Self-awareness: the new buzzword for the new decade.
What Is Self Awareness?
Self-awareness simply put, means connecting with your emotions, innermost beliefs, thoughts, and living a life congruent with these things. It means understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and personality type. What makes you tick? What triggers a strong emotional response? What actually upsets us? Realizing these things is essential to your personal growth, and can catalyze you, into your version success.
According to Google’s Dictionary, self-awareness is:
“Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.”
According to Psychology Today, self-awareness:
“involves monitoring our inner worlds, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. It is important, because it’s a major mechanism influencing personal development.”
Now that you understand why it's so important. We can address the the next few questions: How does self-awareness lead to success? And how can I cultivate more of it?
These are the questions we’re going to check out today.
How Does Self-Awareness Lead To Success
It doesn't matter what your profession is, or what your personal life is like, attaining self-awareness is a sure-fire way to lead to success in both areas. But here's a fun fact if you're still not convinced.
According to a study conducted by Cornell University on high-level executives at top companies raking in $50 million to $ 5 billion in revenue: “The executives most likely to deliver good bottom line results are actually self-aware leaders who are especially good at working with individuals and in teams.” The study went on to say, “A high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.”
So, now you've been told, know this is not just fluff being thrown at you. Self-awareness can lead to BIG MONEY. Here are 4 ways it can lead to success!
1. IT HELPS REVEAL YOUR BLIND SPOTS
In my opinion, this is the most important benefit of increasing self-awareness. By showing us the things we didn't know, we didn't know, we are opened up to a whole new world of possibility.
For example, do you know how to differentiate between story and fact? Or do you create stories based on things that happened, and then treat your self-concocted story as a fact? Most people actually do not know the difference.
Take for example the sentence, "I recently got laid off. I have the worst luck." The fact is: you got laid off. And the story here is: you have no luck. This story you are telling yourself is not true and carries no real weight. It only serves to hurt you. Learn to be self-aware and it can help you see situations as they truly are, manage your emotions better, and help you live a higher quality of life.
“To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else.” Dalai Lama
2. IT REMINDS YOU THAT YOU'RE HUMAN
We know our strengths but do we truly know what our weaknesses are? Are we open to hearing feedback that can make us better? In order to truly face our weaknesses with maturity we need to be self-aware. When you develop self-awareness, it enables you to take the feedback as a man or woman and thereby allows you to forgive yourself, and move forward.
3. IT HELPS YOU HAVE BETTER RELATIONSHIPS
Having greater self-awareness can help you navigate difficult personalities and office politics.
Usually when we see something we dislike in someone else, it is a reflection of something we dislike in ourselves.
If you notice something that bothers you or annoys you, do not ignore it. I know it is so tempting to just sweep that nonsense under the rug and never look at it again. I can't blame you, ignorance is bliss right? Yes in the short-term, but not in the long-term. In the long-term, the effects can be absolute disaster. When you're going through these annoying situations, ask yourself: Maybe this is a reflection of something in me that I dislike?
Reflect on it for a while. In this way, you will come to realize how others, especially the higher ups, see you. Ask yourself: How do you come off when you're working in a leadership role? Are you obnoxious? Bossy? Rude? With this self-awareness ammo, you will understand people a little more as well, and you in turn will feel less defensive during your daily interactions with co-workers.
Think about it, how can you understand what it's like to be someone else, if you can't properly understand and learn from your own experiences. With self-awareness, you'll be less likely to steer in the wrong direction of office politics, and manage difficult personalities better, before situations escalate.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Gustav Jung
4. IT HELPS YOU BE A RESPONSIBLE LEADER
Self-awareness begins by examining yourself instead of pointing the finger of blame at others. In doing this, you are taking responsibility for your weaknesses and will be able to delegate to subordinates accordingly.
Many leaders are so easily side-tracked by strong emotional responses and short-term impulses, but with a higher level of self-awareness you will learn to differentiate the two and instead go for the long-term goals. You will be able to put your ego aside, and lead with clear thoughts, and make better responsible decisions for the company.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Carl Gustav Jung
How Do I Cultivate More Self-Awareness
Self-awareness demands time out of your busy schedule for self-examination. It is not easy to be objective and non-judgmental about yourself because it is so easy to give in to bias. So while you do this, remember that we are all a combination of good and bad traits. Try to recognize your imperfections to open your heart and mind to forgiveness, while also taking time to appreciate your skills and talents.
