The term “Self-Awareness” has been used over and over again. I can remember this term being used in every performance review or during a discussion with a manager when some form of improvement needed to take place. It was as if, just by using this word, awareness of a certain area of improvement would be acknowledged and actions be taken effectively. I can also remember using the term. However, did I really know or understand what it meant?
In Daniel Goleman’s article on What Makes a Leader? on the Harvard Business Review “self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest—with themselves and with others.” Now that we have a common understanding of what it is, the question is “How do we gain that deep understanding?“.
The first step of self-awareness is recognising and acknowledging that you want to gain awareness. Recognising that you want to is both scary and powerful. Scary as it might mean that you will discover certain areas that you are not happy with and powerful as it means that now you can do something about it.
My top 3 suggestions are:
- Write a list or keep a journal. This is the first step of recognising a need or an area. Writing a list of your strengths, goals or what you enjoy doing. The process of writing and reading through the list will help you identify areas that you want to work on.
- Connect with people. Family, friends, mentor and coach are all resources that you can use to help you gain awareness in any area. They are also your support group and cheer squad when you are on that journey to make improvements.
- Self-care. The need to take care of yourself is important. If you are not at your optimum best health wise, its hard for your mind to focus on what you need to work on. Eat healthy, rest or sleep well, meditate and exercise are all key areas that need to be taken into consideration.
Self-awareness can drive positive growth in all areas of your life. Taking the first step will need you to overcome the initial fear but rest assured, the outcome will surprise and motivate you further. It’s like riding a bicycle for the first time. It’s scary, you will fall but you will get up and start again and then suddenly, it will all just click and you are cycling around like an expert.
Take a deep breath and start your journey.