“Self awareness facilitates both empathy and self-management, and these two, in combination, allow effective relationship management” Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee
I highly encourage my clients to make frequent entries in a journal. Some jot points in their smartphones on their journey to or from work. Some clients set up a spreadsheet and add to it in preparation for our meetings. Some select a special notebook and set aside time to write their observations and take stock of their week. Some share chapter and verse with me, others prefer to simply refer to their journal in our meetings. There are several reasons for writing a journal.
First the data and experiences are yours. All the books on leadership, presence, communication, negotiation etc will have limited effectiveness if you don’t have a good appreciation of what makes you tick. As the quote above emphasises, self-awareness is critical to self-management and relationships with others.
Second unless you record your experiences and reactions you are likely to selectively forget (like that biscuit you had at your coffee break even though you were on a diet) or your memories may be embellished.
Third you will begin to see patterns and recognise your conditioned tendencies.
Fourth you will be able to distinguish how you respond in different circumstances. Often my clients will make statements about themselves which they treat as universal instead of specific to a situation.
Fifth you will be better able to calibrate the success of the changes you are making. At first when my clients modify their behaviour in response to what they have learned, they often over do it. Like a pendulum they swing from one side to another. It is with practice that they fine tune the appropriate behaviour for the particular circumstances.
Sixth you will see more clearly the progress you have made. This will give you incentive to continue practising what you are learning.
Consider: How could journalling assist you? What things would you record? What are you trying to learn about yourself?
Primal Leadership, 2002, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee
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