Accelerating Your EQ Through Self-Awareness

It’s the holidays, and for some of us, perhaps a short work week.  Holiday travel to be with family and friends inevitably provides a great opportunity to work on strengthening your emotional self-awareness, that is, the ability to recognize and understand your own feelings, differentiate between them, and know what caused them and why.  Whether it’s handling the long lines to get through the TSA checkpoints at the airport, avoiding nasty cocktail party political debates with your hardheaded conservative/liberal neighbor as the presidential campaign heats up, or meeting the newest member of the family over Christmas dinner, your emotional range over the holidays may be broader than it is during a typical work week.

Daniel Feldman’s Handbook of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership suggests that a core skill in emotional intelligence can be developed by using the PaRC method.  When faced with a situation,

  • Pause before reacting,
  • Reflect on the various emotions you are feeling, and why, and then
  • Choose the appropriate thought or actions that will make the situation turn out well.

Building competencies in emotional intelligence takes concerted effort over an extended time, but it can be done.  Give the PaRC method a try this week, and see how emotionally self-aware you can be under pressure.

Speaking of the holidays, I dropped by the amazing East Bay Community Law Center’s holiday party in Berkeley this week.  I enjoyed Executive Director Tierien Steinbach’s decision to include a ceremony as part of the evening, in a nod to her family’s reliance on ceremony to celebrate aspects of the numerous holidays they observe at this time of year (“Kwanz-mas-kkah”).  The EBCLC staff gave us all a pebble as a reminder of the ripple effect that each of us can create, just as when a pebble is dropped into water, likening it to Robert F. Kennedy’s admonition that “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”

Whatever holiday(s) you celebrate, and wherever you send out your ripples of hope, here’s wishing you self-awareness as you do it, and abundant good cheer!

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