Category: Self-Awareness

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The framework or model of Emotional Intelligence can be broken down in a few ways and variations have been brought forward over the last 25+ years. To simplify it, the 2 main components are getting to know yourself (intrapersonal) and getting to know others (interpersonal – social & relationships)

Getting to know yourself better involves developing self-awareness and improving how you self-manage. I believe it’s essential to do this work first before you really start to focus more on how you interact with others. You can do both at the same time, however, as the old saying goes, learn to love yourself before you love someone else. While ‘loving’ yourself is maybe a strong word, at least finding ways to get along with yourself helps :)! 

If you’re comfortable in your own skin, the next area for massive personal growth and happiness can come from social interactions. As another truism goes ‘we’re social creatures’ and the more effort we put into social connection, the better we are for it. It’s not always easy though.

As someone who identifies more on the introvert side, it can be very difficult to dive into social settings without feeling anxious, insecure and socially awkward. It’s possible, it just takes a bit of planning.

Over the last 7-8 years, I’ve been involved in a number of volunteer roles with non-profit committees and boards. Initially, I had to force myself to do this. I had to stretch myself outside the comfort zone, not let the overthinking or negative self-talk win, and just put my hand up! The key was to take on some responsibility, something meaningful. At least then I knew I’d have a focus and a purpose. Just having a defined role and something I could add value with, in a deliberate way, made all the difference.

Once I ‘owned’ something, my levels of self-doubt dropped, and I could connect better with others. I figured this out through the self-awareness work done earlier. That allowed me to be more planful and self-manage better.

All through this month, as I was writing the daily pieces, this idea of being a giver more than a taker has kept coming up for me. As I reflected on my own volunteering work, the value and return on investment I’ve gained through giving something back, by just giving up your time, has been huge. I’ve got the opportunity to develop certain skills I really wanted to improve, and, at the same time, I’ve helped move the groups forward. A real win-win scenario.

One of my big goals for 2020 (and beyond) is to continue to give back more. In different areas that I’ve done so far. Being deliberate, instead of random, about exactly what to give and who to contribute to is totally fine too. For some of us, having the plan is essential for it to happen.

Is this something you’ve thought about as a 2020 commitment? There are so many great groups and organizations out there that could do with your time and expertise. And you will grow and learn from the experience more than you think! Through the social interaction alone, you’re developing your emotional intelligence, and this is some of the greatest currency you can have in the years to come.

That’s the second last of the daily December blogs. I hope you found these useful. Tomorrow, I’ll do little lessons learned post and see what comes out of that.

Till then,

Rob


If you’re interested in joining the ROTG 1% Better Slack Community where we hold monthly challenges, and support each other through them, sign up here! It’s free and aimed at helping you improve.

Have you ever reflected on something bad that’s happened to you and found some positives from it? Earlier this year I put together a piece on some of the surprising ways Type 1 Diabetes has made me Better and it was published on a diabetes focused site called Thriveabetes. So I thought it would be worth sharing out here. Now don’t get me wrong, managing type 1 diabetes is not easy, however having it, and knowing there is no cure (yet) means you have to take control and face it head on. Here’s what I wrote. Hopefully it might get you thinking about something in your life that’s had some hidden benefits.

My grandfather used to say, “your health is your wealth” and like most of these common sayings, there is a lot of truth in them. However, like most twenty or thirty somethings, I took being healthy for granted. I might hear of others getting sick or being diagnosed with this or that. But never thought that it would happen to me.

When I got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2012, it all of a sudden became very clear that the wealth I was chasing, financially, at work, and in all those other material pursuits were in fact not the real wealth at all.  My real wealth, my health, now was at risk! It took this diagnosis, this wake-up call, to bring it firmly into focus.

Denial

At first, I was in denial. Surely there must have been a mistake? Then, I convinced myself I could find a cure. But after a few months, I started to realise that the only way forward was to embrace it: Talk about it and, if possible, start looking for the upsides, or positives, in my broken pancreas syndrome.

