Hone Your Emotional Intelligence for Career Success

Are you concerned your company doesn’t appreciate what you bring to the table?  Do you feel you’re being overlooked for promotions because you don’t handle things like your manager does?  Maybe you’re trying to act a certain way because you think that’s what your manager wants, but it makes you feel like an imposter.  

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This is a frustrating and upsetting place to be.  Being dragged down by thinking if you don’t act a certain way, you won’t get the recognition you deserve. On the flip side, if you act out of alignment with your values, character, and personality you feel bad and won’t be able to rock your unique strengths.   

The good news is you don’t have to settle for either of those outcomes.  I’m going to share a simple approach to honing your emotional intelligence.  After all, emotional intelligence is a super power.  The best part is, you can apply the self-discovery, perspective, and confidence boost to improve all areas of your life.  

Let’s dive in!

Emotional Intelligence – A Game Changer

Early in my career, I worked at a small technology start-up that afforded me opportunities far above my experience level.  This included managing complex projects and leading teams of people who were older and far more experienced than I was.  We had an entrepreneurial culture and the owner encouraged creative problem solving and challenging the status quo.  For the most part, I thrived at this company.  I loved the adrenaline rush of being thrown into complex problems and working with super smart and driven professionals.  However, there were a few big problems! 

  • I thought my team would think I was too young or inexperienced to accept me as a leader and manager
  • I was afraid that someone was going to find out that I didn’t have it all figured out 
  • I was exhausted by public speaking
  • I broke out into cold sweats at the thought of networking – why would anyone want to talk to me?

At the time, I thought that meant I wasn’t cut out to be a leader.  That I was destined to be on the sidelines helping someone else shine.  This thought was very depressing because in my heart I knew I was meant for something much greater.  

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Thankfully, I worked for an amazing leader that knew the transformational power of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.  He connected me with a great Coach that helped me discover, embrace, and gain the confidence to speak my truth while at the same time teaching me how to build more effective relationships.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was honing my emotional intelligence. 

Emotional Intelligence – Step 1: Self-Awareness

First things first, you need to understand your values, innate tendencies, and personality traits.  This includes figuring out:

  • where you get your energy from
  • how you process information
  • how you make decisions
  • your attitude towards the external world

With this understanding you will be able to approach your life, relationships, and situations in a much more effective and planful way.  Self-awareness is also something that most managers look for when determining if someone is ready for a promotion.  Self-awareness is a game changer!

Following are a few ways you can develop greater self-awareness.

Take a personality assessment

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Personality assessments are a quick, easy, and fun way to gain insight on yourself.  There are several great personality assessments out there.  Some are free and you can do them on your own.  Some are more in depth and require that you work with a certified administrator to help you get the most out of your results.  With a little Internet research you can find one that resonates with you. 

Here are a couple links to get you started.

Tip! There are two areas of self-awareness that I’ve found most helpful in growing my career and building relationships.  These areas are:

  • Where you are on the Introvert-Extrovert spectrum – this is key because it gives you insight into how you get your energy, how to recharge, how you process information, and much more.  For example, I used to think there was something wrong with me because I would feel totally drained and fuzzy headed after a presentation or large meeting.  Then I learned I was an introvert and what that meant.  It was a total aha moment for me.  I learned I could still be an amazing public speaker, effective networker, and actually have fun at parties.  I simply had to learn how to prepare myself for these events, know my limits, and how to recharge afterwards.
  • Whether you are a Thinker or Feeler – this will help you understand how you make decisions and what you value.  It’s important for you to learn the differences between thinkers and feelers and how to tell if someone else is a thinker or a feeler.  The world needs both thinkers and feelers.  Both lead, manage, and excel equally well.  You just need to recognize there is a difference and tailor your message accordingly.  For example, if you are a feeler, and your boss is a thinker, you’ll want to communicate to your boss using words that will resonate with a thinker.  If you don’t tailor your message, you’ll run the risk of your thinker boss dismissing your approach or idea as too emotional or mushy.  Listen for phrases like, “I think…” or “I feel…”.  These are common ways to quickly identify whether someone is a thinker or feeler.

