If you read the first article in this series, you may be attending to the assumptions that frame written and spoken communications and beginning to come to your own conclusions about their validity for you., In Daniel Goleman’s article in the New Yorker on 7th April, previously introduced, he identifies four qualities which he believes assist people in business.
The first recommended attribute is self-awareness. Goleman describes the qualities of this as:
Self-awareness means different things to different people, and so do the associated ideas proposed by Goleman. He describes the results of realistic self-confidence above, but how do you know when you are doing that?
You can compare your own knowledge and intentions with what is taking place in your environment. Then you can gather additional information and take action to support or change the situation.
Is competence a feeling of knowing what you are doing, and if so, is that sufficient? If you are competent at doing something or taking charge of something, there will be evidence in the world that you can see and hear and point out to anyone who asks.
That is one component of self-awareness.
There is another aspect to knowing when you are competent. Are you relying on external validation from other people or the credentials you hold? These have their uses; minimally, they allow you to perform your function with enough latitude to become good at it.
Optimally, if you have the endorsement of a discerning expert in your field, you may be able to incorporate some of their standards in your yardstick for competence.
“The most reliable standard for competence is the product of your own research and experience.”
When you discover what you require of yourself when performing competently, with reference to your own values as well as criteria for competence that you have identified, you can answer fluently and confidently if asked ‘What are you doing that for?’
To back up further, self-awareness is supported by knowing your own values. Most people run values at the back of their minds and have difficulty articulating what prompted them to take a particular course of action. When you interact with members of different cultures, either through travel or living in a multi-cultural context, different assumptions about proper behaviour bring some of your own assumptions to awareness.
You can identify the values you hold by asking yourself what keeps you in your present job, home, car or other ongoing context. This applies whether your initial response is satisfaction or dislike. Another clue is accessible when you think you should do or not do something, but your inclination is the opposite.
If you explore your inclination, there is probably a value supporting it which is more important to you and further from your awareness than the value associated with the should.
And backing up even further, if you become aware of how you are using your attention in the moment, whether it is all or partly on your internal experience or the outside world at any you can alter the direction and quality to facilitate your thinking and interactions. Awareness of how your attention functions allows you to access your presupposed values via your low-level internal responses to others’ actions and your own and others’ expectations.
When you have these resources readily available to you, Goleman’s criteria for self-awareness will be a natural part of your repertoire.
The next article in this series is on self-management.
By Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer at INSPIRITIVE.
(Note: If you would like to learn more about NLP and Emotional Intelligence you can get a copy of our latest Kindle book, ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).
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