Self Awareness is the Key to Emotional Intelligence

I was in a meeting the other day when I got into a disagreement with one of the other guys present.  It was no big deal and things got resolved amicably.  But he was difficult to deal with.  He mumbled and would never look me in the eye as we were speaking.  He also kept returning to his original point after he had conceded it.

At the end of the meeting one of the other folks there said, “Bud, you displayed a lot of emotional intelligence during that little disagreement.  Good for you.”

I was pleased to hear this.  I also got to thinking that I haven’t blogged about emotional intelligence lately.  Then I came across this cool little report on emotional intelligence…

As you can see, emotional intelligence begins with self awareness — the ability to accurately sense and identify your feelings.  People with a good sense of self awareness tend to be in control of their actions and how they deal with people and events.  People with a poor sense of self awareness just react to people and events — sometimes with poor results.

If you go back to the situation I described at the beginning of this post, I was aware that the guy with whom I had the disagreement was pushing all sorts of my buttons.  He spoke so low it was difficult for me to understand him.  He didn’t look me in the eye.  He persisted in re-raising issues I thought we had dispensed with.  In short, I could have gotten very angry with him very quickly.  But I didn’t.  I didn’t because I recognized that he was pushing hot buttons for me.  I doubt if he were doing this intentionally, but he was.

Because I have worked hard to identify behaviors that trigger strong emotional responses in me, I’ve gotten better at keeping my cool and not letting simple disagreements escalate into non productive screaming matches.  My self awareness has helped me build the strong, lasting relationships that have helped me succeed in my life and career.

How self aware are you?  Do you:

  • Know what you are feeling and why?
  • Make the connection between your feelings and what you think, do and say?
  • Understand how your feelings affect your performance and behavior?
  • Understand your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Reflect and learn from your experiences?
  • Listen openly to candid feedback?
  • Stay open to new and different perspectives?
  • Keep things in perspective
  • Have a sense of humor — especially about yourself?

If you can answer yes to most of these questions, you are pretty self aware and emotionally intelligent.  If you answer no to most of these questions, you might want to get to work in gaining a better understanding of yourself and how you react to people and events.

Your career mentor,


PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.


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