Practice mindfulness

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There are many ways to practice mindfulness.  Meditation and yoga are wonderful and accessible options.  You can also focus on really paying attention to your mind, body, and emotions throughout the day.  Notice when you feel good and at the top of your game.  Also, notice when you feel bad, anxious, or stressed.  Observe without judgement.  Make a note of the situations, topics, people, or places that make you feel good or bad.  Reflect on this information to notice patterns and make connections to deepen your self-awareness.

Ask for feedback

Taking the initiative to ask your manager, peers, direct reports, and clients for feedback is powerful.  You can ask for feedback at any time.  In fact, asking for feedback outside of a regular review cycle, after a big project, after a challenge or setback shows that you really care about what you’re doing.  Most people will be flattered that you want their input and this often leads to stronger relationships. 

When asking for feedback, take the opportunity to have a discussion.  For example, let’s say your manager provides you with the feedback that you need to speak up more at meetings.  As a very self-aware human, you know that you are an introvert who likes to listen well and have more time to internally process information before responding. Take the opportunity to let your manager know this about you.  While your manager may still want you to speak up more, they will appreciate your courage in sharing the information and the two of you can come up with a go forward plan that works for you both.  

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Word of caution – when sharing a counter point to feedback you’re receiving, make sure you are grounding yourself in self-awareness and not just making excuses for yourself.

Emotional Intelligence – Step 2: Self-Management

Self-management, which may be referred to as “self-control” or “self-regulation,” is the ability to take responsibility for your own behavior and well-being.  This includes being able to regulate your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations.  

You can also think of self-management as personal leadership. Think about the great leaders you know and how they conduct themselves and show up in their life. After all, why would someone else be inspired to follow you if you wouldn’t follow yourself.

To be great at self-management, you’ll want to focus on effectively:

  • treating yourself with love and compassion
  • motivating yourself
  • setting and working towards goals
  • holding yourself accountable
  • managing stress
  • accepting responsibility for your behaviors, thoughts, and actions

To learn more about improving your self-management skills, check out 12 Rules for Self Management by Rosa Say.

Being an effective self-manager is critical to career success.  It materializes in how you show up and how well you inspire trust and confidence from everyone who comes in contact with you.

Emotional Intelligence – Step 3: Social Awareness and Relationship Management

Having empathy is the key to social awareness and relationship management.  Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  

You’ve likely realized that having the right relationships is a key component to building a successful career.  You’ll need to build strong and trusted relationships with a wide variety of people, including your manager, direct reports, senior executives, clients, peers, industry experts, and more.  These relationships are necessary for building high performing teams, solving complex problems, affecting change, growing your business, and moving up the career ladder.  

Relationships can be complex.  This is especially true of professional relationships where people may have an agenda, act a certain way because they think they have to, lack trust in you or others, or may simply be jockeying for position.  

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By using empathy, deep listening, and being real, you’ll be able to build stronger relationships that can be leveraged for mutual success.  You’ll also be able to use these skills to see through any BS so that you can understand underlying motivations, negotiate, build buy-in, and create mutually beneficial partnerships. 

To learn more about empathy, check out this article by Andrew Sobel called Eight Ways to Improve Your Empathy.

Emotional Intelligence – Step 4: Confidence Through Practice

Now that you’ve invested in developing your self-awareness and empathy, the best way to gain confidence is through practice.  This means put yourself out there in meaningful ways:

  • Have candid discussions with your manager about your ideas, what you have to offer, your career goals, and promotion aspirations – ask for their help in developing a plan to achieve them.
  • Keep asking for feedback in all areas of your life, be open to receiving it, and incorporate what resonates with you.
  • Approach your career with a beginner’s mind – an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions.
  • Speak your truth and share your opinion.  Your company hired you because you bring value to the team.  They want to hear your ideas, input, and solutions.

