Wie viel wissen wir über unsere Emotionen?

Emotionen sind unsere ständigen Begleiter. Sie beeinflussen unsere Entscheidungen und unser Verhalten; ob wir es wollen oder nicht. Die Fähigkeit, unsere Emotionen wahrzunehmen und zu verstehen sowie zu erkennen, wie unsere Emotionen uns und andere beeinflussen, heisst Emotionales Selbstbewusstsein. Das Emotionale Selbstbewusstsein gehört zu den fundamentalen Kompetenzen der Emotionalen Intelligenz.

 Das Radar, die Zwiebel, der Spiegel und der „ripple“ Effekt“

Emotionales Selbstbewusstsein steht in Zusammenhang mit folgenden Begriffen: Radar, Zwiebel, Spiegel und „ripple Effekt“. Überlegen Sie einmal, welchen Zusammenhang es zwischen diesen Begriffen und dem Emotionalem Selbstbewusstsein geben könnte. Die Antwort auf diese Frage finden Sie gleich in diesem Video.

 

Was ist der Mehrwert, über unsere Emotionen Bescheid zu wissen?

Durch die (Er-)Kenntnisse unserer Emotionen erhalten wir den Zugang zu unseren Bedürfnissen und Informationen über unsere Reaktionen in konkreten Situationen. Dies können wir dafür nutzen, bessere Entscheidungen zu treffen oder unser Verhalten bei Bedarf anzupassen. Wenn wir unsere Emotionen nicht beachten, kumuliert sich in unserem Inneren Energie, deren Macht wir uns kaum bewusst sind.

Pit Stopp für Emotionen

Wir können unser Emotionales Selbstbewusstsein trainieren. Dazu schlage ich Ihnen vor, mehrere Male pro Tag einen Pit-Stopp für Ihre Emotionen einzulegen. Nehmen Sie sich Zeit um folgende Fragen zu beantworten:

 1). Was fühle ich im Moment?

2). Warum fühle ich was ich fühle?

3). Was macht das mit mir?

4). Wie beeinflussen meine Emotionen andere?

 5). Möchte ich im aktuellen Emotionalen Zustand bleiben oder nicht?

Die Gewohnheit, den Blick nach innen zu kehren, ist sehr wertvoll. Sie ermöglicht Ihnen eine spanende Reise in Ihrer eigenen Welt. Diese Reise ist entdeckungsreich und unendlich. Machen Sie sich auf den Weg!

Impulse control: Are you an “act now, think later” person?

Impulse control involves understanding the appropriate times and ways to act on emotions and impulses, and the importance of thinking before you act. Impulse Control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and includes avoiding rash behaviors and decisions.

People with high Impulse Control: 

    – are patient and calm even when provoked;

    – deliberately survey a situation before making a decision;

    – rarely regret what they have said or done.

People with low Impulse Control can be:

    – very involved and talkative during meetings or conversations;


    – impatient for action, antsy to move into the execution stages of projects;

    – inclined to take an “act now, think later” approach to solving problems and making decisions.

Man eating paper

People with low impulse control usually have one internal voice and it says “Go for it!”. If you are this type of a person, you (and your colleagues) may benefit from “pausing” that voice and taking time to think before you jump into action. When you feel your impulses coming, try one of the following to adjust the emotional expression of your impulses:

a). visualize the intensity of your impulses using an image that resonates well with you, for example, an ocean wave, and estimate the impact that your impulses might have on the people around you in the current situation;

b). if the situation allows, literally put your palm over your mouth for a moment to prevent yourself from fully expressing your emotions; or

c). take the classic 10 deep breaths when feeling overwhelmed by your emotional impulses.


It’s very important to be aware of your own reasons for getting your impulses under control in every specific situation. These reasons will motivate you to continuously train your impulse control.

The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control their emotions by the application of reason.Marya Mannes 

Reality Testing – are you sugarcoating reality or fearing the worst?

