How Improving Social Awareness and Relationship Management has Helped Me in Tough Times

Katie Corbett holds the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

By Katie Corbett

 

I was working at a summer camp and was tutoring math to a student who needed to pass a state exam. Math was not his strongest subject. I was really glad I had social awareness and relationship management as tools in my toolbox throughout that summer.

 

The book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” by Travis Bradberry, helped me grow in and improve at these skills. I could tell how my student was feeling using social awareness, and used relationship management when giving feedback.

 

I could tell when this student was ready to buckle down and get some work done, and when it was better for me to make a game up for him to play and learn skills through fun. I could tell when he was ready for tough feedback and when Praise and encouragement were needed. This may seem trivial, but I think it made the difference between his leaving early, as he had wanted to do, and his completing the program, as he ended up doing. It also made for a less stressful summer camp counselor experience for me, too.

 

Improving these skills has helped me far beyond that summer experience. I use these skills every day when I’m asking my husband what he wants for dinner, telling a friend about a tough day I had (and knowing when and how to ask about them), and listening to a family member share tough news. It is my hope that you’ll learn more about EQ, and that it can help you in your life, too.

 

Are you working to improve in the areas of social awareness and relationship management? If so, leave me a comment and let me know how growth in these skills has helped you.

 

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What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Katie Corbett holds the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

By Katie Corbett

 

Intellectual intelligence is fixed. You can’t get any smarter than you already are. But did you know about emotional intelligence?

 

I first learned about it when I read the book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” by Travis Bradberry. Emotional intelligence, or EQ for short, is the ability to recognize and respond to your emotions in healthy, situationally appropriate ways. It also entails recognizing and responding to the emotions of others. The great news is that you can always get better at these skills. Here are some reasons to keep improving:

 

  • People with high EQ’s do better in their careers.
  • EQ will make you a more empathetic, likeable person.
  • EQ will help you recognize the signs of stress in your life so you can reduce times of frustration.
  • EQ will help you communicate with others more effectively.
  • EQ will help you handle otherwise difficult conversations.
  • Working on your EQ will help you set benchmarks for soft skills (communication, emotional management) that can be otherwise tough to assess.
  • A higher EQ can help you more effectively manage conflict.
  • EQ can help you leave or defuse situations before they get out-of-hand.
  • Increasing your EQ can give you new behaviors to learn and new goals to set.
  • Improving your EQ will help you ask for and receive feedback from others, so you’ll be able to stop negative or annoying behaviors before they become a problem.

 

If you want to learn more about what EQ is, I strongly encourage you to check out Emotional Intelligence 2.0. You can find out where you stand in the four areas of EQ: Self-awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and relationship Management. The book also provides concrete action steps to help you track your progress and improve.

 

Do you have questions about or experience with EQ? Drop me a comment; I’d love to hear more.

 

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Enjoying the Journey: How to Travel The Long Road

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Hobbit"

By Katie Corbett

 

The journey of entrepreneurship or career change can be daunting. You might not get there as quickly as you might like. You might know where you want to go, and have no idea how you’ll get there.

 

I have read the first chapter of “The Hobbit,” by J. R. R. Tolkien more than once. This is because it is LONG. It’s one of the longest chapters in the book, and at almost 50 pages, it’s pretty long for a starting chapter. Here are some takeaways I’ve gotten from pushing through it multiple times:

 

In this book, as well as in entrepreneurship and career change, you might be getting those feelings you got as a kid on a road-trip. Your parents probably told you to sit back and enjoy the scenery every time you asked, “Are we there yet?” I would agree. Enjoy the journey.

 

Everything will be answered in time. You no doubt have questions that can’t be easily answered. That’s what it felt like reading that first chapter. Will Bilbo go on the journey? Where will everyone sleep? Why did Bilbo have so much food? Why didn’t everyone do their breakfast dishes? You know, important questions like that. Some questions will be answered in the future, and others will not. I think being OK with that helps me be OK with spontaneity and carry onwards.

 

You might have to slog now, but it will be worth it. Getting through that first chapter was a chore, and I’m so glad I did it. I got to read so many other enjoyable chapters after that and would have had no clue what was going on if I hadn’t read that first chapter. So while you’re applying for that job that asks you to fill out your life history, or reading boring legal articles to try to figure out how to file the paperwork necessary to start your business, keep in mind that the best is yet to come. Every step you take now will get you closer to where you want to be in the future.

 

In what ways do you push yourself to succeed? Did you slog through something that took forever, but you’re proud you did it? How has it paid off? Drop it in the comments.

 

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Kick Someday Syndrome, Once and For All

Katie Corbett holds the book "One Month to Live"

By Katie Corbett

 

Procrastination can be tempting. It can be easy to sit back and do nothing rather than do what the best version of yourself wants to be doing. Unfortunately, procrastination won’t get you any closer to achieving your dreams, and it can hold you back for years.

 

I read “One Month to Live,” by Chris Shook, at a time when I was leaving a relationship and had a lot of career options to consider. I was feeling nervous, disappointed and hopeful, all at once. It would have been easy to wallow in my emotions. In the book, I read about kicking Someday Syndrome and decided to embrace what I needed to do. Here are some of the benefits I noticed of doing things today; not someday.