Emotional Intelligence – Step 4: Get Support

Your career is a journey, not a destination.  Having the support of a great mentor or coach can help maximize your success along the way.  Many large organizations have formal mentorship programs.  If your company doesn’t, you may want to reach out to someone you respect and ask them if they are open to mentoring you.

If you want serious focus and results, hiring a professional Coach may be your best option.  If you’re not sure if you can afford a coach on your own, check out your company’s training and/or benefits policy as many include working with professional coaches.  A great Coach will:

  • guide you on a journey of self-discovery
  • empower you to create the amazing life you are meant to live
  • keep things real and hold you accountable to your goals
  • be one of your biggest cheerleaders
  • support you throughout your journey

Emotional Intelligence – Final Thoughts

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I hope this post provided you with actionable insights to find greater career success and live your best life.  Practicing emotional intelligence is truly one of the best gifts you can give yourself – and those around you!

If you’re interested in learning more about how a coach can help you create your best life, contact me today to schedule your free no obligation consultation. I would be honored to support you on your journey. You can reach me at kristie.oshea@feedyourdream.net.

If you know someone that could benefit from the information in this post, please share the word. It’s much appreciated!

I would also love to hear how emotional intelligence has changed your life and answer any questions you may have. Please leave a comment below!

Cheers! Kristie

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Smart, confident, successful women find themselves in abusive relationships

My unhealthy approach to relationships started when my mom passed away unexpectedly.  I was six years old.  I didn’t know how to grieve and those around me were lost in their own sadness.  After a couple months of coming together, my dad and sister fell into deep depressions and isolated themselves.  All I wanted was for my family to smile again.  So, at six years old, I pushed my thoughts and feelings aside and focused on keeping my family together.  I became the caretaker, protector, and excuser of bad behavior.  This set me on a path to seeking out unhealthy relationships for the next 20 years.

I’m sharing this with you because I am a smart, confident, and successful woman, and I stayed in a very bad relationship for seven years.  I went so far as marrying someone that was emotionally and sexually abusive.  Thankfully, I managed to get out and stop my pattern.  I hope the things I learned along the way can help others get out of, heal from, and break the cycle of engaging in unhealthy and dangerous relationships. 

In this post, I’ll share why I engaged in abusive relationships.  I’ll also share some ideas for how to get out of an abusive relationship and how to break the cycle.  I am writing this post from a woman’s point of view, because I’m sharing my story.  However, many wonderful men find themselves in abusive relationships too.  My goal is for this post to be universally helpful.

Why People Engage in Abusive Relationships

This is a tough question and there isn’t one answer.  We all have our own reasons for doing the things we do.  I grew up surrounded by dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships.  I didn’t have a good example to follow.  I also had a deep need to “fix” people and make them happy.  I still don’t fully understand why I chose the unhealthy relationships I did.  Some days I think it’s because by “fixing” someone else, I thought I would somehow heal my own pain.  I had a lot of repressed grief and anger about the loss of my mom and feeling abandoned. 

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My abusive relationships were insidious.  I was drawn in by the intense emotion that accompanies an abusive relationship.  I mistook possessiveness and jealousy as love and passion.  Also, the cycle of fighting and making-up is strangely addictive.  I was in too deep before I knew it.  I didn’t recognize myself anymore.  I was ashamed for letting myself be threatened, belittled, spit on, and pressured into sex acts that demoralized me.  I hid the worst of it from my family and friends, but they knew something was very wrong.  The more they questioned me, the more committed I was to proving to them that I had everything under control.  That I knew what I was getting into.  That they didn’t understand my partner was hurting and didn’t mean to hurt me.  That I was up for the challenge of fixing this person and I wouldn’t get hurt in the process. 

At the end of the day, I boil my why down to the following:

  • I didn’t have examples of healthy relationships to model after
  • I was avoiding dealing with my own grief, loss, and anger
  • I thought by fixing someone I would build an unbreakable connection
  • I convinced myself that I was strong enough to take the abuse

The important takeaway here is that it’s worth spending time thinking about why you or someone you love engages in unhealthy relationships.  Understanding the why is a key part of breaking the cycle for good.

