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Self-Knowing – a bit like having your own personal user manual

RocheMartin defines Emotional Intelligence by a set of 10 competencies and this is one in a series of blogs covering each one: Why develop Self-Knowing, what is it exactly and how can you develop it?

Why develop Self-Knowing?

For a start...Socrates (ancient philosopher):

"To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom"

...which sounds quite appealing.

RocheMartin (experts in the measurement and development of emotional intelligence)

"From a psychological point of view, people who have a clear understanding of themselves enjoy more successful careers and better lives"

...which sounds VERY appealing!

But why is that the case? Here’s my take on it…

Having good self-knowing is a bit like having your own personal ‘user manual’

And as people who actually read the manual when they buy something will know, really understanding how something works means that...

You get predictable results
  • You know what will happen if you use what you bought in the way it has been designed to work.

  • You also know its limitations. You know that if you use it in a way it wasn’t designed for, it’s not likely to work and you’ll probably get some unexpected results that you don’t want.

You’ll realise its full potential
  • You won’t miss out on the benefit of any cool features. You’ll be able to use those with intent and get the best out of it.

  • You’ll be able to get the results you imagined from it.

  • You’ll know how to configure it differently/use different settings to get different results.

And if you don’t read the manual and understand how it works, the opposite will be true. You’ll have unpredictable results, you’re unlikely to get the results you want and you won’t understand what to change or how to change it to get a different result.

And that’s true for all ‘its’ - gadgets, software, individuals, leaders, teams, businesses etc

Self-Knowing allows us to understand how to get the results we want.
It gives us more choice and more control over our results.

What is Self-Knowing exactly?

Self-Knowing, means you understand how you think AND you understand how the way you think impacts how you feel, your body language, your choices, your behaviour, your results and the impact you have on the people and things around you.

As with all the RocheMartin competencies, Self-Knowing can be broken down into 3 components, which help to pinpoint areas of strength and areas for development.

The 3 components of Self-Knowing are

Emotional awareness

Being able to recognise your emotions/how you are feeling.

Understanding how different emotions affect your choices, opinions and judgements.

Non-verbal communication

Understanding the way that how you think and feel impacts your facial expressions and body language.

Behavioural awareness

Understanding and noticing how what you think and how you behave as a result (what you say and do) impacts your environment and others around you,

And you need to remember that

Being emotionally intelligent means having all of the competencies

Together they create a really positive impact on how we approach and react to every scenario and the results we get. And having too much of one or a few competencies and not enough of others means that the impact of each falls short and can explain the problems that people have in their relationships and roles.

For example,

having self-knowing is all well and good, but if you don't have adaptability or self-control it's just knowledge
  • I know that when I'm angry I'm likely to say something I don't mean and upset someone...but I do nothing about it.

  • I'm not angry at you when I scowl, I'm just thinking...but I do nothing about it.

  • I like to get to the point and I know that sometimes that means I come across as a bit impatient or aggressive...but I do nothing about it.

Being skilled at adaptability and self-control means that you can use your self-knowing to get better results

  • Use your emotional awareness to trigger self-control so you can stay calm and make better decisions

  • Use your understanding of the way that how you think and feel impacts your facial expressions and body language to make sure that you are congruent. That your non-verbal communication matches what you are saying. It will mean you are more likely to get your message across in the way you intended and we tend not to trust or understand people who seem incongruent. For example, someone who is saying yes while shaking their head.

  • Use your behavioural awareness as a prompt to change your behaviour when what you’re doing isn’t working or giving you the result you want

How can you develop Self-Knowing?

Coaching is by far the most efficient, effective, engaging, empowering and enjoyable way to build any of the Emotional Intelligence competencies.

Helping you to

  • develop, refine and embed your own personalised strategies for each competency

  • discover more about how you think, feel and behave

  • get the most out of any assessments designed to increase your self-knowing

And this blog contains some ideas for you to experiment with on your own that have worked for me and my clients

If you’re interested in understanding your level of emotional intelligence using one of the RocheMartin assessments or would like to explore coaching for developing components of it like Self-Knowing, you can book a free call here.

And if you'd like to try out my monthly emails that provide a roundup of my blogs as well as other insights, you can sign up here.


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