Reality Testing is the capacity to remain objective by seeing things as they really are, rather than as we wish or fear them to be. It involves noticing when our perception of a situation is overly negative or overly positive.

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Some people tend to wear rose-colored glasses.  The glasses may make the world look nice, but there is a flip-side: the     person might misinterpret critical information, underestimate risks or overlook a danger. For example, if a person can’t accurately assess the amount of effort needed for the task at hand, he or she might end up stressed.

 

Woman scared_07012015The opposite of seeing the world through rose-colored glasses is coloring reality with own fears. For example, if such a person isn’t greeted warmly by a manager in the hallway, this person might think: “Oh, my manager doesn’t like me anymore. I did something wrong.” His thoughts colored by insecurity might prompt wrong assumptions, which prevent him from seeing the situation objectively.

 

Good Reality Testing means verifying how well our perceptions match reality. Is there an absolute reality out there? Yes, no, and maybe. We probably wouldn’t be able to answer this question. However, people with a good sense of reality are able to tune into a situation and assess the correlation between what’s experienced and what objectively exists. They remain on the same page as everyone who is involved in this situation. Reality Testing enables us to focus on ways to cope with what we discover and keep our emotions in check, untainted by illusions.

One strategy to improve Reality Testing is by gathering an “opinion pool”. This strategy can be very helpful when taking decisions:

Step 1: Gather a pool of different opinions to make your own:

•    Ask different people who have proved to have a good Reality Testing skills

•    Ask experts in the field in which you are taking a decision

•    Ask your “Gut Feeling”

Step 2: Assess your Reality Testing skills by comparing your opinion against the opinion of others you have in the “opinion pool”:

•    Do you tend to sugarcoat reality?

•    Do you fear the worst?

•    Which emotions influence your sense of reality?

Be Emotionally Smart by “Being Realistic”!

Social Responsibility – Being a Social Samaritan

People around globe

To be a Social Samaritan means to demonstrate your social conscience and be compelled to help society and social groups. This competency is called “Social Responsibility”. Social Responsibility is that moral compass directing your behavior toward promoting the greater good of others.

A good example of Social Responsibility is to do fund raising projects for charities or to help out at social events as a volunteer. To me, being on the organizing committee of an annual neighborhood get-together is also a sign of Social Responsibility, though on the local level.

Whether for one person or for all of mankind, your contribution matters! Not only for others but also for yourself. If you are one of those who thrive while contributing, your social activity will bring you a deep sense of fulfillment and inner worth. I have had this experience helping out my son with his projects for WWF. Being engaged in social activities allows you to train different skills. For example, being the president of a tennis club will give you a chance to practice your leadership skills. Another advantage is to build relationships with people who are involved in the same social activity. Maybe these relationships will help you in the future.

As with all competencies of Emotional Intelligence, finding the golden mean is the key!

 

Overloaded hand white flagBeing too high on Social Responsibility

If you are involved in too many social projects, you may be overloaded with too many responsibilities, which can take a toll on the quality of your work or personal well-being. Be mindful that you don’t engage in helping others as an escape from things that need to be fixed in your own life. The “Best Intentions” strategy will help you there:

Check in with yourself to ensure that you are not avoiding your current emotional state by focusing solely on helping others.

- Ask someone close to you (e.g., family or close friends) to describe what your intentions to help look like from their perspective. Others may be able to see the real motives behind even the best intentions.

- If you are overly involved to the point that your personal well-being is neglected or you are placing unrealistic expectations on your friends, family, or colleagues for their social or corporate involvement, it may be time to reflect on the motives behind your desire to help others.

Presents flyingWhen you are too low on Social Responsibility

By avoiding any social work you might miss an opportunity to discover and unleash your potential as well as enrich yourself by contributing to others. Compare your social engagement with the ceremony that goes with giving a present. Do you agree that we experience joy while choosing, wrapping and presenting a gift? Social work is making a gift to more than one person. The strategy of “Taking the Initiative” can help you there:

Identify two or three charities, nonprofit organizations, or causes to which you feel a connection.