Getting Out of an Abusive Relationship

Regardless of how much you care for an abusive partner, you owe it to yourself (and your children if you have them) to stop the abuse.  If you are in immediate danger, call 911 (or your country’s equivalent emergency hotline).  You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit www.thehotline.org If you can’t have a conversation because your partner will hear you, the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website has a chat feature.

I knew I had to get out when I learned about some very hurtful things my partner did to people close to me.  Not only did I have to face that people knew my secret, I had the guilt of knowing my choices resulted in some of the people closest to me getting hurt.

Getting out starts with practicing self-love and being completely honest with yourself.  Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.  Have compassion for yourself, avoid blaming yourself, and give yourself permission to put your own needs first.  Allow yourself to admit that you are in an abusive relationship and it needs to stop.  Admitting that to myself was very powerful and enabled me to focus on getting out.

Once you’ve decided to leave, you will likely find yourself needing to do one or more of the following:

  • Work up the courage to leave
  • Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and financially
  • Figure out where you will go or if your partner will go
  • Figure out how to tell the kids, family, and friends
  • Assemble your support structure

It can help to make a list of the things you need to do or figure out.  Use this list to build your plan.  Writing your plan down is tremendously helpful because it makes getting out real.  It can also help to share your plan with a trusted family member, friend, or therapist.  If you are concerned your partner will find a written plan, skip this until you are in a safe place.

Just remember, you don’t have to have it all figured out before you take action.  Once you start, you will gain strength and the path will unfold.

How to Break the Cycle

Breaking the cycle starts with having some level of understanding about why you engaged in abusive relationships in the first place.  You may be able to figure this out on your own through soul searching and self-discovery, but you may also need to work with a professional therapist or counsellor.  I generally recommend against relying on family and friends to help you figure this out.  Given their love for you they may not be objective.  Once you know why you do things, you are better able to recognize when you’re in danger of falling back into an unhealthy pattern.    

Be prepared to grant yourself the space and time you need to heal.  The healing process is different for everybody and it can take many forms.  Some people heal by spending time alone, others by surrounding themselves with people they love.  Some heal through meditation, yoga, therapy, diving into their work, spending time in nature, spending time with animals, faith-based activities – the possibilities are endless.  The key is to listen to yourself and honor the process.

As part of the healing process, it’s helpful to evaluate other areas of your life to determine if change is needed to stop other negative patterns, habits or behaviors that could prevent you from breaking the cycle:

  • Evaluate other relationships in your life to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with genuine love, care, and support
  • Monitor your self-talk to make sure it’s healthy, supportive, and loving
  • Assess your habits to make sure your engaging in healthy healing behaviors
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I’m happy to report that I broke my cycle.  I ended my last abusive relationship nearly 15 years ago.  Part of what I did was surrounding myself with people in healthy relationships.  This helped me see a new possibility and something to work towards.  I also found support in talking with people that had similar experiences.  It wasn’t an easy road, and I’m still on my healing journey.  Every now and then, I have nightmares about my past.  When I wake up in a panic, I’m able to roll over, hug my husband, and remember I got out.  I know you can too!

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Personal Leadership

Practicing personal leadership is the key to being successful in all areas of your life.

You may be wondering what personal leadership is and how it’s different from other types of leadership.  For starters, personal leadership is all about you being a great leader of yourself.

What is personal leadership?

Personal leadership is about you taking responsibility for your choices, needs, wants, actions, behaviors, and beliefs.  It starts with owning your life and not blaming anyone else for why your life is the way it is.  It’s all about:

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  • Owning your decisions and actions
  • Listening to your body
  • Speaking up for yourself
  • Being honest with yourself and others
  • Doing what you know is right, not just what feels good or comes easy
  • Providing supportive self-care

Why is personal leadership important?

