What is self-awareness?

Do you know yourself? Many of us don’t, and even fewer of us know ourselves in the moment. We may be good at reflection, but by then it may be too late.

Self-awareness is having real-time knowledge of your own emotions, motives, and desires. The process of growing in self-awareness can be painful, but it leads to deeper relationships and improved decision-making. Being aware of the impact your emotions can have on your own behavior, the behavior of others, decision-making, and performance should be a wake up call.

Self-awareness provides a focus on yourself and how your thoughts, actions, and emotions align with your values and your responsibilities. People who are highly self-aware can objectively assess themselves, regulate their emotions, align their behavior with their values, and intuitively recognize how they are perceived by others. Wouldn’t you like to be able to do all that?

By contrast, the absence of self-awareness causes us to be disconnected from people and situations. Neither of those is good.

And there are definite benefits to self-awareness. For instance, self-awareness moves us forward. It helps us in the recovery time from crisis, giving us greater resilience. Self-awareness also  develops intuition that enables influence over others. One benefit that has many other benefits is this: self-awareness enables us to be present — in the moment.

How do I improve my self-awareness?  Pause – Reflect – Act

This essential attribute of self-awareness leads the individual to ask, “What am I thinking, why do I have these thoughts, and what should I do with the thoughts I have?”

The response wants to know, “What is an appropriate behavior for this situation, how do I regulate my behavior, and what are the effects of my behavior?”

Of course all of that happens very rapidly, especially as your self-awareness improves.

One of the greatest challenges in developing self-awareness is the lack of openness offered by those who know us best. Ironically, those who know us well, those we trust, may not fully invest in the relationship by giving feedback about our level of self-awareness. Having this awareness provides insight and allows us to help others by sharing observations and providing insight about their response to a situation. Just as seeing your reflection in the mirror helps you with your outward appearance, feedback on your behavior helps with internal triggers — judgment and response. 

Following the Road Signs?

There are signs that can take you to that place of self-awareness,

Assessment can tell you where you are and where you need to be. This comes from self-assessment combined with feedback from people who know you through regular interaction. The feedback provides valuable information on expectations and the development steps to meet those expectations.

Identification of strengths and weaknesses. Knowledge of gaps provides directions and the number of steps in your journey to self-awareness.

Intuition. As self-awareness increases, decision-making skills rise with awareness. You are better able to separate the important information from the noise of a situation. The big picture person becomes aware that he may be missing some essential details and calls in a colleague who is good with the details.

Stressors can present hurdles in decision-making when the task is better suited to another person’s skill set. Self-awareness can provide insights that another person will relieve pressure and avoid the loss of time in dealing with a situation.

Motivation. Poor outcomes are worse when you don’t understand what caused them. Self-awareness provides direction to deal with a weakness before it has the opportunity to undermine your efforts. Knowing the potential for a weakness to appear should provide the motivation to anticipate a problem before it arrives.

Leadership. Mastery of self-awareness provides insights into yourself, but also into other people with whom you work. The ability to help others with their awareness creates trust and deepens relationships which can be used in other situations. The leader who understands what motivates them and their colleagues can be a great support to others along the way.

Steps to Self-awareness

Whether it is a management function of controlling the chaos or a leadership role like creating vision and overseeing the mission, self-awareness is the starting point. Self-awareness means knowing your values, beliefs, personality, needs, habits, emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Assessing where you are is key to creating a plan for personal development. Motivation and stress management are never far apart, and improved intuition is a great asset in decision-making and leading others more effectively.

Do Good University can help individuals and teams understand and improve their Self-Awareness and we are excited to help you develop this essential skill set!

Do good. It’s in you!  Were you aware of that? 🙂

Leave a Reply