- While brainstorming, record several activities that you can engage in to help at least one of these organizations. Write down what outcomes you expect to see from engaging in each activity. Ensure that these outcomes benefit the organizations or people and aren’t just about making yourself feel good.

- Create a plan and a time frame and if possible, share these details with someone who can hold you accountable to follow through on them.

Be Emotionally Smart by Being a Social Samaritan!

Empathy – are you able to step into another person’s shoes?

Selection of male shoes isolated on white - more footware in my portfolio

Empathy is best described as the ability to step into another person’s shoes and to recognize, understand, and appreciate how other people feel. It involves being able to articulate your understanding of another’s perspective and behaving in a way that respects others’ feelings.

The most important demonstration of empathy comes when the consideration of the other person’s position is followed by an action. The action may vary from just actively listening to helping a person on the task at hand. The support should be genuine and not of a “transactional” nature, in other words, not intended as a way to get something in return.

The empathic nature makes a person approachable, someone with whom people feel safe sharing thoughts and ideas. It provides a foundation for all other interpersonal skills.

Being too low on Empathy

People who have difficulty empathizing can’t articulate another’s perspective and are more focused on facts than on others’ feelings and reactions. For instance, if a person fails to take into account colleagues’ feelings when resolving conflict, managing change, or making tough decisions, he or she leaves them feeling alienated and undervalued. Additionally, you cannot predict how others will accept change if you cannot address the emotions they are experiencing (e.g., fear or excitement).

Two mature woman in business

Strategy to improve low empathy

Active listening can improve the level of understanding of the other person’s experience. Active listening entails repeating back, in your own words, what the speaker has said. Those with high empathy can do this even if they do not agree with what the speaker is saying. To practice active listening:

- In general, listen more than you speak. Try it in your next interaction and note the approximate amount of time you spend listening versus speaking.

- When you find yourself jumping in to speak, stop, listen, and reflect back what you have heard before offering your own opinions.

When you are too high on empathy

Being too empathic has a negative side. When colleagues trust you with their issues and feel comfortable coming to you for advice, you, being very concerned with their feelings, run the risk of taking on their problems, becoming the victim of your empathy. Being over-empathic can lead you to avoid making tough decisions or to act in some way at the expense of your own interest or needs.

Strategy to develop if you are too empathic

Mixing Sugar with Spice. It is important to ensure that your empathy doesn’t get in the way of handling tough conversations or decisions. Being empathic does not mean being extra nice all the time; you still have to do what you have to do! When a tough conversation or decision is needed, acknowledge that you may:

- Need more preparation time in order to express the right amount of empathy. Write down what you want to say and rehearse it.

- Be respectful of people’s reactions, but don’t let them derail you.

- Keep in mind that if you mirror someone’s emotion, you will likely intensify that person’s reaction. For example, if the news you are bringing someone makes them angry, by becoming angry yourself you are likely to make the situation more heated.

Be able to step into the other person’s shoes but don’t lose your own.

Interpersonal Relationships is fitness training for your Emotional Intelligence

Chain of children's hand

Interpersonal Relationships refers to the skill of developing and maintaining mutually satisfying relationships that are characterized by the ability to both “give” and “take” in relationships, and where trust and compassion are openly expressed in words or by behavior.

Why are relationships important in our life? Dalai Lama said: “We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we don’t benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it’s hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.”

In addition to the wisdom of the Dalai Lama I look at relationships as excellent training of our Emotional Intelligence. Because relationships:

- Mirror our strong and weak points; they give us a chance to forge our self-regard and self-confidence.