 

  • I felt more accomplished.
  • I checked a lot off my to-do list.
  • I didn’t feel lazy or like I was wasting time.
  • I could focus on the future, rather than the past.
  • Taking action was refreshing.
  • I didn’t have time to wallow in unhelpful emotions.
  • I was accomplishing my dreams and improving my life in spite of negative and uncertain circumstances.
  • I could relax at the end of the day knowing I had gotten a lot done.
  • Although I was unemployed at the time, I felt productive.
  • I stopped relying on excuses and found it was faster to take action.

 

If you are looking to beat procrastination and kick Someday Syndrome into the past, I recommend doing the first thing you need to do to get started. That could be as easy as turning on the computer, cleaning off your dresser, or making a list and a plan to tackle one thing at a time.

 

What projects are you motivated to begin? Leave a comment and let me know. Cheers to you and your success!

 

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Manage Your Energy and Attention Rather Than Solely Managing Time

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Productivity Project."

By Katie Corbett

 

When people say they want to become more productive, they start by trying to manage their time. While this can be a good thing to do, I have found it helpful to instead think about two additional resources: energy and attention.

 

I first read about the ideas of managing energy and attention in “The Productivity Project” by Chris Bailey. He points out that energy and attention, like time, are not infinite. They are also unique to you, while everyone has the same amount of time in a day. Here is what I learned by paying attention to my energy and attention levels.

 

  • By tracking my energy, I could see patterns in fluctuation.
  • By taking regular breaks, I could stretch out the amount of time that my energy was focused.
  • By focusing on energy rather than time, I noticed that I was prioritizing tasks based on what my energy levels were like rather than how long I thought the task would take. As a result, I got things done a lot faster since I tried to do them when I had the most energy.
  • I learned that there are two different types of energy: creative and strategic. I rely on these different types depending on what task I plan to do.
  • By writing down my energy levels throughout the day, I learned that I’m strategic in the morning and creative in the afternoon. This has helped me manage the different types of tasks I need to do throughout the day, since some rely on strategic energy and others need my powers of creativity.
  • I can tell when my energy is waning so I now have a cut-off point at the end of the day. This helps me realize that I can relax and that I would not be productive if I continued working.

 

I encourage you to track your energy and attention levels throughout the day. Make note of when you feel the most energetic, and of what kind of energy it is. I strongly suggest tracking for at least a week, and abstaining from caffeine and other substances that could skew the results.

 

What do you notice about yourself and your work as you record your energy levels? Did you find anything that surprised you? Let me know in the comments.

 

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Looking for a Productivity Boost? Get in Touch with Your Future Self

By Katie Corbett

 

Procrastination. It is something each of us has considered at some point in our lives. It can be especially tempting if we are feeling anxiety or discomfort about a task ahead.

 

I used to procrastinate a lot more, until I read “The Productivity Project,” by Chris Bailey. The book suggests thinking about how your future self would feel if you failed to act now.

 

I once had a lot to get done to prepare for a meeting. I wanted to take the morning to relax and prepare that afternoon. I pictured my future self heading to the meeting the next day. If I didn’t get my preparations done that afternoon, I knew I would need to rush the next morning to finish all that I had to do. I pictured my future self scrambling to prep, and thought about how stressed I would be if I didn’t act now. I then considered how relaxed I would be if I did all that I needed to do in the present instead of wasting time procrastinating. As a result, I ended up working on the tasks I needed to complete before the afternoon rolled around, and they didn’t take me as long to do as I had thought. I had the chance to relax later that day, and I went into my meeting the next morning feeling prepared and confident.

 

Whenever I feel like procrastinating, I think about what I would be doing in the future, and how I’ll feel in the future if I don’t do something that I could handle in the present. Here are some questions to help with motivation as you picture your future self.

 

  • What will your future self need to do if you fail to act now?
  • How do you suspect your future self will feel about that?
  • Do you think your future self will wish that you had gotten the tasks done sooner?
  • How will your future self feel if you do everything you need to do now?
  • Will your future self be proud of your present self if you act now?

 

These are just a few questions to get you thinking. I hope they help you accomplish all that you wish to do without giving into the temptation to procrastinate.

 

I’d love to hear what you are working on and what projects you want to start soon. Have you found a hack to beat procrastination? Feel free to drop me a comment.

 

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Keep Feeding Your Curiosity

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Productivity Project."

By Katie Corbett

 

It can be easy to look at everything you are accomplishing in life and feel like you are doing things well enough. If something is working, after all, why change it? I have found it helpful to think of exploring new ideas before making a change, to see if an idea resonates with me before trying it.

 

I love getting new ideas of how to do things better and more efficiently. That’s why I recently read “The Productivity Project”, by Chris Bailey. When it comes to productivity, here is a list of reasons why I’m productive, and why I learn new things.