It’s the pathway to creating your best life and a better world.  When you’re at your best, you can truly show up for others in all areas of your life.  Life will never be all sunshine and roses.  Sometimes it just plain sucks.  However, we learn, grow, and become more resilient when working through life’s trials, tribulations, and challenges.  Practicing personal leadership gives you the foundation you need to weather any storm.  It builds your trust and confidence in your ability to take care of yourself.  It teaches you to have compassion and empathy for yourself.  It strengthens your mind, body, and soul.

How do I practice personal leadership?

Through self-love, self-awareness, self-discipline, and having your holistic house in order.  Having your holistic house in order includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Proper nutrition to nourish your body and fuel you to function at your best
  • Ample sleep (typically 7-8 hours per night) supports immune health, better decision making, and helps you remain calm in stressful situations
  • Consistent physical activity helps you relieve stress, boosts energy, and releases feel-good endorphins
  • Cultivating meaningful relationships and letting go of toxic people provides you with the strong support structure you need to thrive
  • Nurturing your spiritual practice connects you to something greater
  • Doing meaningful work helps you feel accomplished and aligned with your greater purpose
  • Taking control of your finances by living within your means, dealing with your situation, and investing in your future leads to greater peace of mind and security
  • Celebrating who you are and your accomplishments honors your life energy

How do I grow my personal leadership skills?

As with all things, personal leadership takes practice and the approach that will work best for you is unique to you.  The good news is there are some practical things you can do to develop your personal leadership skills.

  • Connect with your values to get clear on what’s important to you
  • Take honest stock of your relationships – strengthen the healthy ones and let go of the ones that no longer serve you
  • Define your non-negotiables (people, activities, and things) and prioritize how you spend your energy, time, and money around these
  • Create SMART goals in areas of your life you want to transform e.g. career, health, relationships, finances, etc.
  • Hold yourself accountable to the change you want to create (finding an accountability partner or trusted advisor can be tremendously helpful)
  • Set aside time to just be and see what comes up – listen to it!

Practicing personal leadership can be truly transformative.  When you’re at your best, you can lift others up.  Imagine what a world that would be!

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Create Your Best Life – Part 2

Turning Insight Into Action!

Welcome back!  If you implemented some (or all) of the recommended practices described in part 1 of this series, you likely have additional insight into things you want to change, explore, or create in your life.  In this post, we’re going to talk about taking that insight and moving to a place of action.  The action you will take is unique to you and what you’re working to achieve, change, or create.  Therefore, this post is focused on helping you create action-oriented lifestyle habits that will support you on your unique journey.  Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to celebrate you and your commitment to creating the life you want.

Moving from insight to action requires:

  • Living with intention
  • Creating a plan
  • Implementing a support structure that works for you

It’s helpful to look at these as practices you will continually revisit and refine, as opposed to steps in a process that you check-off.  As you gain more clarity through action, you will hone your intention, refine your plan, and optimize your support structure. 

Live with Intention

Get clear on what you want and create lifestyle habits that support your intention.  The following steps can help you get clear on your intention:

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  • Step 1 – write your intention down.  Be specific about what you want and why.  Use words that evoke positive emotion and resonate with you.  For example, if you want to start your own business, your intention could be something like, “I will grow my own business so that I can decide which projects to work on and provide financially, physically, and emotionally for myself and my family.  
  • Step 2 – spend time with your intention on a daily-basis.  Post your intention in several places around your home, car, office, phone – anywhere you will see it often.  When reading it, take the time to notice how it makes you feel.  Take time to visualize your intention.  Does it excite you, motivate you, and inspire you to keep going?  If not, consider refining it.
  • Step 3 – tell people about it!  One of the best ways to get momentum going in the right direction is to tell people about your intention.  Find a friend, a loved one, or post it as a comment to this blog.  I’d love to hear from you!