Now, 7+ years into my own Type 1 Diabetic journey, my life is a whole lot better than it was back then. The diagnosis marked a very real turning point in my life. A catalyst for real positive change. I’ve been reflecting on this for a while so this piece is a great excuse to get what the benefits have been. And as I put this piece together, I took to twitter to ask if others with Type 1 Diabetes can relate or if I was just crazy. The response was (and continues to be) huge. Benefits like improved patience, greater empathy, better planning, increased compassion, more responsibility, project management skills, and connecting with other like-minded & like-pancreas people are just some of the other benefits that came back. Here are the key ones I’ve notice.

  1. Developing a Better more Positive Mindset

Nobody wants to get Type 1 Diabetes and, of course, I’d prefer not to have it at all. It’s not fair, but it could be worse! I consider myself lucky in lots of ways. We live in a time when the disease was (and is) more manageable then ever. Technology breakthroughs have advanced management and control drastically and with more exciting advances on the horizon. Getting the disease gave me a bit of a wake-up call. I’m not immortal after all but I can still lead a full life. That’s a positive. It’s made me realise much more what I have and look for the positives. This mindset takes practice but if you look for the bright spots, you’ll find them.

  1. A Better Whole Life Grid

Diabetes was a big factor in making me step back and create a better life balance. In the coaching work I do, I like to use a tool called the ‘whole life grid’ (check out more on it here). I would have struggled to populate half of this in 2012. I prioritized work over everything else, yet it wasn’t making me happy. I was pushing hard, close to burn-out but I didn’t have a clear understand of who I was and what I valued. Getting diagnosed was a point on my timeline where things started to turn. It made me re-evaluate and look at other areas of my life that were suffering and needed to be addressed. Since then, I’ve made a much more conscious effort to have a focus on the 9 boxes that make up my whole life and it’s turned out great.

  1. My fitness is better

Exercise and keeping fit were always on my radar. I had started running long distances about year before the diabetes blessing but after coming to terms with the news, I realised now that keeping fit and healthy were no longer optional. It became a must do! Since then, I’ve completed 3 Marathons, many adventures races, and learned to swim properly (at last). I get to exercise 4-5 per week. When the only real choice is to exercise on a regular basis, my inner gremlin voice doesn’t get much of a look in either.

  1. My values & sense of purpose is better!

Having Type 1 Diabetes motivated me to get a better and clearer sense of purpose. It forced me question what I stood for more and to challenge my own limiting beliefs. In 2015, through some professional development, I worked with an executive coach. This was a transformative experience. The work encouraged me to understand my ‘why’ better, clarify my values, and helped in identifying my identity and purpose. It also gave me a greater sense of self-confidence and self-acceptance. It further helped me realise that diabetes was something I should embrace.

  1. My Dry18 (and Dry19) journey

I’ve always (from the age of 18 of course) been fond of a few drinks. Thankfully, I had the vast majority of craziness out of my system by 2012. When I was diagnosed it didn’t impact my social life too much. I still gave the nights out a good go over the following few years. However, the downside of the day(s) after began to far outweigh the upside. Add in the challenges of managing blood sugars on a night out, and the day after, made drinking less and less appealing as time went by. So, I decided to make that ‘I’m never drinking again’ statement a reality and since 1st January 2018, I’ve stopped drinking completely. It began as year-long challenge with a good friend. This became a two-year-long abstinence. Having Diabetes, while not the main reason, was a contributing factor in helping me achieve this goal. (I tracked the Dry18 journey in a series of posts that I shared out in an eBook – it’s free here).

My 1% Better Podcast Idea

Getting diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes set off a chain of events that have put me on a different path since 2012.

Having a more positive outlook helped me take on new challenges. This led to an increase in exercise. As I exercised more, I started to listen to more podcasts. I was hooked. I learned so much, all helping feed my curiosity. In parallel, after embarking on the coaching journey, initially as a client and them becoming an executive coach myself, my confidence and self-belief grew. I started to play with the idea of starting my own podcast, instead of just consuming them. It was a big audacious goal. One that scared the hell out of me but one that I felt I might be able to pull off.

