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May 6, 2019

Seeing what you can’t see


How’s your ability to bounce?

How is your ability to bounce back to the bumps of life? Stuck in a rut not able to do new things? Lost the ability to innovate? A few years back that was me, approaching burnout. Resilience was damaged.

Damaged resilience is one of the key indicators of emotional depletion. Depletion shows in three ways; diminished in self-awareness, self-reflection, and self-control. These are the three components of resilience.

Are you blind to your emotions?

The sicker I got, the blinder I became to my emotions. I thought I was emotionally smart but increasingly failed to see the effect of enduring stress and grief. And did not see the effect my blindness was having on others.

Self-awareness is a self-regulating capacity. This capacity enables us to make good choices and achieve important life goals. (see Work Well Pg 16 Matt Bloom white paper). If you don’t see what’s happening then you will not adjust what you are doing or how you are responding.

A Mentor can help you see.

Looking back I can now see that most of my days had an elevated heart rate. It was normal for me to consume large amounts of water. My perception was I am being healthy. I never acknowledged that my continual thirst was a reaction to enduring stress. I couldn’t see that I was just pushing harder doing the same things while trying to get different results. Through the help of my mentor and other professional help, I recognise that in facing stressful situations, my body reacts to internal emotions.

Two tips – reflect and breathe

This week I needed to chat with someone about something they were blind to. Their intent was good but they were oblivious to the effect on others. In preparing to chat with them I thought carefully about how to make the conversation a win for both of us. I crafted the questions I would ask and gained clarity on the outcome I desired. This was helpful, but even so, as the moment of conversation arrived, my mouth went dry, breathing became rapid and my hands shook. I took a moment to withdraw for a few deep breaths, felt my heart slow, and then came and started the conversation. The outcome was good. Win-Win.

Growing this self-regulating capacity of self-awareness will build resilience in our life. And if we can do it in our lives we can build it in those we love. Resilience is an incredible gift to give to the children we nurture.

If I could change one thing prior to burnout, it would be to engage a mentor who could help me grow self-awareness.

Do you have a safe place where you can chat about how you are really doing?

If this is helpful pass on to someone who will benefit. Subscribe to get the following posts on building resilience through self-reflection and self-control.

A book that includes a self-test in emotional intelligence is Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, book Emotional Intelligence 2.0

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