Eric: So today we’re going to be looking at how well do you know yourself. Now there’s a part of me that says that’s really, really important and I think there may be some things that our listeners are going to learn that maybe are not so obvious in that process. What’s one of the most important reasons for knowing yourself?
Jeff: To have a more positive effect on the people around you and a more positive effect on yourself, you need to know your starting point. And the only way you can know your starting point is to know yourself, to know what motivates you, to know your strengths, to know your weaknesses, your hot buttons. The better you understand yourself, the better you’re going to be able to move ahead, not just in emotional intelligence, but just in your life.
Eric: I had a gentleman not too long ago who reached out to me and asked me about how do you write a book. What’s the process? And on the face of it, that’s a really cool thing that he had asked me and he really wants to write a book. What I try to find out is what is the purpose for you in writing the book? Because by doing that I’m going to try to drive them into that. Do you actually know why you want this? Let’s go through some of the steps around this that will help listeners.
Jeff: The first one, you’re going to have to do some reflection. You’re going to have to take some time to understand what drives you, understand how you react to things. How do you express anger? Do you explode like a volcano? Do you hold it in and let it fester. What you do when you’re anxious. Do you eat? Exercise? Call a friend? Do you listen to music?
Jeff: This is a tough one for most of us. Can you postpone gratification? If you think of something you really want, can you put it off for 24 hours, one month, a year, six months or maybe never? So how do you react to different things? But you’re going to have to reflect. You’re going to have to take the time to look inward. And that is scary for most of us.
Eric: We’ve talked about it in previous episodes. The importance of not being too hard on yourself. A number of folks stay away from reflection is because they don’t want to necessarily uncover things that they would rather forget. Because they may think that makes them a bad person or not good enough or what have you. So what do you say to that person?
Jeff: I would ask them to think about their level of empathy, first for others, because that’s what most of us think about and then steer them to the point of do you have any empathy for yourself. Can you give yourself a break? Allow yourself to be human? I think that will help people when they do this reflection.
Jeff: Everybody’s made some mistakes. Everybody has had something that didn’t go the way it should have gone. So I really want to stay on that for a moment, just to encourage people that reflection. Yes, it does uncover some things that we sometimes don’t want to look at, but this is a key area.
Jeff: I’m thinking of those insurance commercials what’s the guy’s name that causes all the problems.
Eric: Mr. Mayhem!
Jeff: Mr. Mayhem comes into our lives. You know, those are kind of funny. But it does happen. You just sometimes have to step back and go OK it is what it is. I think it’s important that you are able to listen to feedback. Sometimes it’s solicited sometimes it’s not. But to take it with the idea that OK this is some information, some data, people are giving me that I can use. Maybe false data, maybe I’m not coming across the way I think I am. But to be able to take that feedback, not get upset about it, or not get upset as much as we normally would. Take it for what it is, information, and that includes feedback from yourself.
Jeff: I think the next thing to know about yourself. Does your self-description match the other people in your life. Do you think they’re seeing you the same way you do?.
Jeff: And I think it’s also very important that you make sure that you’re consulting with people you trust and have your best interests at heart.
Jeff: And somebody that you know that is not going to say anything just to be mean. They may have something to say that’s not pleasant, but they’re not going to use it to attack you. If they’re being apologetic when they tell you, they’re probably being honest.
Eric: So what else?
Jeff: Do you think about the consequences when you’re making a decision? Do you have a process to make a decision? Some of us are intuitive thinkers. But do you have a process that you’re comfortable with that you use to make a decision that’s important? And then can you re-evaluate decisions? Can you change your mind? Is it just to go along with people or is it you’re changing your mind because that is going to get you the outcome you want? How motivated are you? Are you driven by intrinsic internal motivation? Or are you driven by extrinsic motivation?
Jeff: Or are you driven by what’s inside of you instead? We talked about this in some other podcasts. Your noble goal and intrinsic motivation. Are you optimistic? Are you glass half full glass half empty? When you look at a situation that’s challenging, do you look at it with gloom and despair or do you look at it as if you will learn some new things about yourself or new things about this process?
Jeff: And this next thing is can you finish the sentence, “I feel…” I feel angry. I feel happy. I feel joyful. Can you identify the emotion that you’re feeling at that time? You can reference our podcast on emotional literacy. Can you actually name the emotion you’re feeling? You have to know where you start from. Being able to do that is very important, and it takes practice. There are things you can do to help with that because you really can’t deal with anyone’s else emotions unless you understand your own.
Jeff: There’s always the ability to begin knowing yourself. Because as you grow older, you’re going to figure out more things about yourself. It’s a continuing thing.
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