What’s Your EQ? Self-Awareness


By Heather Wolfson

IQ isn’t the only way to measure your smarts. Take your EQ, your emotional intelligence, for instance.  Emotional intelligence refers to five areas within an individual:  self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill.  Each of these characteristics helps to shape you as a leader and it engenders more effective interpersonal communication. This is vital in developing meaningful professional relationships and can position you best to engage young adults in your community.  Having high emotional intelligence will position you as a stronger communicator with the ability to do more successful outreach and engagement.  Over the course of several blog posts, I am going to break down each of these five areas.

One very important characteristic of someone who has high EQ is self-awareness.  Self-awareness is defined as the ability to recognize and understand your moods and emotions, as well as their effect on others.  Those with high self-awareness are self-confident, have a realistic self-assessment, and may even have a self-deprecating sense of humor.

Is this you?  In my years of serving both as a lay leader and a professional in the Jewish community, I’ve found that self-awareness is key to being a strong leader and manager.  Even the most deliberate people with high emotional intelligence can forget to examine the efficacy of their leadership from time to time.

At the start of the New Year, I made a commitment to myself to spend a bit more time reflecting on me and becoming more self-aware.

Self-awareness is also about being responsible for your own well-being. Checking-in with your emotions gives you greater perspective, makes you more receptive and empathetic in relationships, and can be grounding, especially in the face of stressors.

Here are some of the questions I have been pondering in my own quest to be more self-aware

  • When under pressure, how do I feel?  What do I do to cope with this pressure?
  • How can I work to balance my professional, volunteer and personal life?  When is it appropriate to say “no” to requests?  When do I need to step up and step back?
  • How do my actions impact other people?  What can I do to ensure that what I do is in the best interest of everyone?
  • What do I question?  Why do I question?  How can I question in a productive way?
  • What are my weak points?  What are my strengths?
  • I am happiest when…
  • I am fulfilled when…

I encourage you to find some time during your day, be it even on the commute into your office or at the end of your day with a glass of wine, to think a bit about yourself.  The more self-aware you are, the stronger a leader you will be and the more productive a team you will lead.

Until next time…happy thinking!


Heather Wolfson is the Western Regional Director at NEXT.

Photo by tj scenes, licensed under Creative Commons.