Growing EI Step 1: Knowing Yourself

Knowing yourself means that you have self-awareness. This requires you to be able to assess yourself accurately and with minimal bias. You also have to have emotional awareness, which means knowing when feelings are present in you and in others. The last piece is growing your self-confidence, which requires you to believe in your abilities, your judgment, and your personal power to act and interact in a way you are comfortable with.

One approach you can take to knowing a bit more about yourself is to use the JoHari’s Window technique. The web site has a useful description and some tools you can use to find out more. Also, there are plenty of self-tests available on the Internet to gain more insight into yourself. While this is primarily a tool for team building, it can help you identify your own biases and potential blind spots.     

The idea behind this tool is that the window has four panes and you are trying to make the upper-left pane as big as possible while trying to make the lower-right pane as small as possible.

For the lower-left area you need to know what you are hiding from others and be honest about why you are hiding it, accepting the consequences of keeping that insight private. For the upper-right area you want to accept criticism from others and reflect on what they are saying to determine if you do have a blind spot and can grow that into an open area or want to make a change in yourself.

An example would be my fear of heights, or at least my fear of falling from heights. I first learned of my fear of heights when I woke up in an airplane during take off. That was an unknown area that quickly became an open area for me and those around me. After talking to members of my family I found out it was actually a blind spot for me and they all were aware of my fear of heights, though I was not. Now, this is an open area that I am aware of if I am sightseeing near cliffs or riding in an elevator with windows. These are some things I have learned that you may find helpful:

·       Know that you have feelings and try to understand what situations tend to make you lose control of your feelings.

·       Build as big of an open area as you can with your closest friends and family so that you can grow your self-awareness in a trusted environment and learn more about yourself.

·       Consider why you feel you need to keep things in a hidden area and find one trusted person you can discuss these with to get a different perspective.

·       Ask for and accept constructive criticism from people in your circle of trust. When they provide feedback, accept it and say “thank you” and then reflect on it. Do not respond or try and explain why they are wrong, just accept the insight and try to understand why they said what they said.

As you are selecting a job, decide whether the job will play to your personality and feeling or whether you will have the opportunity to grow based on the environment you will work in.  


Andy Ruth 
SEI Mentor
Apprenticeship Program