Reading People: Lesson #1

“The simple act of paying attention can take you a long, long way.”

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Self-awareness is your superpower.

The first lesson in reading people, using the principles of emotional intelligence, is to understand yourself more deeply.

What motivates you. What excites you. What angers you. What lifts you up!

As self-awareness is essential for both personal and relationship success.

If you can’t comprehend your own emotions and motivations, how will you ever understand the behaviour of others?

Understanding Yourself  ⇔ Understanding Others

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Self-awareness as a daily practice.

Notice how your emotions ebb and flow throughout the day.

One way of doing this is to schedule time at the end or beginning of your day for quiet contemplation and self-reflection.

Find your favourite place to relax and unwind. Perhaps in the garden or in a cozy chair by the window. Or on a walk by the trees. 

Alternatively, enjoy a 2 minute “Self Check In” at the top of each hour.

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Pause. Reflect. Breathe Deeply. Journal. Meditate. Create. 

What you will find is the more consistently you pay attention to your own drives and desires, the better you will understand the emotions and motivations of others.

Simple self-awareness exercise.

In the video below, I share the simple exercise I use to enhance self-awareness in myself and others. Can you guess the EQ questions I ask students?

Your Turn:

How would you describe yourself in one word?

To hear my “one word” — check out the 1 min video above.  📌🎥

Signs are everywhere.

Don’t forget to watch video too! 🎥

Signs pointing us in the direction of our dreams are everywhere.

Everywhere!

But we have to look UP to see it.

OPEN our minds to BELIEVE it.

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Daily Visualization Exercise

The next time you see a 30 km, 40 km, or even 100 km sign — take it as an opportunity to visualize where (and who) you want to be at that age.

Additionally, use each “sign” as instant reflection time for contemplating: 1) what you need to do more of and 2) what you need to let go of to get there.

We only get one life.

Let’s imagine the best one possible!

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Psychology 101: Ask Dr. D.

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Getting to know my students is one of my favourite parts being a professor.

 Accordingly, I ask students a lot of questions.

So it’s only fair that students get to ask me questions too!

Why did you become a psychologist? 🎥

What’s most interesting about being a college professor? 🎥

I would love to hear your questions too! 💥

First impressions.

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I met a delightful group of people at a dinner party this past Saturday night. Which of course (like all social occasions) got my psychologist mind percolating.

Particularly when one of the guests leaned in halfway through dinner and stated “Andrea, you seem like the kind of person who never worries”. At which point my husband (laughed) chimed in and said “Oh she worries. Plenty”.

The surface of the iceberg is a glimpse of what lies below.

This conversation brings up three important points. One, how truly multifaceted we are. Two, how those closest to us know us best. And finally, how we (write) teach what we ultimately need to learn.

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I am a worrier. I’m also brave. I dream. I overwork. I ruminate. I relax. I overachieve. I doubt. I believe.

I am not one thing. And neither are you. We are all multifaceted. Equally.

Related Post: Who are you?

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Health and Happiness.

Reflection Questions

When someone asks you “What makes you happy?” does your answer differ from “What makes you healthy?”

Do you consider your health requirements essential and your happiness needs selfish and superfluous?

Or perhaps you rate health and happiness as equal and interdependent.

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I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Free yourself.

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“Go 24 hours without complaining and watch your life start changing.”

The next time you’re tempted to complain about the same thing over and over again, direct that same frustrated energy into your highest, loftiest goals. Consciously swap one complaint for one baby step towards your dreamsSame energy required. Magically different results. 

To view the full version of my TEDx Talk — click here. 🎥


What habit do you want to break free of? What changes are you willing to make?

You Can Do College Event.

I love sharing ideas with students.

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I can’t imagine a better moment in life to learn about purpose and empowerment than when we are young.

Which is why I embrace every opportunity to share the principles of positive psychology with students across Canada.

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The most recent opportunity being a conference called: “You Can Do College.”

  • 600 grade 10 students from 14 high schools participated in the 2 day conference.

The purpose of the event was to introduce high school students to all the programs available to them when they graduate in a few years.

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Showing them that if they work hard today — “They Can Do College” in the future. Whether it be as a civil engineer, a veterinary technician, a nurse, or an early childhood educator.

The choice is theirs to make.

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Students are our future.

My job as a Motivational Speaker was to ignite their inner flame for higher learning. This is what I was born to do! 🔥

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Pay attention to the person right in front of you. They have something to teach you.

Connecting with audience members is essential for me. No matter how big or small the crowd.

Accordingly, I encouraged students to answer as many questions as they could (which they did!) as I walked and talked freely with the large crowd.

Hoping to meet as many of the 600 students as I could.

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One of my favourite moments was when the young gentleman above shared his lifelong dream of becoming an engineer.

Just listening to his mission shifted me to a higher place.

The icing on the cake was hearing about destiny from a student named Destiny. 

Destiny aspires to be a cosmetologist to the stars one day. How cool is that!

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The next time you meet a student, ask them about their dreams. The stress they’re experiencing immediately disappears.

I believe in you.

As a psychology professor and former school psychologist, I talk about mental health issues with students every single day.

My classroom is a safe place for students to be themselves.

Which is critical when working with youth (18-24) who represent the highest proportion of individuals with mental illness.

Education helps bridge the gap between fear and freedom.

And so does an open heart. And an open mind.

I believe in my students. In their potential. In their dreams.

I believe in their ability to overcome challenge, adversity, and self-stigma.

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Students need my support and encouragement.

And an educational community that truly cares.

Because self-stigma is real. 

And often more silencing than social stigma.

Because sharing our story is one of the scariest and most liberating things we’ll ever do.

Be it about mental illness or another vulnerable part of our lives.

Which is why the best place to open up the conversation about mental illness is to meet students where they are.

These are their words.

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 Ontario student mental health helpline ⇒ Visit Good2Talk.ca

How do you prepare for work each day?

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

I value positivity and a sense of security in the classroom, above all else.

For it is only when students feel safe, supported, and uplifted are they motivated to learn.

Creating a harmonious classroom atmosphere happens long before the school bell rings.

Which is why my preparation for teaching psychology includes both energetic and intellectual preparation.

Ultimately, the more relaxed and happy I am, the more calm and content my students will be.

I am grateful for every student I teach and I want to make sure that they get the best of me.

Energetic Preparation for Teaching = Exercise

Intellectual Preparation for Teaching = Textbooks 

How do you prepare for work each day?