It Starts With Awareness

Knowing which emotions you are feeling in the moment and why is the first step in being able to express them appropriately. Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and this week, we want to start our journey in the competencies of Emotional Intelligence in the area of self-awareness by looking at the first competency, Emotional Self-Awareness

You see, many of us suffer from emotional blindness. It's like we’re walking on a wet floor with one of those signs that says that it's slippery. Someone's just mopped it or whatever it is, and we didn't see the sign. And being emotionally blind can create us to slip and fall. We have fluctuating feelings that like being on a roller coaster, we're up and we're down and inappropriate reactions to what we're feeling. After a period of time, that's pretty draining and we feel like we're running on empty. But it doesn't have to be that way.

When we develop our Emotional Self-Awareness, we can get clarity around which emotion we're feeling in that moment and what it's telling us. We can go into emotional flow where we feel it, we pass it through the logical brain, and we respond in a measured way. And that gives us a position of balanced empowerment where we're listening to our gut, we're listening to our heart, we're listening to the way that we feel and then we're processing it in a logical way. And to do that, we have to develop Emotional Self-Awareness.

Emotional Self-Awareness is recognising your emotions and the effects that they're having. The effects that they're having on your thinking, on your self-talk, on your behaviour. So, let's have a look at five key ideas that we need to understand around this before we get in, roll up our sleeves and develop some Emotional Self-Awareness.

Right here, right now, whether you're listening to this on the podcast, whether you're watching it on my YouTube channel, whether it's on my website, in my blog, right here, right now, you can come with me on this quick journey and develop a skill around your Emotional Self-Awareness.

So, the first thing is that we need to expand our emotional vocabulary. There are over 2000 words in the English dictionary alone that describe an emotion or emotions that we could be going through in any moment, and we use about six to 10. We’re either happy or we’re sad. We’re frustrated, we’re angry, we’re fearful, whatever it is for you.

So, the first thing we've got to do is recognise that before we can manage an emotion, we need to make sure we know which emotion we're going through. So, managing anger is different to managing confusion or frustration or disappointment. So, we need to expand our vocabulary around the emotions that we could be going through.
The next thing is that we need to make a connection between what we are thinking, what we're feeling and what we're doing. And when we make that connection, we are able then to go, “Hey, is that doing? Is that behaviour bringing me the results I want?” And if the answer is no, then we're able to regulate that emotion in a different way.

The third thing is we need to listen to our body. Our body will tell us in physical ways when we are experiencing certain emotions. It's like when I'm getting frustrated, I tense up. If I were to be getting angry, the back of my neck feels a little bit hot. If I'm feeling fearful or scared, I've got this empty, funny feeling in my stomach and you know that you have those physiological things happening in your body at the same time as well, depending on what the emotion is. So, we've got to learn to listen to our body. So, it's not just about making a guess, “I'm going through this emotion.” We can actually pinpoint and know which emotion we're going through.

The next thing is to recognise patterns. So if regularly we experience this emotion around this type of circumstance that creates that type of behaviour, that's a pattern, when those patterns can become ingrained in our neural pathways. So, we need to understand when those patterns are taking place. So, that'll give us a lot more information and data that we can play with and tweak and adjust to create a different behaviour.

And number five is we need to go deeper for clarity. So what I'm saying there, instead of just recognising the emotion and seeing it at a surface level, we need to be able to ask ourselves a series of questions that we'll go deeper into giving us clarity around why that makes me behave that way, why that makes you do the things that you do, why that creates that reaction. So, there's five key things that we need to understand when we are developing and building our Emotional Self-Awareness.

So, let's roll up our sleeves right now and I want to give you an exercise that you can do that will help you to go through those five principles we just talked about and become more emotionally aware. Social and Emotional Intelligence is the ability to be aware of our own emotions and the emotions of others in the moment and then to use that information to manage yourself and manage your relationships.

So, step one is about being aware. So, one of the exercises that I take clients through, and we will have this also in the course that we're currently developing, is an exercise where you do a timeline. The key element of this exercise, the key outcome is to create a regular pattern where you stop in the moment at certain parts of your day and ask yourself, “What is the emotion I'm going through right now?”

Now, I don't know about you, but no one ever taught me to do that. So, step one is label the emotion. So if I just react or I, on the fly, just keep going with it without actually going, “Well, hang on a sec. What is the emotion I'm going through right now?”

Now, you'll remember from last week and probably the week before, it might've been, that I taught you how asking “what” questions will bring a logical answer. It'll light up the neocortex instead of getting into too much more of the emotion and going down into it. So, what is the emotion I'm going through right now? Now in this exercise for the moment, let's put aside worrying about or considering why I'm going through it. We just want to identify the emotion.

Now, the thing to understand here is we can be going through more than one emotion in any given moment. And paradoxically we could even be going through the negative and positive emotion around the same thing.

So, I might have a friend who has passed and they've been really, really sick and in pain and I might feel sad that I've lost my friend. I feel sad that they've left their wife or their children or whatever that situation is behind. But I also feel happy and joyful around the fact that they no longer in pain, that they've gone to a better place and they're no longer experiencing what they went through in the last stages of their life. So, you can be going through just like me, more than one emotion at any given time.

So to start us off, let's just consider one. So, what you can do is start when you first wake up in the morning. So when you wake up, instead of reaching for your phone, reach for a signal and go, “What is the emotion I'm going through right now?”

Then when you're having your breakfast, what's the emotion I'm going through right now? When you jump in your car, if you're still working away from home or if you do the commute from the kitchen to your office like me, what's the emotion that I'm going through? What's the emotion you're going through mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon? When you first get home, after dinner, when you're getting ready for bed.

So, using those particular milestones in your day, just stop. Ask yourself the question: What is the emotion I'm going through right now? When you do that, what I want you to do, if you want to go deeper on that, is if for example, you used an emotional, you came up with emotion like I feel good or I feel okay or I feel tired, which is more a physical state or I feel hungry. I want to challenge you to go a little bit deeper and go, “Okay, yeah, I'm feeling hunger pains, but how do I really feel? How does that make me feel?”

So, the first step is to recognise the emotion that you're going through in the moment. And that exercise will then help you to build that vocabulary and recognise in the moment the emotion you're going through so you can then regulate the correct one.

The second thing we can do when we're recognising emotion is, as I talked about before, is we can go, “Well, how do I know that I'm going through that emotion? How do I feel physically? What sort of self-talk is going on when I experienced that emotion?” And stopping and recognising those things and reconciling that will help you when you go through those emotions. So, why don't we want to do all that?

Well, here's the key. What I love to help people to do is instead of waiting until we get to an emotion which is really strong and it's ingrained in a pattern of behaviour that is unresourceful like anger, we want to be able to recognise the pattern of which emotions I normally go through on the way to anger. So, building your emotional vocabulary and your Emotional Self-Awareness will help you to be able to regulate the emotion in the moment.

Well, that's it for me for this week. Join us next week where we'll have a look at the second competency in the area of self-awareness, Accurate Self-Assessment. I'll see you then.

Share | Download(Loading)