- Offer plenty of opportunities to foster our self-awareness by reflecting on how we feel in relationships and understanding out feelings

- Increase our empathy in putting ourselves in the other person’s shoes in spite of the fact that “our shoes” are the most comfortable ones

- Stretch our flexibility by bringing us out of our comfort zone

- Catalyze our optimism by receiving support and compassionate from other people in moments of setback

Some people have a natural ability to build strong interpersonal relationships. They are proficient at intuitively knowing how to keep reciprocity in “give” and “take”. This balance is essential to keep the relationship healthy.

There are, though, some individuals who “give” more. Others sometimes see them as lacking self-regard or seeking recognition. Sometimes such people feel taken advantage of. They have difficulty being assertive. This is what fuels their “over-giving”.

If you the “Giver” in the relationships, use your self-awareness and assertiveness to keep reciprocity in “give” and “take”. Emotional self-awareness indicates how you feel in a relationship. Do you give more than you take? Are your personal boundaries respected or violated? Assertiveness helps you to be “a good lawyer” for yourself in bringing a point across when needed.

There are other individuals who “take” more. Others see them as selfish and not caring. Sometimes they forget to even say “thank you,” taking other’s people help for granted. The difficulty in dealing with such people is to make them aware of the “over-taking” behavior. Often their self-awareness, empathy and reality testing are not serving them enough, while their self-regard and assertiveness intimidate others.

To check whether you are the “taker” or a “giver” in relationships, ask for honest feedback and be ready to accept it. Use relationship to develop your Emotional Intelligence.

Independence

“A wise man makes his own decisions, an ignorant man follows the public opinion.”      Chinese Proverb

 

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Independence  is the ability to be self directed and free from emotional dependency on others. People who demonstrate a healthy level of independence are usually willing and able to choose their own course of action. They are comfortable making decisions on their own knowing that at times people will disagree with them. They take initiative and feel confident doing so yet they avoid damaging productive working relationships by excluding others when making decisions. Being independent also means freely expressing emotions. Independent people don’t need reassurance or a group consensus to say what they feel.

If your independence is low

People with low independence are susceptible to the influence of colleagues and superiors. They might be resistant or uncomfortable if required to work autonomously. In conversations or meetings, they may find themselves adopting the same emotions as others in the room or easily conforming to others’ decisions. While this can give the impression of being a great team player, it is at the expense of neglecting their own independently generated ideas.

Strategy to develop greater independence

Dependency on others may result from a lack of self-confidence or fears of being perceived as “being not …. enough”. Removing the fears and barriers will create a space to take accountability for your own decisions and actions. Work with the coach to understand the reasons for your dependency.

If your independence is too high

Being overly independent may sometimes bring low results. Overly independent people may be seen as arrogant or come across as not needing any help from anyone. They must be cautious not to neglect the emotions and opinions of others and keep a close eye on how often they make decisions unilaterally, rather than building coalitions.

Strategy to develop if you are too independent

Securing Buy-In

Effective, independent professionals don’t march off in their own direction hoping that others follow; they balance self-directed thought with the ability to secure buy-in and support from key relationships.

- Examine past decisions that were not well supported by your colleagues. What did your decision-making process look like? Where might securing buy-in have broken down?

- Brainstorm ways that you can involve others in your decision-making process. The ultimate decision or plan may rest with you, but it will be easier to gain support when others feel empowered throughout the decision-making process.

Assertiveness – are you a good lawyer for yourself?

 

one caucasian lawyer man in studio isolated on white backgroundAre you a good lawyer for yourself? Can you articulate your opinions, your emotions, and your needs while demonstrating respect to other people? If yes, you possess a great skill – Assertiveness. Assertiveness 
involves communicating feelings, beliefs, and thoughts openly, and defending personal rights and values in a socially acceptable, non-offensive, and non-destructive manner.

Picture a line between the words passive and aggressive: At the middle point of this line lies assertiveness, a place where you work with others by finding the right words at the right time to express yourself.