So in early 2017, after months of planning and despite being wracked with self-doubt, I launched the RoboftheGreen platform and with it the podcast ‘1% Better’.  Now, 140+ episodes later, still dealing with and pushing through the fears on a weekly basis, the podcast is growing bigger and better. It’s given me a platform to share stories, lessons learned and insights from a broad range of leaders across the globe. And also it’s been an channel where I could share interviews with other Type 1 Diabetics like Eoghan Quinn and Emma O’Toole. Both clearly show that Type 1 Diabetes can be an enabler instead of a disabler.

If I wasn’t podcasting, I wouldn’t have connected in with Thriveabetes. It was that connection that lead to this post. I’m really glad it happened as it’s helped me clarify a few things that were rolling around in my head. There can be a lot of positives to be taken out of almost any situation that might seem negative or bad initially. It will probably take work, effort, soul searching, but if you challenge yourself to look at things from a different perspective, I believe you’ll find a positive or two.

So, as it’s nearly the end of 2019, and a time for some reflection, what one thing could you identify that is your Type 1 Diabetes? That’s had some upsides from the initial downs?

Thanks for reading & till tomorrow,

Rob

Rob is a qualified Executive Coach (ICF) and has been Mentoring and Coaching over the last decade in various roles held during his career. In 2017, Rob launched the Rob of the Green Platform which hosts the 1% Better Podcast. Rob currently is a director of Project Management and Leadership Coaching at Dell in Cork, Ireland. Rob also publishes articles on productivity, leadership, goal setting, meditation, and other topics, like this one! Rob recently published an eBook on giving up alcohol for 2018 called ‘Dry18’ and can be downloaded for free here.

Connect in with Rob on the socials or via email on the links below:

Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website

Subscribe to the Rob of the Green Newsletter Here

Listen to my own advice!

Folks,

One of the personal goals I set for myself when starting out the daily blog in December was to practice writing less yet saying more! Today is probably the best version of it so far!

If you’re like me, you can give out advice and some guidance, however sometimes you’re the least likely to take on board what you’re saying to others.  So with some self-coaching, I’m going to listen to myself for the next few days and make time for rest and switching off.

Switching Off is absolutely an essential part of self-improvement, leadership, and life. And in many ways, it’s a habit and practice that you need to work on as much as any other skill you are keen to develop. Start today!

Thank you for reading the blog posts daily over the month so far. I do plan to get a few more out before the start of 2020.

For now, though, it’s time to rest!

What’s the one piece of advice you give that you should take yourself? 

Happy Christmas to you & yours!

Till tomorrow (or later in the week),

Rob

3 years ago, today (24th December 2016), I registered the domain www.robofthegreen.com. I remember very clearly going on to the domain registration site and paying something like €5 to park the domain. Not surprisingly, it was available. Looking back on it now, this simple task acted as the lead domino in what was to follow since with the podcast and content shared, including this blog post.

At that time, while the idea and high level plans for setting up a site and podcast had been in the works for a number of months, and some money had already been invested in some kit to get the ball rolling, it was all very much in my head. To get really moving, I needed a spark or something concrete to move forward. It came in a reply from an email that morning.  

You see, while I had a lot of ideas swirling around about what the podcast and content would focus on, to this point I hadn’t actually formally approached anyone to be a guest on the as yet unnamed show. Something was holding me back. Maybe it was procrastination, fear, or both.

I had been (and still am) a huge fan of an Arsenal podcast called ‘Arsecast’ hosted by Andrew Mangan and on that Christmas Eve Eve, I found Andrew’s email address and sent him a very hopeful note. In between the part where I outlined my love for Arsenal and his work, I asked him if he’d be willing to be one of my first guests for this podcast idea I had.

Also, around this time, I was ramping up my coaching practice. Building up hours and experience. One of the most powerful questions you can ask when coaching a client, when they’re facing inertia or some sort of mental block, is ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’. It was this question that was in sharp focus when I hit sent on the email. Self-coaching can be harder to do than coaching someone else. So, overcoming the fear of a negative response, and being comfortable with a worst case scenario being no worse than things currently stood helped!   

The next morning, just before hitting the road to drive home to Longford, the incoming email ping sounded on my phone. It was Andrew. He was onboard. In fact, he offered to record the interview in his studio in Dublin the next time I was in town.

