by Kevin Eikenberry
Perhaps it is further proof that a principle is a principle when it becomes more clear and true to you the older you get. If that is true, there can be no doubt that self-awareness is a principle that matters. In order for us to lead at higher levels, indeed in order for us to live at higher levels, we must become more self-aware.
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is the ability to be introspective and recognize yourself as separate from the environment and other individuals. This awareness fosters a realization of the role that you play in every situation in your life, and makes deep consistent accountability possible. It provides the basis for deep personal understanding, learning and growth.
How can I be more self-aware?
To become more self-aware, we must be willing (it isn’t always easy) and able (it takes practice) to step back from a situation and observe it in the third person, recognizing what we contributed and why. This practice, this discipline allows us to better understand how we influence others and the world around us. This discipline allows us to be more proactive, intentional, and if we are willing to rightly examine what we observe, more effective.
There are successful business and hundreds of products that have been created to help us with our self-awareness; from DISC and Meyers-Briggs assessments, to a whole range of self-assessment tools, to 360 assessments, to strengths and weakness evaluations and much more. These tools can be exceptionally valuable (yes, we have created and sell some of them), but they are often under-utilized. And even if they aren’t they are not the totality of what I am describing.
Self-awareness is becoming more aware of your hot buttons, your beliefs, your values, your propensities, and yes, your strengths and weaknesses. But more than that it is about how that rich mix of who you are shows up in the world and how it affects your impact, influence and results. It is the realization that who you are isn’t what you do for a living, how many children you have, where you went to college or about your past.
Getting a clearer picture
I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist and I’ve never played on TV. And yes I realize all of this is deep, yet the principle remains. Look at people who are happy, confident, productive, and successful and you will find people who have a clearer more present picture of who they are.
The more clearly you understand this and yourself, the better able you are to change, grow, advance, and learn. That is why this matters so much. Consider these words and consider this discipline if you are serious about your influence and impact on this world. Your friends, family, colleagues, team and organization need the best you’ve got. The world needs the best you’ve got. To give that we must first better understand ourselves.