EQ Emotional Intelligence: Do You Keep Promises to Yourself?

Emotional Intelligence Self-Perception: The Self-Regard Competency

A thermometer with mercury bursting through the glass, and the words Confidence Level, symbolizing a positive attitude
Self-Regard is respecting oneself while understanding & accepting one’s strengths and weaknesses. It is often associated with feelings of inner strength & self-confidence.
The single fastest way to grow your self-confidence and self-esteem is to keep the promises you make to yourself. I was in Dubai in January 2015 for a leadership program at Zayed University called “Being a Leader”.  One of the facilitator’s questions to us was “Do you care enough about yourself to honor your word, particularly those promises you make to yourself?”
As an executive coach, I see examples in the workplace where leaders promise to take action within a timeframe; and don’t.  In 2009, I made a promise to my dad to love him unconditionally.  About a month ago, I was reacting to something he said with criticism and anger.  As a result, there was an erosion of affinity in our relationship impacting both him and I, given I didn’t honor my promise.  In my own life, I’ve diminished my well being, sense of peace and personal power when I’ve not honored my promise to myself about health in my exercise and lifestyle eating regime.
“Put simply, people consistently act inconsistently, unaware of the contradiction between their espoused theory and their theory-in-use, between the way they think they are acting and the way they really act.” Chris Argyris, 1991, Teaching Smart People How to Learn (Harvard Business Review: May-June) 
Self-Regard Awareness Activity: Identify and acknowledge all the promises you’ve made and not kept in the areas noted below.

  • In the workplace
  • In my personal relationships & life
  • In my relationship with myself

I encourage you to address the less than positive impact with a simple apology and acknowledgement of the impact that made.  Then make a new promise in the area – if it really matters to you – and design a structure (actions and time-frames) that enables you to fulfill it.  If you authentically aren’t committed to taking action, care enough about yourself to accept yourself as you are and as you are not.  Taking action to acknowledge the impact will restore your integrity resulting in a “bigger” experience of yourself.  Said another way, your confidence will expand.


EQ Emotional Intelligence Assessments are based on composites and their competencies. Each week in this series of blogs I will explore a composite or competency and its importance and impact on leadership; and then provide an exercise to help you expand that particular composite or competency.  I encourage you to buy a journal for the walk into your greatness, to do the work thoughtfully, and share your discoveries and challenges with me – either through the comments section of this blog or at trudy@simplymore.ca.
Related blogs in this series:

Would you rather be right or be happy?

Think back to times when you’ve been busy defending your position, telling your story, building the case for why you are right and the person or situation is wrong.
What’s this all about?
In a word – Control. People who need to be right may be insecure; if they get validation from others, it means they’re in control. When they’re in control, they can make things turn out the way they want to happen.
The illusion
It’s all a myth. Being in control is an illusion. When we believe we can controls things, nothing bad will happen. But you can’t control people—you can’t make them do what you want them to do all the time. Being in a struggle for control is a zero sum game.
Related: Simply More offers Emotional Intelligence Workshops.
Black and white thinking
Try to live in the gray. There are thousands of shades of gray on the spectrum from black to white. Each of them provides a much richer telling of a story that is rarely as clear as this or that. Right vs. happy is more about the desire to be in control.
Our egos react when we feel we’re being attacked. We get on the bandstand with a megaphone or respond with a sledgehammer. All this does is help to build resentments. We dwell on the negativity, giving up valuable real estate in our minds to situations as we replay them over and over again. And we bring those negative emotions into new relationships, keeping us stuck in the past.
Here are some of the ways we behave when we’re stuck in this unhealthy pattern of needing to be right:
The Daily Victim. We wake up each day and rehearse the role of victim when we’re unwilling to forgive, holding tight to past hurt and resentment, replaying it in our minds repeatedly. This automatic replay reinforces the ego’s illusion and strengthens our victim perception. Eventually we identify so closely with the role of victim that we begin to establish that dynamic in many or all our relationships.
The Angry Boxer: When the ego feels attacked, its immediate response is to fight back. The ego believes in fear and in a cruel, merciless world Its always on the alert for another attack. Defensive thoughts and energy develop into a wicked cycle, creating more negative experiences.
The Shut-Down and Protected: The ego convinces this person to isolate from the world for fear of being hurt again. The result is living small and evading all potential conflict by avoiding intimacy completely.
Letting go of the need to be right and surrendering to forgiveness is the only way out of this nightmare. If we truly want to enjoy relationships, we need to respect others have a right to their opinion and there is more than one perspective in any situation.
Related: Simply More is an Executive Business Coach and Communication Consultant.