As soon as I got over the fear and excitement of my first confirmed guest, I realised this now had become real. If I needed an incentive, which sometimes I do, this was it. The first real action was taken. The first steps forward. I had a guest to interview. Incremental progress. 1% better.

Looking back, I’m very grateful that it was Andrew I emailed first. Since then, I’ve emailed many others that never replied. In the podcast game, when you’re coming from a very low base (in my case a zero base), be prepared for a lot of non-responses. I would say expect it to be the norm. However, don’t lose heart, get clear on your objectives and keep pushing forward.

For me, the focus was the podcast. Taking the leap of faith and realizing the worst-case scenario isn’t really that bad after all was key and that there is potentially much more upside than down, if you get the reply you’re hoping for.

For you, the goal might be different. Tt could be a book, a blog, a date, a new job, a presentation, or whatever. However, the question should still be the same. Are you holding back in fear it may not work out?

Take a step back and think about what the worst case scenario really is? And then just hit send!

Till tomorrow,

Rob

PS – Happy Christmas if you’re reading this on Christmas Even or any time over the next few days! Thanks for taking the time to read the daily posts. While I aim to share one daily over the next few days, if I don’t, the worst case scenario isn’t that bad really!


 

What’s your approach to delivering feedback?

Is it the straight up right between the eyes approach? Or do you go with the ‘feedback sandwich’ with the constructive/bad news stuck in the middle either side of some positives? Or maybe it’s something different?

Studies show that a team’s excellence and individuals performance rests very much its ability to give and receive very high-quality feedback, constantly. But so very often, the feedback fails to have an impact or provide actionable steps to move forward. Why is this the case?

It all comes down to the mindset of the person giving the feedback.

In most cases, the person giving the feedback feels like they have to solve a problem that the receiver has. They have gathered information from a few sources and are now relaying this in an effort to provide a solution. This is one of the major flaws with feedback. In truth, you only have half the story.

The human brain has an enormous capacity not only to not see the whole picture but also to not notice that it hasn’t seen the whole picture. Daniel Kahneman, the famous psychologist, calls this the “what you see is all there is” phenomenon. Where we all race into problem solving mode with only the data on front of you. Sound familiar?

This is just one example of many on feedback. The feedback givers mindset, for whatever reason, typically is one of telling and solving. How to make this better? Bring a learning mindset to feedback.

If you’re holding half the story, why not ask the receiver to share their knowledge. Give them the opportunity to talk about the situations raised in an open non-judgemental way. This is the first step to getting to the real truth. You’re opening up a learning environment.

Next, practice listening to what they have to say (using active and/or empathic approaches – see post day 19 here). People enjoy being listened to and it builds trust.

Finally, make this feedback session a conversation. A two-way street. So that the receiver really feels like they’ve added their inputs to the session and their voice is valued. By doing so and giving them the opportunity to create their own actions & next steps, the chances of improvement increase exponentially.

To reference Daniel Kahneman again, our brains are predominately lazy. In an effort to save energy, we look for the easy way out most of the time. This can be very true when giving feedback. You accept the information you gathered as truth instead of using it as half the reality. If even that much!

While giving powerful feedback takes effort, the good news is that it’s a skill and it can be developed. It’s something you can work on with practice. And with end of year performance reviews coming up for many organizations, what better opportunity to put this into practice than now! 

Remember though, feedback should not be just for Christmas/End of Year Reviews! It’s an all year-round activity. The gift that keeps on giving!

Till tomorrow,

Rob


PS – thanks to those of you kind enough to connect in and provide feedback to me on the blogging over the last few weeks and the podcast work. I love getting it and always try to learn from it.


Rob is a qualified Executive Coach (ICF) and has been Mentoring and Coaching over the last decade in various roles held during his career. In 2017, Rob launched the Rob of the Green Platform which hosts the 1% Better Podcast. Rob currently is a director of Project Management and Leadership Coaching at Dell in Cork, Ireland. Rob also publishes articles on productivity, leadership, goal setting, meditation, and other topics, like this one!

Connect in with Rob on the socials or via email on the links below:

Email   Twitter  Facebook  Website

Subscribe to the Rob of the Green Newsletter Here

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