For the first blog, I wanted to choose a topic that would be relevant to all the different services provided by Propel 2Gether. It will be no surprise to anyone that communication is key in all of our relationships and dealings with others. So in order to be able to communicate effectively, we need to be aware of how we are feeling in any given moment.

We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us — how we can take it, what we do with it — and that is what really counts in the end.”  Joseph Fort Newton

Self-Awareness is the ability to know how you are feeling at any given time, why you are feeling a particular way and having an awareness of how those feelings can positively or negatively impact your environment. To build your competency in this area will benefit every aspect of your life, whether it is in your business or personal life, in dealing with clients, employees, trainees, peers, friends and family.

To give you an example of this, meet Hugo. When Hugo’s alarm went off at 6am, he hit the off button and fell back to sleep. He woke with a jump an hour later. He realised he was going to be late and was due to be in work for a meeting at 8am. He got dressed and headed downstairs to be met at the bottom of the stairs by his 5 year old son looking for a hug. As Hugo let him down he realised that his white shirt was covered with chocolate milk. I am showing my age here, but for anybody who has watched the movie “Sliding Doors” with Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah, there are two scenarios that can happen here.

Scenario One, is where Hugo shouts at his son which makes him cry, Hugo too annoyed to comfort him, runs back upstairs to change his shirt. His partner is annoyed with him for what has happened. They argue, ending with Hugo blaming her for not making sure he was up, even though she had fallen asleep with her son and didn’t realise he was getting up earlier than normal. He grabs his keys and leaves the house. Traffic is heavy, so this doesn’t help his mood and he shouts at the car in front of him for driving too slowly. Physically, his heart rate has increased and he feels flushed. By the time he gets to the office, he is already 40mins late so has to go straight into the meeting. He sits down but is feeling so uptight he is not really listening to what is being said and he is also starting to feel badly about his son and partner. Hugo cannot think straight and the meeting does not go well and his boss is not happy with him.

Scenario Two is where Hugo gets up and stops for a minute, takes some deep breaths and looks at his options. He decides to email his boss, let him know what has happened, apologise and ask him to delay the meeting. As he hugs his son, whilst he is still annoyed at having to change his shirt, he is able to control his feelings and does not overreact which means his son does not get upset. He still has to rush out the door but he is leaving the house in a state of calm instead of chaos. As he is driving into work, he uses the time to mentally prepare for the meeting, so even though he is still annoyed with himself for being late, he does not let it impact his day.

There are lots of different scenarios to demonstrate the effect of not being aware of how we are feeling. We can all relate to times we have reacted to these situations in a negative way, made assumptions about situations or have said or done things that we would like to take back. Now for the disclaimer…. WE ARE ALL HUMAN and no-one is perfect or gets it right all the time, but there are things we can do to build our competency in self-awareness.

Over the next few weeks, try the following, without judging yourself; • keep a record of any situations where you feel you could have reacted differently,

• note how you felt physically, this will help you to recognise what is happening in future
• try to name the feeling, is it anger, irritability, impatience,
• what was the outcome
• fact check the situation, what assumptions did you make, if any
• try to assess the situation from an outside perspective or speak to a close confidante
• what did you learn about yourself, what triggers a particular feeling, it could be a person or a particular event?
• assess what you could do differently in the future

Like anything worthwhile, there is no quick fix. You need to work at building this competency on an ongoing basis, but being aware of our feeling and the impact we have on others, is a very good start.

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