To get you going here are 9 ways you can increase your self-awareness.
1. Practice Mindfulness
If you've ever done yoga, you will be aware of the practice of mindful meditation. For those of you who are new to this idea, it is the practice of quieting your mind, and focusing on your breath.
During this meditation you are allowing yourself to be present, to observe and be aware of your thoughts. As you experience this state of meditation you will come to realize that you are not your thoughts. You are so much more than your thoughts. And regularly reminding yourself of this, and becoming aware of how the thinking mind works can be truly beneficial in the long-run.
I am leaving some links below to help you practice mindfulness in your own time:
2. Consume Personal Development Content
I would not have come across the idea of self-awareness had I not been consuming personal development content. My favorites are the Gary Vee and Tim Ferris Podcasts. They're both very authentic characters and provide a lot of extremely valuable advice to their listeners.
If you don't like podcasts, you can always take a course, watch some youtube videos, read some books, or subscribe to some blogs. Like this one! The more you learn, the more you will discover yourself. The more you understand yourself and how you work, the actions you need to take to reach your goals become much clearer, which is why self-awareness is so important to reaching high levels of success.
Here are some links to jump-start your self-awareness journey:
3. Be A Good Listener
Haha. Easier said than done. When most of us listen to someone else, we are usually more busy holding onto as many of our own thoughts, and rebuttals. I'm guilty of doing this and it's made apparent to the other person when I can't remember what had just been said.
When you listen to someone, try to do more than just hear what words they're saying. Really pay attention to them and what they are saying with their tone, body language, and attitude. Be aware of what they're feeling and how you're making them feel.
Forget being judgmental and try to listen with an open mind. Actually connect with that person and listen to what he or she wants or needs to share. As we become better listeners, we teach ourselves how to listen to our internal dialogues more objectively as well.
4. Be Open-minded
It will be challenging to learn anything new about ourselves if we stick to the same limited perceptions we have created about ourselves. You can practice being open-minded by entertaining the new ideas of others. It is through interacting with others that you will ultimately develop a greater understanding of yourself.
5. Be Objective
We are so hard on, and judgmental towards others and ourselves. Whether its grades, social media, life goals, or career performance, we all have a tendency to look down on ourselves when what we need to do is have more compassion. Yes we have done things in the past we are ashamed of but we need to accept and love who we were in order to move forward.
When you evaluate yourself, do not be overly self-critical and beat yourself up. Be honest and objective with yourself. Do it in the same way your favorite teacher would correct you as a student, which was probably with great understanding and compassion.
6. Keep A Journal
I highly recommend keeping a journal. It's a great way to let your stream-of-consciousness just flow out onto the pages. It can surprisingly help you work through your thoughts, beliefs and emotions, and reveal what is truly important to you.
Be free and vulnerable. Allow yourself this time to reflect deeply on your life. Explore your thoughts with the intention of understanding yourself at a deeper level. You might surprise yourself!
Check out these gorgeous journals!
Are you ready?! Great things take time, and building self-awareness is a lifelong discovery. It's ok, I know you've got this! I love you, now go love yourself!
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How To Be More Self Aware
Increase Your Self-Awareness With One Simple Fix | Ted Talks
You Might Enjoy These Books:
Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think
In Insight, you'll learn:
• The 7 types of self-knowledge that self-aware people possess. • The 2 biggest invisible roadblocks to self-awareness. • How to benefit from mindfulness without uttering a single mantra. • Why other people don’t tell you the truth about yourself—and how to find out what they really think. • How to deepen your insight into your passions, gifts, and the blind spots that could be holding you back. • Why the people with the most power can often be the least-self-aware, and how smart leaders avoid this trap. • How to deal with delusional bosses, clients, and coworkers.
By now, emotional intelligence (EQ) needs little introduction—it’s no secret that EQ is critical to your success. But knowing what EQ is and knowing how to use it to improve your life are two very different things.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 delivers a step-by-step program for increasing your EQ via four, core EQ skills that enable you to achieve your fullest potential:
1) Self-Awareness 2) Self-Management 3) Social Awareness 4) Relationship Management
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