Choosing happiness is a full-time job
There are always as many choices as there are pros and cons and multiple views in every experience.  Allow yourself to see choice and then choose the best one:

  • Let go of your need to be right.
  • Stop playing the blame game – although a natural human being reaction, it leaves you powerless.
  • Be willing to be responsible for the square you are standing on in your life and in relationships.
  • Remember, our view is formed by a number of thoughts that create an experience in which we live as “the” reality.  There are a number of ways to view any situation.
  • Ask yourself, “What is it that I’m not seeing?”
  • Be willing and open to think differently and therefore see another view
  • Be compassionate – a willingness to see that you and they are doing the very best with all that is known

 “Admitting you were wrong about something isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of objectivity and maturity” – Unknown
“There are no facts, only interpretations.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Some questions to ask yourself

  1. When in the middle of a conversation or situation, how often are you willing to try on other perspectives that may give you a clearer view?
  2. Where do you play the blame game? How does it impact your life?

Leadership Wisdom – Robin Sharma
Bookclips: My role as a leader was really about freeing people’s strengths and allowing them the freedom to develop themselves….keys to this: keep my promises, listen aggressively, being consistently compassionate and becoming fanatically honest.
Reclaiming Higher Ground – Lance H.K. Secretan
Bookclips: Vince Lombardi was not a fan of fear and intimidation.  He led with love creating exhilaration within his team.  He coached them to greatness with love!
Changing Your Perspective: http://www.thechangeblog.com/seven-creative-ways-to-change-your-perspective/
Changing Perspective to Solve Problems: http://timmilburn.com/5-questions-that-will-change-your-perspective-not-your-problem
The Cost of Being Right: http://www.douglasmagazine.com/resources/46-miscellaneous/91-the-huge-cost-of-being-right.html
 Related: Simply More is a Business Consultant in Calgary specializing in executive coaching, team facilitation, and leadership training

Leaning into Change

ID-100158668If change is inevitable, rather than fighting it, let’s lean into it. Easier said than done. How do you change yourself so that you become more open to the variables life throws at you? You’ve recognized life is transient—but how do you go about making the deep changes you need to flow with life as it shows up?
Often what’s holding us back from creating change that lasts more than a few days lies in our core beliefs about life, which are buried deep within our subconscious. Delving deep and discovering what those beliefs are is the key to change. As an example, if you believe life is hard on a subconscious level, likely you will approach life in ways that make it more difficult. But if you’re confident in yourself and your strengths and abilities to cope, your perception of your life will be different. When you have a firm belief that you are capable, the vagaries of life are less daunting.
The beliefs that limit us are different for everyone: “I will never be successful because I’m not powerful enough”, or “I am not worthy of this success”.
Tips on becoming more self-confident

  1. Write down the fears and doubts you experience.
  2. Examine these fears and doubts to discover what beliefs are behind them—write these down.
  3. Once you’ve identified the core beliefs that are sabotaging your success, create a new set of beliefs that reflect how you want to live – write these down. Connect with the fact that you deserve success, that you are powerful enough to create the life you want.
  4. Visualize your future based on those new beliefs and continue to do so. Act as if you are powerful. Think that you are powerful. Your subconscious can’t tell the different and will incorporate that new belief.

Critical to self-confidence is knowing yourself. When you’ve taken the time for self-exploration and have developed a strong sense of yourself, external conditions diminish in importance.
Related Search: Simply More is an Executive Business Coach and Communication Consultant.

Actions that will increase your adaptability to a changing environment:

  1. Confident people know themselves; specifically they are certain of their strengths. Make a list of both your accomplishments, strengths and your weaknesses to ensure a well-rounded view of yourself.  Increasing your knowledge of self allows you to position yourself in ways that utilize your strengths and where your weaknesses are a non-issue.
  2. Balance your perspective by identifying the complimentary opposites that exist in all situations. Be deliberate in focusing and directing your energy on the aspects that move you forward.
  3. Practices like meditation, stretching, and visualization are powerful techniques that improve your physiology, emotional, mental and physical state.  This increases your ability to capitalize on change.
  4. Most of know what we don’t like and few know what truly rejuvenates and nurtures us.  Explore opportunities with the intention to increase the joy in your life.  Take dance lessons, learn a new language, get active and pay attention to what fills you up.
  5. Clear the way for creativity by recognizing that your self-image may have little to do with who you are and what you can do, yet it is always a precise evaluation of yourself.  Your values include attitudes, beliefs, opinions, hopes, fears, and prejudices to name a few and all together this governs how we behave.

Source: Adapting to Change by Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D

A Road Map to Change
We’re often our own worst critics—sometimes realizing our own strength takes someone else to point them out. And we’re often too busy keeping up with work or the rest of our lives to take the time for self-exploration. Working with a coach or another person trained to facilitate this type of work can be valuable.
Related Search: Simply More offers 1-3 day Leadership Training & Workshop series. This training helps you connect with your peers, communicate about common issues, and explore solutions. Public speaking workshops are also available.