Do you ever ask yourself “Why am I thinking this way?” or “Why am I behaving this way?” I know I do. There is so much empowerment in knowing the answer to these questions.
Hi this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today’s I want to have a conversation with you around the invaluable competency of ‘Self Awareness’.
There have been many times in my career where I was confused about the things I was saying or doing, and how the way I saw myself was constantly different to the perception of others.
My lack of understanding caused me, and those who I worked with, a lot of pain and suffering. My inability to see the signs, oblivious to what was really going on with my inner game, made it feel like driving down the road at night with my lights off.
Navigating in the dark creates collisions and conflict, but knowing why is the key ingredient in any form of change and it takes a higher level of Self Awareness.
Self Awareness will empower you to recognise and understand the links between what you believe, your thoughts, self-talk and what you say and do. It removes the confusion and creates clarity and certainty.
So what is Self Awareness?
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “Conscious knowledge of one's own character and feelings” and you receive many benefits in your career, and every area of your life, when you develop these skills for yourself.
When you see the signs you can make the adjustments you need to bring your thoughts and behaviour back on track so you can achieve the results you want. It gives you a start point for positive growth and change with a roadmap to follow, allowing you to navigate with confidence.
Self Awareness is knowing your internal states, your preferences, your resources and intuitions. It brings the inside out, shining the light on you strengths and shortcomings.
So how do you increase your current level of Self Awareness? Let’s unpack 3 big ideas around this that have helped me, and the thousands of others I have had the privilege of working with in this area.
Number 1: Invest in your own self reflection - You know you better than anyone else so take charge and ask yourself the difficult questions.
Just like any medical condition, diagnosis is critical before you can make the changes you need to get back to full health. Make Self Awareness a priority, allowing space for forward focussed reflection throughout the day. It may help you to journal your thoughts so you can notice when certain things are more likely to surface or what people trigger your unhealthy thoughts and behaviours. Recognise patterns in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. Call yourself out when you see yourself indulging in negative self talk that can spiral into emotionally charged reactions.
Number 2: Be open to feedback - Every one of us has ‘Blind Spots’, things we cannot or will not see in ourselves that stands out in a spotlight for others. Self Awareness is a process that involves others, trusting them, being vulnerable and teachable, recognising that what they see is their perception of reality. Listen to learn, suspending judgement and the need to defend. It’s a bit like my mum making me take a large spoonful of castor oil each day when I was a kid. It tasted terrible but it was good for my inner health. Asking others for feedback is a bit like that. It may not feel good at the time but it’s good for you, and the people around you.
Number 3: Use what you learn - Awareness without action is pointless. In fact, it can be even more frustrating to know things about yourself and do nothing with it. The only value you receive from your newfound level of Self Awareness comes in making the change it illuminates for you. Set an intention to make incremental change over the long term, avoiding band aid fixes that never last. Get some people around you who can give you the support and accountability you need to make it happen. A family member, a colleague or even a coach like me. Someone who cares about you and wants you to succeed. Self Awareness is not a one time deal, it’s something you have to condition yourself to walk in every day.
People who have Self Awareness are emotionally aware, they accurately assess their abilities and they have a strong sense of self-worth. This translates into more satisfying relationships and a career where you have more influence, make a bigger impact and receive a higher income. It’s time to become more aware!
So that’s it from me for another week. Next week we are celebrating Mental Health Week by kicking off a series on Resilience. See you then.
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