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"Know thyself"

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

This Ancient Greek aphorism is this first step in understanding the fundamentals of how we fit into this world, and our reactions to it. It had such significant meaning that it was inscribed on the entrance to the Greek Temple of Apollo.

Benjamin Franklin said, “There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Dr. Vivek Murthy says that the New Testament used this as a parable from one of Jesus’s teachings, the Sermon on the Mount. Mayer and Salovey in 1997, said "Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth." Emotional Intelligence starts with “knowing oneself” or Self Awareness, “the ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.” This sounds great, but how? How do we get to know ourselves in order to understand others better? What can we do that will improve our self-awareness? Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Center of Emotional Intelligence at Yale University, has developed a Mood Meter, which lists 100 feelings from low to high pleasantness and low to high energy. It is a great way to point to an emotion or feeling at any given time. In his book, Permission to Feel, he walks through the many uses of the Mood Meter. He also talks about meta-emotions, the idea that we have many emotions hitting us at once. I was talking to a friend earlier today and I realized how important the idea of labeling our emotions is. During the past 18 months of Zoom meetings and the absence of meeting face-to-face, left her exhausted and at a loss to understand what she was feeling. She had to examine herself and try to define what she was feeling to understand a path forward. Luckily for her, she was wise enough to slow down and define those feelings. We are going through rapid changes and understanding the importance of knowing what we are feeling is a step towards dealing with the uncertainty that lies ahead. How will you and your organization approach the future if it can’t describe the present? I believe that organizations and businesses have a collective emotional intelligence, and it permeates both within (how we treat staff) and in the public (how we treat and are perceived by our clients and community). It’s up to each of us to develop self-awareness. How are you feeling now? I can help. I have three workshops that can help you and your organization in these changing times: Emotional Intelligence for Leaders - the fundamentals of emotional intelligence and how we can be better leaders. Intelligent Change - the neuroscience of habit and using the fundamentals of emotional intelligence. Connections (That) Matter - using the fundamentals of emotional intelligence to make meaningful connections, personally and professionally.


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