Create a Plan

Once you have clear intention, you’re ready to create a plan to make your intention a reality.  There are many approaches to planning and I could write several posts on this subject alone.  For now, I’m going to keep it simple and recommend a few ways to approach your plan and some things to incorporate:

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  • Create a mission and vision statement to guide you
  • Write down where you are now, where you are going, and steps to get there.
  • Write down your long-term goals and break them down into smaller pieces e.g. lifetime goals > three year goals > one year goals > three month goals > one month goals > weekly goals > daily goals
  • Spend time with your plan on a weekly basis to evaluate progress and refine your actions

There are many wonderful tools available to guide you in creating your plan.  One of my favorites is the Law of Attraction Planner by Freedom Mastery©.  You can find this planner and many more on Amazon.com.  After all, no need to recreate the wheel. 

Strong Support Structure

Last, but not least, you will need a strong support structure in place to help you on your journey.  By support structure, I’m referring to the people, institutions, and lifestyle-habits you put in place to help you achieve your goals and hold you accountable.  The support structure that will be most effective for you depends on your goals, self-discipline, time available, relationships, and resources.

Many people find the following support structures helpful:

  • Join and participate in a group focused on your goal (in-person or virtual i.e. Facebook)
  • Enroll in a program geared towards your goal e.g. if you want to become a health coach, enroll in a health coaching program
  • Talk to your family and friends about support you need to be successful e.g. if you need to study in the evenings, you may need help from your partner with the children or making dinner
  • Be conscious about your priorities and communicate them to the people in your life
  • Create a schedule that makes time for your priorities – and stick to it!
  • Find a mentor to learn from their experiences
  • Hire a coach to help with accountability, motivation, and moving past blockages

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post.  The most important things to remember are to trust the process and aim for progress over perfection.  You won’t have all the answers at the start.  You may even realize what you initially thought was your goal, is not at all what you want.  Embrace it.  That’s what keeps the journey interesting and how you create your best life!

I’d love to hear how you’re applying the practices covered in this post and the results you’re achieving. Please comment below.

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Create Your Best Life – Part 1

The Path to Insight

Do you feel stuck or out of alignment in your life? Is there a nagging feeling in your chest or swirling in the pit of your stomach telling you something is off.  Do you feel guilty about having these feelings because your life is great in many ways, and you should just soldier on and hope the feelings go away.  But, when you’re being completely honest with yourself, you know ignoring these feelings is impacting your quality of life.  Something is calling you.  You’re just not sure what it is or how to find it.

You are not alone.  The good news is, you can do something about it.  Before we talk about what you can do, let’s spend a few minutes talking about why you owe it to yourself, and your loved ones, to explore these feelings.

Living your life in a state of unease, anxiety, or stress has a serious impact on your physical, mental, emotional, and even financial well-being.  It can zap your energy, leave you feeling irritable, and lead to consoling yourself with junk food, alcohol, shopping, or binge watching all seven seasons of “The Golden Girls” (o.k., maybe that one is just me).  It can seriously impact your relationships.  If this is allowed to go on for too long, you will not only miss out on truly experiencing your life, you are at serious risk of developing chronic lifestyle-related diseases.  Lifestyle-related disease can include obesity, depression, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer.  Now, back to the good news of there being something you can do about it.

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Let’s start by setting the stage for what to expect.  Getting to the bottom of what’s going on is a journey that requires commitment, curiosity, and an open-mind.  Along the way there will be self-exploration, surprises, aha moments, and breakthroughs.  There will also be fear, doubt, hard truths, and decisions that need to be made.  One of the most important success factors will be your mindset in how you approach the journey.  Be proud of yourself for recognizing there is something going on that needs attention.  Honor yourself for having the courage to do something about it.  Be patient and kind to yourself as you work through the many layers. Know that you are not alone and there are many forms of support in the universe if you need it.

Now, let’s talk about the practical things you can do to gain insight into what’s going on.  It starts by truly listening to what your body, mind, and emotions are trying to tell you.  Noticing, without judgement, and recording what comes up for future exploration.  Depending on the issue, this can either be quite easy or it can take a lot of exploration and unpacking.  Following are my favorite techniques, tools, and practices for gaining insight and understanding where feelings are coming from.

