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  • Writer's pictureMaja Arnadottir

Emotional Self Awareness

Emotional Intelligence is made up of emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence. An excerpt from Dan Goleman states that emotional self awareness is; the ability to understand your own emotions and their effects on your performance. "You know what you are feeling and why – and how it helps or hurts what you are trying to do. You sense how others see you, and so align your self-image with a larger reality. You have an accurate sense of your strengths and limitations, which gives you a realistic self-confidence. It also gives you clarity on your values and sense of purpose, so you can be more decisive when you set a course of action. As a leader, you can be candid and authentic, speaking with conviction about your vision."

The higher you go within an organisation it becomes more and more important to have an ability to build a strong emotional intelligence muscle. For top leadership positions, many organisations have determined that 80 to 90%, sometimes 100%, of the competencies that set apart their star leaders are based on emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence comprised of?

The building blocks of emotional intelligence has four parts to it; self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.


entails emotional self awareness (understanding your emotions and their effects).

If you want to become more self aware great activities are to:

  1. Meditate. Yes meditate. Make it a habit!

  2. Journal your thoughts and feelings; then read your words and ask self; Is this true? Who would I be without those thoughts? How can I turn those thoughts around? What thoughts can I create and affirm to empower Self?

  3. Write down your key plans and priorities. To become even more self aware it is crucial to ask self and get to know WHAT YOU WANT and then start tracking your progress.

  4. Take some personality and psychometric tests. Study what those reflect back to you.

  5. Get feedback. Ask trusted friends and colleagues about your strengths and weaknesses and about what you can do more of or less of... and even how you may show up better to serve Self & others. BE OPEN to receive.


entails emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation and a positive outlook.

"Managing" ourselves is about managing our own personal and professional growth and evolution. Strong self management is based in:

  1. Choosing growth over complacency.

  2. Managing your stress levels.

  3. Managing your time.

  4. Self-motivation; upping your internal drive.

  5. Being accountable to your choices and results.

  6. Aligning with your goals.

  7. Getting clearer in your decision making.

  8. Choosing how you are showing up in the world.


entails having empathy and organisational awareness. Ways to develop more social awareness are to;

  1. Be an active listener.

  2. Repeat and paraphrase what you hear for a clearer understanding.

  3. Watch facial expressions and body language.

  4. Pay attention to tone of voice.

  5. Study how others react to you, Self and the world.

  6. Analyse social cues and actions.

  7. Demonstrate empathy and compassion.

  8. Express gratitude towards others.

Relationship management

entails influence, inspiration leadership, conflict management, teamwork and being a coach/mentor.

  1. Connect with others in ways that makes them feel understood and supported.

  2. Improve your ability to communicate in an assertive, respectful, and non-defensive manner, particularity when providing feedback or managing interpersonal conflict.

  3. Learn how to approach, manage and resolve emotionally charged conflicts and disagreements effectively.

  4. Influence others positively; understand how to effectively manage the emotional dynamics of a team or group.


A great thing "to DO" is to go over these four parts of emotional intelligence and do a little "self audit" to see how you are doing... and what you may want to improve upon.

Emotions are REAL; Knowledge is NOT REAL.

Ultimately, much of our emotional awareness comes from simply; going within.

Every time we have a conflict, every time we judge ourselves, and every time you find yourself feeling guilty; understand that the voice in your head is a liar!

The voice that says; That's the way I am... is the voice of ego, the voice of knowledge... the voice of conditioning... the voice that reflects back to you how you have learned to be.

It is not WHO YOU ARE. How others see you is also not WHO YOU ARE.

We are eternally evolving as individual humans and as a species. Nothing is set in stone.

don Miguel Ruiz states that emotional pain is a symptom of being abused. The pain is letting us know that we have to do something to stop the abuse. Becoming more emotionally self aware can show us where we may be misaligned and help us create stronger limits and boundaries to improve our relationship with Self, and others.

Whatever we are feeling is just a reaction to what we perceive.

One of the fundamental lessons in coaching and leadership is that nothing is ever really "about you". A leader, coach, mentor and otherwise is here to educate, empower and inspire another to step up in their own greatness. One of the simples, shortest and most effective books to shift one's mindset and perspective is The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz.

If there is a "should" I might subscribe to it is that The Four Agreements ought to be a fundamental book for all want to be leaders in Life & Business.

The Four Agreements

1. Be impeccable with your word.

2. Don't take things personally.

3. Don't make assumptions.

4. Always do your best.


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