I am convinced that the secret to success and happiness in life is knowing yourself. Knowing yourself not from the biographical perspective, but from the perspective of what you really want and what you are truly capable of.
Knowing yourself, or in other words, finding your purpose is a struggle for many people. But it doesn’t have to be when we have simple tools to learn about ourselves without even thinking.
Well, how is that possible? Let me explain.
Different Intelligence Centres
We have these three different centres of intelligence. We have our head, our heart, our gut, and IQ, EQ, BQ are some of the ways we refer to them today.
The most commonly used one, the intellect is measured with the intelligence quotient or in short the IQ. This is what our school systems pay the most attention to. The faster you can solve problems using reasoning, such as mathematical equations and engineering challenges, the higher your IQ is.
The second intelligence that is at our disposal is emotional intelligence (EI). EI refers to your ability to recognize and regulate emotion and to use social awareness in problem-solving.
For example, people who can maintain optimism when the going gets tough are considered to have high EI. Empathy, or being able to understand the position of the other, is another valuable skill in the palette of emotional intelligence.
The good news is that everyone can practice improving their EI.
>> See here how to improve your emotional intelligence <<
Finally, we have Body Intelligence.
Body intelligence is a recognition that we have an instinctual awareness that is known by the sensations, known by how the body feels.
If we start to drop into the body and pay attention, it’s got a lot of guidance for us, as do our emotions, as does our intellect.
When you need clarity about which direction to go in your life you can ask your body. Our bodies never lie and are faster than our thinking in informing us where we stand.
Can you name a situation where you had a gut feeling you shouldn’t do something, while rationally it all looked good?
I have a recent example. Last week I got offered a new position at work. Rationally I was flattered but when we went into a more detailed conversation about the content of the work, I started feeling uncomfortable in my body. My energy level dropped, my arms and head became heavy. Tuning into my body, made me realize that something about the new position was not aligned with what I wanted in my future.
Reading your body signals is a self-leadership skill you can develop with regular practice. A good place to start is to determine what is the way your body says ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
Exercise: The whole body yes
This simple exercise, done frequently, can develop your ability to listen to your body for guidance.
Go to the supermarket. Walk around the shelves and when you see a product you really want to have, before you put it into your basket, drop down into your body and explore how it feels. What sensations can you notice? Where in the body do you feel energy flowing?
It is ok at the beginning to not notice much. This will improve with time.
Shake this feeling off now and continue strolling in the supermarket. When you spot a product you totally don’t want to buy, repeat the exercise. Check this time, how your body is saying ‘no’.
We are getting a map of what does a yes and no feel like in your body. Everybody is unique and there are no right or wrong answers here.
For me, I see greyish colour in my mind and my chest gets tensed and closed, my breath becomes shallow. This is how I feel my ‘no’. But yours will be what it is.
I have learned this technique from Diana Chapman, one of the Conscious Leadership Group finders.
If you have 10 minutes and a quiet place you can also listen to her guiding you to find out how your body says yes and no.
When you become skilled in listening to what the body is saying, you will start trusting it. You will feel comfortable using this technique with more important decisions.
Tunning into how our body feels every day and especially in crucial moments in life can be very valuable guidance. Knowing yourself is the way to success and it begins with connecting to your head, your heart, and your gut.
“Anything other than a ‘whole-body yes’ is a no.”— Diana Chapman
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>> Click here << for a list of books that recently influenced me profoundly and are today part of my body and mind.