Self-Awareness equals effectiveness in life?

Do you know how you impact others on a daily basis?  Are you aware how when you say, do, etc – how people react?  I think the more self-aware you are as a person the more effective you will be in life.   Your self-awareness must come first before you can have a good idea about how other people are reacting to you.

During the past year I read a book on body language that opened my eyes to a variety of things people do to indicate how they are feeling and thinking without saying a word.

What about when people are saying one thing, but their body is indicating they may not really believe what they are saying?

Yes – people will say one thing but be thinking something totally different.


Reading this book, “What every body is saying,” by Joe Navarro opened my eyes to a whole new world.  I felt like I have missed so much of people were saying with their body language all my life, and now I pick up on a lot more.  Joe Navarro was an FBI agent who would interrogate people and try and figure out if they were telling the truth in the hopes of solving some case.  Now he is one of the leading body language experts in the world.

Why is understanding people’s body language important to understanding how they are reacting to you?  It has everything to do with this.  If you ask someone a tough question and they start touching their neck or looking away from you might indicate you are making them nervous or they want to avoid the question.  Maybe you should back off a bit and ease your approach.

In the past year I have worked hard on picking up on signals from people so my approach with them is the best it can be.

Years ago I would never have known if I was running someone over by going to fast or being more intense than was necessary.  Now, I take note, slow down and try to maintain a non-anxious presence to help keep any situation calm and the waters smooth.

As some of you know, I travel a lot.  Airports are havens for mass anxiety.  People are in a hurry, mad, frustrated, stressed and very anxious.  I have fallen into this trap myself and work hard to take the stress out of traveling.  I get to the airport earlier than I used to, and other things to try and not get stressed and anxious.

Airport staff respond so well to non-anxious people because they are a refreshing change from the high anxiety travelers they are constantly dealing with.  I think everyone responds better to people who are non anxious.

As we head into this year, how can you think about how you are impacting people on a day to day basis?   How can you be less anxious in stressful situations?  I think as you work on those things you will have more satisfying results in your life.

What say you?  How do you deal with anxiety?  How do you deal with stress?

  • Stosh
    January 21, 2013

    Totally agree that self-awareness is critical. Certainly not enough leaders acknowledge this. What I really like about this, though, JVD, is that you have taken it to a place that most don’t consider: body language. Even those among us who spend a lot of time assessing and being assessed by instruments of varying kinds tend to neglect subtleties that might be revealed by our body language. Great points. I’ll be picking up this book for sure. Cheers.

  • JVD
    January 26, 2013

    Stosh – Thanks for stopping by – I appreciate your feedback.

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