Create space for thoughts and feelings

When we are always in a state of doing, we are too busy to pay attention to what our mind, body, and emotions are trying to tell us.  By consciously slowing down, sitting quietly, and allowing thoughts and feelings to come up, meaningful insights about what’s going on will arise.  The goal at this stage is to simply notice without judgement or preconceived conclusions.  Jot down the thoughts, feelings, and ideas that come up, no matter how unrelated they may seem.

Get your body moving

Physical activity works wonders for the mind, body, and spirit.  It gets endorphins flowing, activates bodily systems, and gets your creative energy flowing.  You can do whatever kind of physical activity that works best for you and your fitness level.  This includes walking, hiking, running, bicycling, and yoga.  The choice and intensity is up to you and what works for your body.  The important thing is to just get moving and notice what thoughts, feelings, and emotions arise.  Note: always consult your physician before starting a new exercise program.  As with the creating space exercise, record your thoughts, feelings, and emotions that come up. You will refer back to your notes in later steps.

Journal with prompts

Don’t let this one scare you.  The call to journal can feel so overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure what the heck you are supposed to write about anyway.  Writing prompts are a great way to make journaling accessible.  There are many kinds of prompts and what will work best for you depends on how comfortable you are with writing and your situation.  To tailor this practice specifically to you, use your ideas, thoughts, and feelings that came up in the previous practices to craft your own unique writing prompts.  Following are a few examples:

  • Lists and Logs – these require little actual writing and are a great entry into journaling by getting your writing juices flowing. Here are a few examples of list prompts you can try: List the top five thoughts, feelings, or emotions that come up when you think about your life, relationships, health or career.  List your top 10 strengths.  List your personal values that guide your actions.  List three things you can do to make more time for yourself, your family, your passions, etc.  List the top five things you spend your money on.  List five ways you could save more money.  Create a daily food, feeling, and/or exercise log.   
  • Mind-maps and other diagrams – these are great tools to help you explore relationships between ideas, thoughts, and feelings.  They will help you see cause and effect.  Start by having a central topic for the mind-map, and writing down thoughts, feelings, and ideas that arise related to the topic.  Try to group these into categories so that the relationships between them become visible.  Have fun, use different colors for different categories, and don’t worry about what’s on the page.  The exercise is what’s most important, not the final product.  And, it only needs to make sense to you.  
  • Longer form writing exercises – these are great to unpack ideas, thoughts, and feelings once you’ve identified them in a list, log, or mind-map.  Examples include: “Write about a time where you felt at the top of your game.  Be as specific as you can.  Were you at work, volunteering, or pursuing a personal passion?  What were you doing?  How were you doing it?  Who was around you?  How did it feel?
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Supportive self-care

Chances are, by doing the aforementioned activities difficult thoughts, feelings, and emotions are going to come up.  It’s expected and part of the process, but it doesn’t make it easy.  To support yourself on your journey, it’s imperative that you focus on self-care.  This could mean eating more nutritious meals, getting enough sleep, taking a relaxing bath, connecting with loved ones, getting intimate with your partner, and not being over demanding of your mind, body, or spirit.

Congratulations for recognizing the importance of taking care of yourself.  By bringing your best self to the table, you will be a positive force in the world.  You are on an exciting journey of self-discovery.  You already have the power and know-how to create your best life, you just need to access it.  Remember, your mindset is key – have faith and trust the process.  

The next post in this series will focus on moving from a place of insight to a place of action.  I will cover tools and techniques to empower you to make the lifestyle changes you need to live your best life.  

If you find yourself needing support at any point in your journey, I’m here for you.  I offer individual and group health coaching programs that will empower you to create a holistic wellness practice to support you in feeling your best and achieving your dreams.

Want to learn more about how taking care of your whole-self leads to greater health, stronger relationships, and the confidence to live big? I thought so…

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