 

Advantages of being assertive 

People who have the skill to find the right words at the right time to get their point across in a clear and confident manner are seen as self-confident. They allow others to see where they stand on a decision or on the matters at hand. They have a better chance to achieve their goals by articulating their needs.
At the same time they view the rights and opinions of others as sacred and in this way foster relationships.

What if you are too passive on the assertiveness scale? 

Scared business man hide himself under the office deskThe tendency to keep your thoughts inside may lead you to feel exhausted, frustrated, or even angry that you are on your own dealing with your unvoiced opinions. You may ruminate over bad decision your boss made, the “crazy” plan that someone created, or that coworker who took credit for your work. It’s as if all this occurred without your approval or your input, and yet you are left wanting to say so much. You could also be seen as lacking initiative, particularly if you are low in independence. Your great ideas may stay hidden from your team and as a result you will not be as enthusiastic about others’ ideas or committed to following their directions.

What if you are too aggressive on the assertiveness scale?

Businessman shouting through megaphoneIf you tend to pull on strong emotions and convictions to state your position, you may miss important information or feedback that may alter your perspective. If you easily cross the line from assertiveness to aggressiveness, you might be seen as stubborn, or arrogant lacking flexibility in your thinking. This can result in unproductive behavior and damage relationships.

 

Strategy to develop if you are too passive 

Overcoming Fear.

A common reason for overly passive behavior is the fear of losing something as a result of speaking up. Identify the last three times you were passive (meetings are great places to start). Then, brainstorm all the possible:

1. Positive and negative results that could have occurred had you been more assertive.
Most of our fear comes from an exaggeration of bad consequences.

2.  Think of situations when the good consequences outweighed the bad.

3. Identify when similar situations will be occurring in the future. These will be relatively safe opportunities for you to practice being more assertive.

Strategy to develop if you are too aggressive

Crossing the Aggression Line.

If you have a rather strong assertiveness, you need to be particularly cautious that your behavior doesn’t work against you or harm your relationships.

1. Set up a few rules for yourself that you will follow when your behavior starts to cross the line into aggression. For example, interrupting others in a meeting is a sign that you are no longer being respectful. If this happens, a rule could be “Openly apologize to the interrupted person and be silent until it is your time to speak.”

2. Seek feedback from a trustworthy person. How did this person view your way of communicating?

Working with a coach will facilitate the exploration and developing process. Book a 30 minutes free complimentary session to test how coaching for Emotional intelligence works.

Self-actualization – putting your strengths to good use

 

advance on a career ladder

 Self-actualization can be summed up in three words: pursuit of meaning. Self-actualized people put their strengths to    good use, personally and professionally. They are committed to the ongoing development of their talents and abilities. In the business world, this means finding purpose and enjoyment in your job and performing to your fullest potential.

 

 Disadvantage of scoring low on Self-actualization

People who score low on Self-Actualization fail to leverage their personal strengths and often appear to be disengaged. They may come across as a person whose internal fire has gone out. In turn they may be seen as lacking drive the vision to achieve something greater than their current status. An unfulfilling job and untapped potential may lead to stress and emotional exhaustion.

Advantage of scoring high on Self-actualization

Self-actualized people are likely to experience harmony knowing that their talents are being put to good use. Should a setback occur, they can bounce back quickly knowing there is a greater purpose behind their actions. People who have a drive for self-actualization are often perceived by others as being deliberate and purposeful. Their internal fire of fulfillment lights them up from inside.

Strategy to develop Self-actualization

To light your internal fire and keep it going

1. Discover Your Passion: What fulfills you? When are you at your best?

Identifying activities that you are truly passionate about will provide the direction and purpose to your life. If you are unsure of the answers, meeting with a career/life counselor or a coach may provide insight.

2.Protect Time for Your Passion

Examine your schedule: are you satisfied with how much time you spend doing things that light your internal fire? If not, make one or two changes in your timetable. Start small, changing your schedule in 15-minute slots to slowly integrate enriching activities. Finish big, organizing your life around your passion.

