Success in life requires interaction with other people. To manage positive relationships, you will require a high level of emotional maturity. Even if it does not come naturally to you, you can develop emotional maturity. To develop emotional maturity requires time, patience and commitment but you will see amazing improvements in the quality of your relationships. There are many ways to develop emotional maturity but this post shall just focus on personal reflection.

Personal reflection is an honest and open appraisal of an important event which has taken place. You aim to review your own experience of the event with the purpose of assessing your performance and identifying areas where you might improve.  Many people only conduct personal reflections after an event has gone badly, however, personal reflections should be conducted after every major event, regardless of the outcome.  Learning from your successes, as well as your failures, will enable you to develop emotional maturity faster.

Develop emotional maturity

There are a number of ways to conduct a personal reflection but I find the following 4 coaching questions to be most effective:

1. What happened?

Write down an accurate and detailed description of the event that took place. It is important to focus only on what was said and what was done. There should be no assumptions or interpretations involved.

 2. How do you feel about it?

Identify your feelings about the situation. Again it is important to be accurate. It is important to consider your feelings about a situation as they tell you a great deal about yourself and about what happened.  For example, after an unsuccessful sales meeting, you may feel happy. This could be a sign that you did your best and the customer just wasn’t prepared to buy. By accessing your feelings you now realise that you do not need to be hard on yourself.

 3. What have you learned?

Experience is the best educator. Reflecting on the event allows you identify what went wrong so that you can avoid making the same mistake. It also allows you to identify the things which worked so that you can seek to implement them again.

When reflecting, make 2 lists. List one should include all the things which worked. Keep this list to reflect upon in future e.g. before the next sales meeting. List 2 should include all the things that went wrong. You are going to work on this list to make changes for the future.

 4. What can you change?

You will now have a list of all the things that went wrong. This list should now be divided into 2 categories:

    • Things you can control
    • Things you cannot control

There is little point focusing on the things you cannot control as there is nothing you can do to change it. Discard this list.

For all the things you can control, you need to identify the things you can do differently.  Decide on a new behaviour. Identify your next opportunity to implement that behaviour and commit to doing so.

Self confidence is one of the most critical components of emotioanl maturity. If you are lacking self confidence, check out Unbreakable Self Confidence.

If you want to develop emotional maturity, you must learn from your experiences. This requires commitment and patience. Emotional maturity will allow you to manage positive relationships and cope with adversity. Personal reflection is one of the best tools to help you develop emotional maturity. It provides a framework for learning from both your successes and your failures. When you conduct regular personal reflections, you will rapidly develop emotional maturity which will lead to great improvements in the quality of your relationships, your ability to cope with setbacks and the results you achieve.


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