Newsletter on Self-Awareness
Draft One: August Newsletter Intro Letter from Karen:
Summer is in full swing – as they say - and I hope you all have taken some time for yourselves to enjoy it. As we all know by now, putting work aside when we can to have some fun or even just to unwind does wonders for our psyche -- and our productivity when we do return to work. By recognizing when we need to recharge, and doing something about it, we are being self-aware and are able to practice self-care. We are tuning in to our emotional intelligence and taking self-awareness to a proactive and productive level, which is beneficial to us and anyone we spend time with.
I love that I can access the various dimensions of emotional intelligence in a way that allows me to grow right now and also improve the benefits on an ongoing basis. Of all the competencies and various dimensions the experts talk about, self-awareness is the one that simply cannot be stressed enough; it’s the one component I absolutely must practice in order for all of the others to be useful. I think of it as the first step in a series of steps that will take me to my most fulfilled and productive self. All of the other steps depend on taking that first one and, if I skip over it, my stairway will be very unstable! The knowledge that comes with self-awareness is key to taking the rest of those steps in stride – all the way to the top.
Last month I noticed that I needed to practice my own self-awareness more than ever. Because of the excitement and the hoopla generated by the release of my book, my life was completely disrupted, even though it was about my achieving a desired personal goal. Now, don’t get me wrong – everything that happened was positive, but the disruption to my daily life and the need to always be “on” and in the spotlight created a lot of anxiety for me. I loved the idea of everything that was happening; the launch party, TV interviews, book signings, and well-wishers coming from everywhere to congratulate me. But -- but that kind of attention is difficult for me to take in all at once. It was evident to me that in order to keep my anxiety level down, I needed to be extremely self-aware and to practice self-care.
When I felt over-whelmed, I had to take a step back and think about what I was feeling and why. Then, I would make sure that I was following my own advice by not over-committing to things, thinking positive thoughts and taking time to breathe. In order to be my best self and give that self to the people in my life, I needed to focus on time management and other techniques I teach my own clients, and it was well worth it to do so. Self-awareness provides knowledge that can really help you be your best and make good decisions.
If you practice self-awareness every day, it follows that you will be better at self-regulation and you will become a better listener. In turn, your judgment and decision-making will improve, you’ll have a greater ability to collaborate and you’ll be easier to be around. In short, you will be more in balance and therefore, happier and more at peace. Sound good? Well, I think so. To achieve a well-developed sense of self-awareness, you will need to take a look a good look at yourself and ask yourself some questions. There are no right or wrong answers; just food for thought as you strive to know yourself and better understand your reactions. Ready?
In the June newsletter, I talked about self-regulation, which is also one of the core intra-personal competencies of emotional intelligence. In order to practice self-regulation, you must first embrace self-awareness, which is not so easily accomplished. And you need both in order to develop strong inter-personal competencies like motivation, empathy and social skills. If we are not aware of our emotions and how they impact others, the other EI skills become more difficult to demonstrate. If we are unaware of our emotions, it’s virtually impossible to regulate them. One of the things I did last month when I was feeling high stress and anxiety was to ask myself "In this situation, what's the worst that can happen?" When I answered honestly, I realized nothing much was actually likely to happen. Nobody was going to boo me off the stage or stab me with my ribbon-cutting scissors; no one was going to beat me up or burn my house down. Really, nothing that bad could have happened, despite the anxiety I felt. I just had to recognize that I was getting worked up and needed to get a handle on my emotions before they got the best of me.