Emotional intelligence, also known as EI, is a really hot topic right now. However, being a hot topic doesn’t necessarily make it a simple topic. Just like getting ourselves in physical shape, when we improve our EI it’s a multi-step process. Once we understand that we want to develop our EI, we need a plan of how to approach it that’s not too high level. For example, think of going to the gym – you need a workout plan to make the most of it, right? Let’s approach strengthening our EI in the same fashion.
As the second blog in a series of four, we will focus on part two of a good EI workout: self-awareness.
To begin your journey of strengthening your self-awareness, you must define what it means to you. You can totally take the easy way out and search for the latest definition on Dictionary.com, but taking the tougher route of defining it yourself will prove to be more meaningful in the long run. By creating personal meaning for self-awareness, your intent becomes intertwined with the definition.
For me, self-awareness gives us the ability to lead with authenticity and purpose by better understanding what we need most from ourselves and those around us.
We can dissect this definition into three parts:
- A better understanding of where you thrive
- Knowing what you need most from other people
- Learning how to compliment your areas for improvement
“Most people think they know what they are good at. They are usually wrong. More often people know what they are not good at – and even then more people are wrong than right. And yet, a person can perform only from strength. One cannot build performance on weakness.” -Peter F. Drucker, author of Managing Oneself
A Deeper Understanding
It’s tough to continue developing and growing alone with introspection as your only ally. Looking outside of yourself for a deeper understanding of who you are can go a very long way. You might be thinking, “yikes I don’t want to do that” and I totally get that this suggestion may seem overwhelming. All I’m asking is that you take a step into the gym and lift a weight, not become the next world renowned body-builder.
“The right expectations begin from the inside out. When you are familiar with your strengths, you can use them to fulfill your expectations.” – Donald Clifton PH.D, father of strengths-based psychology
In a world with a plethora of resources for enhancing your self-awareness, let’s focus in on one: personality tests. It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I adore personality tests. I light up when they come up in conversation, and for good reason! Here are my top three recommendations, in ranking order:
Of my three recommendations, this is the only one that is not free. For $20 you are sent a code, fill out a questionnaire and receive your “top 5 strengths”. While you can read through their generic theme descriptions, the results you receive are personalized to you. For example, mine are Empathy, Achiever, Arranger, Adaptability and Responsibility.
A free assessment based on two different philosophies: Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types and Katharine Briggs personality indicator. This personality test not only provides you with a description of who you are, but it also attempts to explain why you do things the way you do.
Another free assessment, which sheds light on how you give and receive love. In this case, we do not need to apply love to romantic relationships exclusively. When building a relationship, it’s important to know what actions make you feel most connected with someone. Additionally, you can learn what actions enable you to best form a relationship with someone else.
Where do you thrive? Need to be supported? Are complemented?
Have you completed at least one of these and read through the results? Great, let’s not stop there! From the responses of your personality tests, make a table with three sections: Thrive, Support and Complement. Completing this table will help you own your results!
Where you thrive.
What you need from others.
What complements “weaknesses”.
From each of your results, pull what you believe to be true about you and add it to the appropriate section. Remember, someone else’s definition of your results may differ from your own. Be mindful when transferring a sentence, phrase or thought to this chart – know what it means to you.
How do you know if an aspect of your results is true about you? My advice is to attach a real world, personal example to each selected aspect. By adding examples you are setting yourself up to notice similar situations arising in the future. Next time you will be able to take a step back and be more aware of your authentic self and purpose in that situation. You will be able to know what you need most in that moment from yourself and those around you.
As we come to an end here, I will challenge you in the most Lingo Live way possible by assigning you an action step. Your action step is to learn what drives, inspires and worries you!
Rachel Zolotarsky, Lingo Live Product Manager
This blog is part of a series on EQ. Check out part one: Developing emotional intelligence.