In my search to deepen my understanding and personal work in Emotional Intelligence (EI), I signed up for Daniel Goleman’s online EI course. He offered an EI coaching certificate course a few years ago, though it was too expensive. They have since removed that from their course offerings and replaced it with this 10-week online course that includes daily reading and reflection, along with live Zoom sessions every other week with a facilitator (not Goleman). Once the course is completed (there is no final test), we are given e-badges that we can use on our website, e-mail signatures, etc.
From the first time I was introduced to EI, Daniel Goleman has been the person I’ve followed and subsequently wrote my EI leadership course following his framework. Besides reading his books, I wanted to improve my understanding of EI, especially for use in my coaching and consulting work. After reviewing Goleman’s monthly electronic newsletter, I found this course and signed up.
Prior to the actual start of the course, we had a Zoom call that introduced the learning platform we would use, course outline and an introduction to some of the others taking the course. We were asked to share three things as we introduced ourselves to our breakout group: 1) our goals in taking this course; 2) what we were most looking forward to and 3) what we anticipated being the most challenging.
The first week of the course starts with Self-Awareness, which Goleman states is the most important tool in understanding and improving EI. Self-Awareness is essentially how well we recognize our feelings and how this impacts our successes/failures and our relationships. DGEI focuses on mindfulness as a starting point to increasing self-awareness. I have been meditating on and off for a few years, so I understood the impact mindfulness has on EI. I challenged myself to start a gratitude journal, which I’ve wanted to do for some time as I read about the impressive benefits that come from a gratitude journal. I’m happy to say that I have done a week of journaling and meditation. Forming new habits is about showing up, not necessarily the depth or the amount of time one spends on a new skill or habit. So my journaling is short and to the point but includes three things I’m grateful for and a quick summation of the thoughts or emotions that are most present for me.
I think my greatest “aha moment”, this week, came from a section on focus. One of the questions in our reading was “Are you skimming the course?” I often find myself wanting to finish, rather than spending adequate time to be present and really capture the reading or the learnings along the way. This is true in so many areas of my life that sometimes I pay the price by not fully experiencing the moment and I end up losing much of that opportunity. I’m trying to slow everything down and momentarily notice my breathing and any changes in how my body and brain responds – heart rate, stress responses, dismissiveness, lack of concentration, etc. These “Mindful Moments” are intended to keep me present and engaged.
My other “aha moment” was interoception – the ability to perceive the sensations in the body as a result of emotions. Self-Awareness is rooted in our ability to understand how our body and brain work to tell us what we are experiencing and how we can manage our moments to insure better outcomes. The brain actually has a “map” of how all these reactions of the body connect to various organs. Our ability to recognize and “listen” for this information is a key to improving our self-awareness and EI.
What techniques do you use to improve your self-awareness and focus? Until next week….