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08.21.09

12 Keys to Greater Self-Awareness

self-awareness
There is no evidence to suggest that any species of animals other than humans come pre-packaged with a set of mechanisms for any kind of meaningful self-awareness—to ask what and why. The degree to which we develop and use that capacity, in a constructive way, will largely determine our success in life.

Self-awareness is where leadership development begins. Self-management and authenticity flow from self-awareness. Self-awareness can be divided into four parts: what is known to us and others, what is known to others but not by us, what we know and others don’t and what we don’t know and others don’t either. Plumbing the depths of self-awareness takes time and more intensive tactics. However, our biggest gain in self-improvement can be had by finding out what others know that we don’t. And they know more than we think.

Here are twelve keys to greater self-awareness:
  1. Stop blaming others for your choices. It’s you.
  2. Take a personality assessment to help you gain some perspective.
  3. Get feedback from as many significant people in your life as you can. This can be uncomfortable for both you and them, but it is the fastest method for gaining a better picture of yourself. (Make them feel safe. It's a big, unknown risk for them!)
  4. Get a coach or mentor. They don't have to know more than you. They just have to see you in action and help you to be a better you. You're not as hard to figure out (complicated) as you would like to think.
  5. Understand that your biggest irritations look a lot like you.
  6. Look beneath your behavior to reveal your assumptions and filters. They dictate how you see yourself and others and impact how you relate to them.
  7. Look at your roadblocks. Learn to separate facts from your interpretations of them.
  8. Analyze your interactions. A lot of negative interactions signal a selfish approach to life.
  9. Reflect daily on your behavior. Ask questions like: How do I handle difficulties? What do I think or do when I don’t get my own way? How adaptive am I? Can I control my emotions? Do I tend to say what I’m thinking when I’m thinking it? Do I judge other people and create conflict? How do others relate to me?
  10. Organize your thoughts in a journal. It is one of the best ways to capture what is going on around you and inside you. Make a note of the causal remarks people make about you.
  11. Read books and go to seminars that help you rethink your assumptions and address your problem areas and blind spots.
  12. Be careful what you say. Words mean a lot. Your language reflects your thinking and attitudes.
Your thinking and the behavior that flows from that has brought you to where you are now. You are in control of developing the thinking and behavior that will take you where you want to go. Self–awareness is difficult. We don’t always like to admit things about ourselves because we don’t like the guilt associated with not doing what we know we should. But admit we must if we are to grow. Ask yourself, “In light of where I come from, what do I need to know about myself?”

Warren Bennis wrote, “It is one of the paradoxes of life that good leaders rise to the top in spite of their weaknesses, while bad leaders rise because of their weakness….We are our own raw material. Only when we know what we are made of and what we want to make of it can we begin our lives—and we must do it despite an unwitting conspiracy of people and events against us.” It is a lifelong and rewarding journey.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:09 AM
| Comments (0) | Personal Development



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