Self-expression – Are you a poker face or an open book?

Man Being StrangledWhat do you usually do with your emotions? Do you bottle them up and put on a poker face? Or do you wear your heart on your sleeve, being an open book for others and expressing all your emotions fully? Or maybe you are one of those who know how to express emotions to the appropriate extent and at the right moment.

The ability to express 
one’s feelings verbally 
and non-verbally is called Emotional Expression. Individuals who effectively express emotions find the right words and physical actions to convey their feelings in a way that is not hurtful to others.

If you tend to bottle emotions inside and not share them with others, you can create the illusion either that you are emotionless or that you do not grasp the significance of the situation. Your less expressive style may mean that in new environments you could struggle to engage others in a meaningful way.

If you express your emotions too frequently, you can quickly overwhelm your colleagues by sharing too much emotion at the wrong times. People usually tend to bottle up their emotions because of their fear of being rejected or of hurting others. To overcome this fear, ask for feedback after you express your true emotions and thoughts.

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By expressing your emotions you give yourself permission to be heard and seen. This means being a good lawyer for yourself and fostering your self-regard. Successful relationships flow from a willingness to openly exchange thoughts and feelings. Sharing how you feel about a decision or issue helps improve team communication and decision making, resolves interpersonal conflict, and helps you gain the resources that you need.
One strategy to develop effective emotional expression is an “Expression Monitor”:
1). Practice self-reflection daily to monitor to what extent you express your emotions and feelings. Measure your ability on a scale from 1 to 10. Where are you on this scale today? Where on the scale do you want to be? What do you need to do to reach the score you desire?
2). Observe the “Ripple Effect” of your emotional expression. How do people react  to your words or behavior? Do they tend to withdraw after you express yourself? Do they pay little attention to it? Or does your message come across as you intend it to?
3). Use your findings from the self-reflection and “Ripple Effect” observation to develop your emotional expression. Increase or reduce the “volume” of your emotions. Learn from situations when your expression lands well.Become “Emotionally Smart” by making emotional expression an effective tool for communicating your thoughts, needs and and values.

Emotional Self-Awareness is a foundation of Emotional Intelligence

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Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions. People with this competence are able to identify subtle differences in their emotions and know how their emotions affect their behavior, decisions, and performance.

If you are unaware of what is going on inside of you, you can’t influence or change it. But by consistently practicing the skills of emotional self-awareness, you will get great insights about your own world and will be able to change it to your benefit.

You will benefit greatly by knowing “Who, what and why pushes your buttons”. This strategy will help you to take control of the situations when you are provoked or overpowered by your own anger, frustration, or fear. To practice this strategy, turn on the “Radar” of Emotional Self-awareness in order to:

1). identify moments when your “hot buttons” are pushed;
2). recognize which situations,  circumstances,  and/or people push your “hot buttons”;
3). understand the cues for your emotional reactions by reflecting on your expectations, beliefs, and values.

Become “Emotionally Smart” by paying attention to the signals of your self-awareness.

Self-regard is the spinal cord of your emotional intelligence

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Self-regard is respecting oneself while understanding and accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses. Self-regard is often associated with feelings of inner strength and self-confidence. 



If your self-regard is strong, you can take criticism constructively and use it to your own benefit. If your emotional spinal cord is buckled you will feel emotional pain from time to time and it will impact your emotional well-being.

One of the strategies to keep your emotional spinal cord straight is to “own up to your weaknesses”. Although challenging, openly admitting your weaknesses can help keep your self-regard in check with how your other people see you.
  1. Record your reaction to any mistakes or errors you make over the next few weeks. If you find yourself blaming “the system” or others for your mistakes, you might want to start openly admitting your points of weakness.
  2. Rather than placing blame, use mistakes as opportunities to show you know and accept your weaknesses and put in place strategies that manage them, rather than pretending they don’t exist.