Our emotions play a significant part in the quality of our lives. Self-help author Brian Tracy said that the quality of your life is determined by how you feel about yourself. In business and sometimes in life, you may find it difficult to talk about emotions. People often get uncomfortable with the “touchy-feely” side of interpersonal relationships. People skills, often referred to as soft skills, are a key component in improving the quality of your life. Many people look to external factors to improve the quality and happiness in their lives. However, the one person who can change everything is the person looking back at you in the mirror.
Self-awareness begins with knowing who you are, what’s important to you, and what motivates you. It is also about knowing how you feel about yourself and the actions you will take to move forward. In today’s society, people seem to be moving at warp speed and do not take the time to reflect and learn from their mistakes, about their likes and dislikes, and also set goals for achievement. Some are so driven to succeed they fail to see the impact on the people around them. They have blind spots in which they do not see or understand their own behaviors and how they impact others. Guess what? We all have blind spots.
Chairman and cofounder of Seattle’s Pacific Institute Lou Tice used the term “scotoma” the term that describes the blind spot within the eye’s visual field caused by a physical defect or disease.” In his terms, scotoma is anything that keeps us from proceeding or understanding the truth. Tice explained that we create these” blind spots” ourselves so we can hold onto our version of reality, our beliefs about ourselves and the world. By doing so, we can avoid or ignore examining who we truly are. We tend to accept what we know is the truth; however, we are much more complex.
Blind spots are critical areas of growth. A person’s blind spot develops from an awareness gap between how you see yourself and help others see your strengths and weaknesses. The more you understand how your thoughts impact your behaviors, the better your outcomes will be. Emotions come from within and no one can make you feel a certain way. The way you feel about a situation or who you are will impact the actions you take. Developing or raising your self-awareness is vital in improving who you are and your quality of life. You cannot change what you are unaware of. You could be sabotaging your results by pretending not to see what is glaring to everyone else.
By raising your emotional self-awareness, you can make better choices and become more decisive about the actions you will take. These choices and actions can impact a range of outcomes from who you choose to marry, hire for the position, or improve your health. You will become more present and more aware of yourself and your impact on others.
Pay attention to how you feel throughout your day. Name and claim the emotion you are feeling. When you are able to recognize the emotion that you are feeling, you are better able to manage and understand why this feeling arose. Own your emotions by using “I” statements -this can be very empowering. You can describe your feelings versus placing judgment on yourself or others. For example, you could say, “I feel lonely eating supper by myself.” instead of “You make me feel alone when I eat supper myself.” “You” statements tend to put people on the defensive as they feel like they are blamed or shamed for their actions. Remember people cannot dictate how you feel about a certain situation. You can tell them how you feel and set expectations for future interactions.
Raise your self-awareness by discovering what your blind spots may be and eliminating them.
Start with self-reflection. You can do this by setting aside 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit in silence and think about your actions, who you are, what’s important to you and what motivates you. Why do you do what you do? What makes you jump out of bed in the morning?
Ink your thoughts on paper. Take time to journal and reflect on what is working in your life and what is not working your life. Think about how you feel and how you would like to feel. What do you need to do to feel the way you want to?
Ask for feedback. What are you pretending not to know about yourself? How might you be sabotaging your own success? When you ask someone you know, like, and trust about your blind spot, they can bring it into your awareness and gives you the ability to make a change. This feedback gives you the ability to acknowledge your strengths and improve your weaknesses as well as develop strategies for improvement. You may even choose to ask to be coached when the blind spot surfaces.
Raising your emotional self-awareness allows you to be accountable and responsible for the impact your emotions play in driving your actions. People skills matter. Eliminating your blind spots can improve the quality of your life. You will be more self-aware and can feel better about who you are because you have the ability to make choices and adjust when required. The smallest adjustment or change can make the biggest impact in how you show up in the world. It all begins with you!
DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and certified executive coach. She is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence – EQi -2.0/EQ360. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. www.debrakasowski.com