Self-awareness is knowledge about yourself; a deeper understanding of your character, feelings, motives, and desires. It empowers you to lead yourself to success through intentional thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
Why is self-awareness important?
Self-aware people tend to take action rather than be passive, to have a positive outlook and more empathy and compassion for themselves and others. A number of studies show that self-awareness is important for success as a business leader and in general for increased happiness in life.
“In developing our own self-awareness many of us discover ineffective scripts, deeply embedded habits that are totally unworthy of us, totally incongruent with the things we really value in life.” – Stephen R. Covey
How can you cultivate self-awareness?
Commit to a daily reflection practice by scheduling 10-15 minutes a day with yourself. Use this opportunity to clarify your goals, notice your habits of thought, emotion and behavior and decide whether they support or undermine what you are trying to achieve. Here are some suggestions for quality reflection time.
Journal: Write about your goals and what you notice about your inner world. This helps you to process your thoughts and connect more deeply with yourself. You can also dictate your thoughts into a recording app on your smartphone if you don’t like writing.
Read: Open yourself up to insights and moments of self-awareness by reading books and articles about people who have made a positive difference in the world. Their stories can be catalyst for deeper introspection and clarity about your own life.
Mindfulness Practice: Give yourself a break with these methods of self-observation to increase your awareness, help focus your attention and induce a calm state. Mindful.org is a non-profit website where you can learn about mindfulness and discover practices that work for you.
Gratitude and Acceptance: Acknowledge 3 things you are grateful for every day. Push beyond your comfort zone with gratitude for that which is difficult by focusing on the hidden learning opportunity within. Additionally, acknowledge 3 things you need to accept, at least for today. This brings your hidden frustrations out into the open, releases any resistance that keeps you stuck and helps you be more proactive.
Listening is more than hearing. It includes noticing other people’s emotions, body movement and language with more empathy and less judgment. Improving your listening skills will help you listen more deeply to your own inner voice and help you be a better friend to yourself.
In order to have a more complete picture of yourself, ask others for feedback. We all have blind spots and others’ perspectives can broaden our self-awareness. Feedback can be biased, however as you learn more about yourself and others, you will be able to balance genuine feedback with what is not.
Work With A Coach.
One of the most effective ways to develop self-awareness is to work with a coach, a trusted thinking partner who is committed to supporting and challenging you to develop your best self within a confidential environment. Regularly scheduled time with a coach is a statement to yourself about who you are and what you value.