Ever feel like you’re caught in a cycle of ‘over and over’ … and your experience is one of running on a hamster wheel?
There doesn’t appear to be any beginning or any end; you’re in automatic mode and never seem to stop long enough to remove yourself to look from the outside in.
The ability to recognise that we are on autopilot, and then stopping to consciously identify our own habitual responses and reactions to situations, is an integral Emotional Intelligence competency. It requires observing our feelings and reactions to them and being able to identify recurring themes.
This gives us the power to choose a different response. Being more conscious of these cycles of reaction allows us recognise the triggers and let go of disempowering habits and recurring stories/narratives we made up … we are filled with loads of foregone conclusions about our view of the world.
So what can you do to build your muscle in recognising patterns?
3 simple building blocks for recognising patterns
- Start with recognising others’ patterns
It’s so much easier recognising other people’s patterns (our partners and the people we work with), than ourselves. Develop your own framework for considering patterns based on your observation. If you start being judgemental then you will cease to be making accurate observations. Work to recognise patterns without evaluating. You could label them with “How fascinating!” or “That’s interesting!”
- Practise first in retrospect
For any situation in the past, you can simply say: “I felt (this) and I did (that). When you’ve mastered that you can do the same in real time: “I’m feeling (this) and I’m doing (that) and now I can make another choice.”
- Rewind the tape
For same day events, you can reflect at the end of the day by rewinding the tape and asking:
- What was I feeling?
- What was I thinking?
- What was I doing?
These three building blocks will provide you with valuable information to make more empowering choices (versus disempowering) and support you in building the muscle for recognising patterns.
Stay tuned for more upcoming posts in this EQ Series.
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