What I Learned by Improving My Self-Awareness and Self-Management Skills

Katie Corbett holds the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

By Katie Corbett


Self-awareness and self-management are both aspects of emotional intelligence, also known as EQ. They entail recognizing and appropriately responding to your emotions. This is an important skill to have, especially in professional settings.


I first became aware of these aspects of EQ when I read “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” by Travis Bradberry. As I went through the book, I put an action plan into place to grow and improve in these skills.


I grew up in a family where all of us wore emotions on our sleeves. While that resulted in love, affection, and encouragement being expressed, it was also regular for people to fly off the handle when they became upset or life got stressful. As an adult, I noticed these behaviors in myself and wanted to make a change. I decided that improving my EQ would be a great place to start.


While I was working at a nonprofit as a writer, my boss told me I needed to rewrite a piece of content. My stomach clenched and I could feel my body getting warm. I was frustrated. By paying attention to the signals my body was sending me, I was able to realize that I was experiencing negative emotions.


We were heading to an event in a few minutes, so I couldn’t do anything right then to resolve the situation. I took time in my office to cool down. Unfortunately, I did express some frustration to my boss before that cool-down period, but once I realized what I was doing, I put a lid on it for the event and apologized to her afterward.


My emotions still blind-side me at times. Knowing the signals my body is sending me has helped me get control of myself before I show my frustration to the world.


Have self-awareness and self-management kept you from saying or doing something you’d have regretted later? Feel free to leave a comment and share your story.


Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

How to Keep Improving at Your Craft, Five Tips

Katie Corbett holds a book

By Katie Corbett

Whether you are a writer or a painter, a secretary or a realtor, it is a good idea to set aside time to get better at what you do. I had to learn that lesson recently when my boss suggested I get some writing coaching. It was hard to let go of my ego at first, I will admit. In the end, though, it turned out to be a great experience to learn from someone who has been writing professionally for 20 years.

In her book, “What the most Successful People do at Work,” Laura Vanderkam says it is always a benefit to yourself and your company to improve at your work. Here are some ways I am keeping the cycle of improvement going in my own job:

1. My writing coach recommended a book that helped her improve her writing, and I plan to go through one chapter a month to finish it in a year.
2. I have started networking with others in my field to ask their advice about aspects of writing on which I want to improve.
3. Each week, I have check-in conversations with my boss about my writing and how I can grow.
4. I recently joined a group of local businesswomen and am learning from them.
5. I signed up to attend two professional development conferences in the coming months, which will be learning and networking opportunities for me.

Even if you aren’t a writer, try one of these ideas if any of them resonated with you. Countless ways exist to improve in a career. If you have found one that works for you, leave it in the comments. I would love to try it. As you may have noticed, I never recommend anything without trying it for myself first.

Want to get this info sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.

What Are You Good At?

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 80/20 principle"

By Katie Corbett

No one can achieve excellence in every skill. I’m a decent writer and am good with people, so I have come back to those skills again and again in the jobs I’ve held. According to Richard Koch’s book, “The 80/20 Principle,” 80 percent of the jobs you get will use 20 percent of your skills. Here are some questions to ask yourself when figuring out that 20 percent contributing to your success. Grab a blank sheet of paper or open a new document right now and write whatever comes to mind. This might be some of the most valuable time you spend in career planning.

• What activities have you enjoyed doing since childhood?
• Can you think of a way to monetize them?
• When looking at your work experience, what skills have you used in previous jobs?
• When you didn’t go to work because you were out sick or attending a workshop, what things didn’t get done?
• What do your friends, family and coworkers or teachers tell you you’re good at?
• Has anyone ever said “I’m glad you’re good at {insert thing here] because I would hate doing that.”?

From my personal experience, summarizing information has been something I have been good at and have enjoyed doing since childhood. I loved learning things and then telling my friends and family about it through writing, having conversations or giving presentations. I’m good at organizing information and presenting it in a way people will find interesting.

Many possible career paths presented themselves to me given this information. Teaching, writing, public speaking, coaching and tutoring are just a few options I have tried. I have most often picked writing and public speaking because other people hate doing those things so I am more likely to get paid to do them.

What comes up on your list?

Want to get this information sent right to your in-box? Subscribe to my blog, so you’ll never miss a post.