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10 Ways Self-Awareness Is Used As A Powerful Tool For Success

Research has shown that emotional intelligence is closely linked to success at all levels – even more than cognitive intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) was coined in 1990 by two scientists, Peter Salovey and John Mayer who described it as your capability to recognize and understand your own and other people’s emotions.


It’s about using this information to:

  • be more effective in communications and situations
  • guide thinking and behavior
  • manage or adjust emotions
  • adapt to new environments
  • achieve goals


According to one study by Dr Richard Boyatzis, there’s no correlation between being emotionally intelligent and having a high IQ, or high cognitive intelligence:


  1. Cognitive intelligence is the ability to understand information, imagine possibilities, use intuition, solve problems, and make decisions.
  2. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand the needs and feelings of yourself and other people, manage your feelings, and respond to others in appropriate ways.


After years of research Dr Boyatzis and associate Daniel Goleman, came up with a model containing various competencies of emotional intelligence divided into four clusters namely: self-awareness, self-management (self-regulation), social awareness, and relationship management.


In this first of four articles in the emotional intelligence series, self-awareness will be discussed.




You simply must be aware of your own emotions before you can manage them effectively.


Without self-awareness, without being able to recognize your own feelings and emotions, you won’t be able to control them. This lack self-awareness will also prevent you from sensing the emotions of others (having empathy).


When you have emotional self-awareness, you have a solid understanding of your own feelings and emotions, know the source of those emotions, know your strengths and weaknesses, know what drives them, and know how feelings manifest in physical symptoms.


You can see how your feelings help or hurt – and have an accurate sense of how other people see you – in so to align your self-image with a larger reality.


Emotional self-awareness is different than cognitive self-awareness which focuses on your thoughts and ideas rather than your feelings.


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.


How to enhance emotional self-awareness:


Be in the moment – Listen to what your emotions and feelings might be telling you at any given moment. Listen attentively to what’s happening beneath the surface without letting your mind suppress or distort what emerges.


Engage in silent meditation – Deep breathing, walking, sewing, painting, or listening to music are powerful techniques for calming the mind so that you can hear your emotions speak.


Tuning in to your body – When you’re terrified or furious, your heart pounds much faster than when you’re calm. You may break a light sweat or breathe more rapidly, and  your shoulder muscles may tighten. Noticing how your feelings influence your body takes practice but be mindful from now on how your body respond to situations.


Ask yourself questions – What am I feeling? What is the source? How are these feelings manifesting themselves in my body? Am I experiencing tenseness in my shoulders, clenched teeth, feeling worn down, anxiety, fear or euphoria?


Label your emotions – Once you’ve determined what and how you feel, label them as it can help you identify the sources or triggers of negative feelings such as anger, fear, surprise and passion. Once it becomes clearer, you can find ways to improve your response to a trigger.


Rate Yourself – What do you think your strengths are? Complete a formal assessment test. These could include a personality test, discovering your values, your skills, your abilities.


Accurate self-assessment


Accurate self-assessment of your self-awareness can increase personal power; your self-confidence. In other words, the an inner belief in your ability to attain your goals and achieve the things you want in life.


But to accurately self-assess, is to first understand your values, beliefs, assumptions, goals and where your path in life leads to.


Knowing your values is an essential part of building self- awareness. Values are the principles, standards, morals, ethics and ideals that guide your life.


And fully knowing your values, is like following beacon of light. You’re comfortable and secure because you know where you are, you know where you’re heading, and you’re confident, relaxed and happy knowing, you’re on the right road.


Here’s how to build personal power:


Make a list of your strengths – Writing them down helps to imagine how you feel when using one of your strengths and succeeding.


Ask for feedback – Ask for input about your actions from a trusted colleague or mentor so they can point to areas where you can grow even stronger.


Move on from failures – Recognize what you can learn from a mistake, quickly move on by taking that information and applying it to future situations.




Self-confidence is one of the six important facets of Emotional Intelligence, which is a positive and balanced attitude, equated with self dimension.


People admire individuals who display certainty, and have a positive attitude toward themselves without being arrogant. It’s when you understand your own strengths and limitations, when you operate from competence.


When you’re self-confident you are more assertive about what you believe to be right, and more confident about what you can and cannot do.


How to build self-confidence:

Write yourself a positive mission statement and script – Draft an internal monologue that bolsters your ego. Carefully think about and devise a mission statement for yourself and read it every day. It will help remind you of who you are and give you a sense of pride. If your mission in life does not coincide with where you are right now in your job or personal life, plan to spend some time contemplating what you really want by becoming more self-aware.


Develop a mental video – Develop a clear mental video image of yourself (Visualization will also help) that shows you progressing toward your goals and aspirations, acting in a highly confident way much the way your ideal mentor might act.


Work on your self- image – You always feel better and more self-confident when you know you look good. It costs you nothing to smile, be neat, meet people’s eyes, and carry yourself proudly.


Pretend – You have lots of self-confidence. As they say, ‘Fake it ‘til you make it’ –  use your mental video images and make as if you’re a character in a play. Act calmly self-assured.

Speak up in meetings – Contribute something in every meeting you attend. Get an agenda ahead of time, pick an issue, investigate it and plan ahead what you can say or suggest about it. Speak up early in the meeting before you have a chance to talk yourself out of it.


Break rules – A great deal of confidence and power comes from exercising independent judgment, rather than following arbitrary rules to the letter.


Break down goals into steps – And keep a log of each step you take toward your bigger goal or vision. With each step write a short phrase about how this increased your confidence, how it felt, what were your thoughts etc.


Have a willingness to show weakness – Your willingness to acknowledge blemishes, reflects a level of maturity and is a substantial step in your EQ development as your decision-making becomes more decisive with a conviction in your beliefs.


Becoming self aware is a journey and you’ll probably spend a life time learning more about yourself. But as you improve your experience of life, create opportunities for better work life balance, become aware of your emotions, and improve your ability to respond to change – success could lay just around the corner.


Please note

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