satisfaction (Glodstein, 2014)!

Perhaps you’re not a Nurse or an Accountant, but perhaps you’re just human and within the space of 24 hours, normally come into contact with at least one human being. These skills are vital for loving the people around you. They are vital for recognizing toxic relationships and setting boundaries. They are vital for ending cycles of addiction. These skills are worth investing in.

If this is something you’d like to grow in, stick around. I have some stories, resources, vulnerable moments and insights that I’d love to share with you.

Elyce

References

Cadman, C. and Brewer, J. (2001), Emotional intelligence: a vital prerequisite for recruitment in nursing. Journal of Nursing Management, 9: 321-324. doi:10.1046/j.0966-0429.2001.00261.x

Goldstein, D. (2014). Recruitment and retention: Could emotional intelligence be the answer. The Journal of New Business Ideas & Trends, 12(2), 14-21. Retrieved from http://libproxy.murdoch.edu.au/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.murdoch.edu.au/docview/1649108375?accountid=12629

 

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Elyce is passionate about young people being equipped with communication skills, relational skills and growing their emotional intelligence. Elyce works in Higher Education whilst studying her Postgraduate Business degree (though, she would much rather be sitting in a library with coffee and too many books to count).