What’s cute, colourful and doubles up as self-help guide? Give this a whirl!
Understanding ourselves better is an undoubted art, and a little easier than you might imagine. Yes, cue the Emoji! Why? because love them or not they are seriously big business and I’m in camp love; a quick and fun way of conveying emotion in the moment working their magic to help us tell a story.
These cute, colourful creations cleverly aid our understanding of people and their lives - including the more serious stuff like anger, sadness, and shock – all with an ease that the formality of written language often cannot.
Some of them even manage to replace the need to write a phrase or paragraph. Amazing! Like a sentence hack, they’ve become the new unspoken language which has taken the world by storm, cutting across the generations and capturing our imaginations without uttering a word…
So not all kids’ stuff then? Absolutely not because we’re all awash with emotion even if we can’t put a finger on which ones at times. It is within this emotional world that coaches work every day, and they will tell you that the more willing a client is to dip into their emotional selves, the more likely they are to see a situation in a new light and achieve the change they seek.
Remember the film Inside Out? – another clever take on bringing our primary emotions to life (commercially aimed at the kids’ market), but cleverly written to capture the attention of the adult mind too.
So allow me to introduce my latest prop - a set of 25 emoji flash cards on a key ring. Available online, and retailing at around £13, I have discovered this little deck of cards is a great way of generating insight about everyday situations and I’ve designed two exercises to help you do just that.
The good news is because you will have your unique take on a situation you can’t get it wrong. Something just is - so feel free to choose any emotion you wish - the cards simply become a visual cue to help you recognise something you may be feeling. Grab some paper and a pen to jot down what comes to mind and see what emotional information you can generate.
Exercise 1 – blind date
Remove the key ring, and arrange all 25 cards face up in rows and columns of five. Then select a few cards which express how you’re feeling. The following are just some ideas:
a) a situation you’d like to resolve
b) something you’d like to achieve
c) a question you’d like to answer about yourself
d) something you’ve been putting off for a while
Think about each card in turn, why you picked it and note down what this is telling you about the situation. This is likely to reveal why you’re feeling the way you do. If you feel stuck, ask yourself: What’s the very least I could do here? What options do I have? What might I struggle with and who can help? Then think about who you can talk to afterwards, a partner, friend, colleague or coach who would be happy to hear you out and a timescale to achieve it.
Exercise 2 – pick n mix
Remove the key ring, give the deck a shuffle, then with the back of the cards facing you (emotions underside) pick 8 random cards. Then place them image side up on a flat surface and re-arrange them in any way you wish. Sit with them for a few moments. Move them around if you like. Then taking each card, in turn, look at it to see how you feel about each emoji. What comes to mind? What does each card make you think about? Are there any connections between the cards? What would you like to do? What would you like to avoid?
Get the picture… Often emotions are a trigger for something we want more of in our lives, or, less depending on what comes up. Again think about who you might share your findings with.
Not sure about trying them on yourself just yet? Then give them a go with your kids, I did an exercise with my teenage son (tricky territory I thought) but no – he went with it because the emoji connects them to a world they understand so no training required.
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About Karen Hayns
Karen has an MSc in coaching and behavioural change from Henley Business School and works with a mix of business and private clients.
She works with clients of all ages on a range of issues. Her practice is built around the concepts of freedom, choice and possibility. 'If you are curious and open minded, then the world is your oyster' she says