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In my many years of training clients, I have learned and witnessed that emotions and the body are married to each other. I’ve seen that how you feel about yourself and how you treat your body are intertwined like strands braided into a rope. If there is one piece of advice that I could give to any woman (anyone) out there, it is this…
Become emotionally intelligent about YOU.
What is emotional intelligence? It is to become self aware. It is about becoming a witness or spectator to your thoughts instead of letting them control you. You become the master of your mind so that your daily actions match the energy of your highest potential and not your fears.
One of my biggest weaknesses is that I am unbelievably hard on myself. I beat myself up. I’m still working on it daily and I’ve improved tremendously as I get older. When I used to make even a minor mistake, I wanted to stick my head in the sand and stay there because, once again, I had proven that I can never do anything right and will never be enough. Anyone connect with this?
Before I understood how hard I was on myself, I turned towards my body as the reason everything was wrong in my life and I would beat my body up physically. I would workout too hard and too often. I would restrict my diet to the point of obsession trying to control these feelings I was having about myself. I would think ‘If only I could lose 5 more pounds, then everything would be okay. If I was just a little more toned, then I could deserve the love I truly desire. If I had a flatter stomach, then I could have that job I have always dreamed of.’ Never once did I stop to think that my body wasn’t the problem here.
I was once told that becoming self aware is one of the toughest challenges you will ever face in your life. It is not easy to take a hard look at yourself and diligently, everyday, choose to be better and do better without judging yourself. It is not for the faint of heart. But as the author and mentor Dr. Sandy Brewer once told me, “It is always worth the price of admission. Always remember, you are at the front of your own line. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to get there. The point is, you got there. And good for you.”
Here’s a little secret for you. To become emotionally intelligent means you begin to shed parts of yourself that no longer serve you. You start to step into your power and become who you were truly meant to me. You take care of yourself physically because you care about you. You build confidence that comes from such a deep place inside of you that no one and nothing can ever take it from you, not a failed relationship, a lost job or a few pounds gained. I firmly believe this: that when a person decides to change themselves, they energetically shift the room. Without even trying, you become a source of inspiration for the person next to you. Not a bad gig, if you ask me.
So, are you ready to build your own emotional intelligence? Here are 4 quick tips to becoming more self aware:
1. PAY ATTENTION
First things first, spend one entire day being a witness to your thoughts. Imagine as though you are sitting across the table from your thoughts and your only job is to listen and write them down. There is no judgement and no reaction. It is the simple awareness they exist. Throughout the day, write down these thoughts. At the end of the day, look at your thoughts on paper and notice if there is any repetition and pattern in your way of thinking. Are any of these thoughts destructive? Do they sabotage you in some way? Also be aware how these thoughts make you feel about you. Do some of the repetitive thoughts make you feel good or bad?
2. CHOOSE A HIGHER THOUGHT
Now that you are aware of your pattern of thoughts, this is where the hard work begins. This is where choice comes in. There is a higher awareness in all of us that is greater than the thoughts we have. And once you realize this, you have the power to choose different thoughts or give those negative thoughts less power simply by not attaching emotion or a reaction to them. When you notice a negative thought come up, first be aware of it. Then with every ounce of your being, choose a higher thought. Choose a thought that makes you feel good. For instance, if you keep telling yourself you are overweight and will never lose weight, I want you to choose a thought that brings you to a place of gratitude for your health. Are you able to walk without any problem? Are you able to get out of bed in the morning with ease? Have you gained weight because you have been enjoying wine with friends? Focus on that. Focus on the good so that those negative thoughts lose power. Do this daily until one day it becomes more of a natural process. I promise, it does get easier.
3. GATHER YOUR HEALTHY TOOLS
For me, exercise is one of my most powerful tools I have to change my negative patterns of thinking. With all of the endorphins and dopamine rushing through my system after a workout, exercise helps to immediately change my sabotaging thoughts into ones that are empowering and useful. So now that is YOUR job. It is time to gather YOUR tools. What can you cultivate to help keep you in line with your highest potential? Is it meditating? Is it cooking a healthy meal? Is it reading? Is it going for a run or practicing yoga? It’s up to you to figure it out and put those tools to use.
4. ASK YOURSELF
This is one of the most unique practices I have, but it works every time. On days where I can’t see the good at all or I am determined to sabotage myself, I write a letter to myself. I start the letter like this, “Dear Kit, I am having some problem with finding clarity. Here is how I am feeling…Please help me gain perspective. Sincerely, Kit” Once I have done that, I keep writing. I let whatever is inside of me flow onto the page. It is amazing what I end up writing to myself. Usually, some pretty insightful and great advice comes from within. And what an amazing realization to know that whatever problem you are having, that within you holds the answer and solution.