 

  1. I like exploring new ideas.
  2. I like seeing how others live their lives.
  3. I enjoy experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t.
  4. I want to see what I can accomplish and how far I can push myself.
  5. I love to learn.
  6. I think ideas are some of the most powerful forces in the world.
  7. Exploring ideas and greater efficiency gives me something to talk about with others.
  8. Gathering new ideas reminds me that there is always another way of handling something or of looking at a situation.
  9. Being productive reminds me that I can contribute to the world.
  10. Seeking ways to be more productive gives me a reason to keep learning, growing, and exploring.

 

Greater productivity might not be what motivates you to keep being curious. Here are some questions to ask yourself about why you want to keep using your noodle.

 

  • What do you want to know more about?
  • What benefits would this bring you?
  • What could you do to feed your curiosity that is manageable, given your current level of responsibility?
  • What is one thing you can do each day to grow your knowledge?
  • How will continuing to ask, and find the answers to, questions help you now and in the future?

 

I hope this list of questions motivates you to keep expanding your horizons. I would love to know where your curiosity is taking you. Feel free to leave a comment.

 

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Focus on Education Over Selling to Demonstrate Your Value

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Referral Engine"

By Katie Corbett

 

I run a freelance writing business. Not surprisingly, sales is now a large part of my regular business practice. Authenticity is an important quality to me, and I want to tell you about a technique that helps me stay true to myself and get new writing leads at the same time.

 

The book, “The Referral Engine,” by John Jantsch, recommends focusing on educating rather than selling. Focusing on educating others helps me avoid being spammy or desperate. It can help you in your efforts, too, because you can apply creativity to your job hunt. Here are some ideas:

 

  • Start a blog or podcast where you post content that is relevant to those who might be looking to hire you.
  • If you enjoy interviewing guests, this could be a great way to get your audience involved and meet more people.
  • Consider other areas in which you are an expert and create content around that; I made a list of 25-30 ideas before I settled on business books.
  • Attend mastermind groups and offer to help when you can.
  • Look for opportunities to speak to share your expertise.

 

The hardest part about this project will be to get started. It can be as easy as posting frequently on your Facebook or LinkedIn profile, or as complex as starting a company to solve a specific problem. Find a way to be seen as an expert. It will help give you purpose and bring others to you who want to know about what you have to offer.

 

A word about building awareness: I recommend setting metrics that you control to evaluate your success, such as posting regularly or sharing your work with a certain number of people. This practice will keep you from getting discouraged if it takes you longer to build a following. I focus on posting one time per week, and that keeps me motivated to keep blogging.

 

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Reasons to Become a Giver

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Referral Engine"

By Katie Corbett

 

People usually help those they know, like and trust. Part of developing that know, like and trust factor is to give help as you can, in ways that are meaningful to those receiving your help.

 

In the book, “The Referral Engine,” John Jantsch talked about having a service-oriented approach to boost the reputation of your company. The same is true if you are an individual looking for a job. I encourage you to make a list of all the things you could do to help someone. At the least, this will keep you busy and give you purpose as you are waiting to hear back about potential job leads and interviews. Here are some questions to consider as you are making your list:

 

  • What do you enjoy doing?
  • Is there anything you promised to do for someone that you haven’t gotten around to doing yet?
  • What causes are important to you?
  • What types of help do people usually ask for from you?
  • Is there something you are good at that other people need?
  • Is there something you have been meaning to try and want a place to test your skills?

 

To show that I practice what I preach, I will make a list of ways I plan to help people this month:

 

  1. Introduce two people I promised to introduce.
  2. Post job openings to a group of friends, many of whom are looking for a job.
  3. Reach back out to someone I recently finished career coaching and ask what I can do to help.
  4. Offer to write a case study for my favorite nonprofit.
  5. Look in Facebook groups for quick things I can do to help someone.

 

I hope you get a lot of mileage out of offering to help. Approaching your job search with an attitude of giving will make you stand out among other applicants. Most of all, I hope helping others makes you feel good and like you have a purpose.

 

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Generating Referrals and Recommendations Takes a System

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Referral Engine"

By Katie Corbett

 

When I was a senior in college, one of my professors recommended me for a job. It was an exhilarating experience to have someone recommending me, since I hadn’t worked a full-time job yet. I interviewed, did quite well, and I was in the top five candidates. While it was flattering to be recommended and get so far along in the process, I soon learned that such opportunities are not commonplace. Often times, to get a recommendation for a job, it is helpful to have a system in place to ask for recommendations from the people you know.

 

I recently read the book, “The Referral Engine,” by John Jantsch, and it talked about how a good system brings in referrals. The same applies for job recommendations.

 

Developing a system that is personalized to you is important, because you will be more likely to follow a system you enjoy doing. Here are some questions that could help you develop your system:

 

  1. How do you like to communicate with people?
  2. How often do you feel comfortable doing reach-outs?
  3. Do you communicate better in writing or verbally?
  4. How many times will you follow up with people before taking them off your list so you can avoid constantly following up with the same individuals?
  5. What reminder systems will you put in place to help you track your progress?

 

The most important aspect of this system is that it is tailor-made for you. Remember to account for your needs, life circumstances and the type of job you are seeking as you develop your system.

 

What questions do you have about devising your own job recommendation and job hunting system? Let me know in the comments.

 

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