Nurturing and cultivating self-awareness is vital for success in any effort — from taking responsibility to leading well. And it’s a fundamental ability that can make or break your business.
Self-Awareness as a Leader
If you are a leader, your actions and attitude set the tone and make the real rules, no matter what’s posted or written down. For instance, if you’re consistently late to meetings, it sends a message that it’s okay for others to be late. If you don’t follow procedures or processes, then no one will. As a leader, your actions and your example make the rules a reality.
“As a leader, your actions and your example make the rules a reality.”
Self-Awareness as a Team Member
What if you’re a team member? Your actions and attitude also play a significant role in the quality of your work and how you relate to others. For example, if you’re not self-aware enough to take responsibility for your mistakes or to treat others with respect, you won’t be a valued team member for long.
How to Become Self-Aware
So, how do you develop self-awareness? To some degree, it’s an innate ability, but you can develop it. Looking at yourself objectively requires holding up a mirror sometimes, and you might not always like what you see. Here are some ways to become more self-aware.
Join a Mastermind
One of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to join a community or a mastermind group that focuses on goals and accountability. Joining forces with like-minded individuals who hold you accountable to your goals can help you become more self-aware. Susan of Beyond the Chaos and Brandon Hayes of Kalos Consulting, run the OneLife Mastermind group. It focuses on all aspects of one’s life and has been invaluable in keeping members on track and self-aware.
Meditation or Mindful Habits
Self-awareness starts from within, so you need to find ways to get those inner thoughts out to recognize them to make changes as needed. Meditation, yoga, or other mindful habits can help you connect with your inner self. These introspective moments can provide truly valuable insights. Plus, just having the structure surrounding your workday to attend to mindfulness helps you become more focused on your actions.
Another way to increase self-awareness is to write. Keep a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings. This is a great way to be honest with yourself and to get your inner thoughts out. Plus, something is empowering about knowing that you can destroy your journal if needed.
“I’ve kept a journal during parts of my life, and it has always allowed me to be completely honest. I keep it private. And there is some beauty in knowing you can destroy it. Shredding or fire are great options. We all say horrible things about ourselves. Things we would never dream of saying to another person. And if you can get that nonsense out of your head and light those thoughts on fire, you have a tool to help you start to own a method to get out of your own head. – Susan Fenemma, BTC
Take a moment to jot down your strengths and weaknesses – be honest with yourself! This can be a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, build on your strengths, and take steps to improve on any areas that need work.
The importance of journaling is to make it what you need it to be. So, you can be creative in how you write.
Set Goals for Self-Awareness
Setting goals is another essential step in the journey to self-awareness because you take a step back and reflect on what you want to achieve and why. It requires you to examine your strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, and identify areas for improvement.
But, don’t just set goals, also regularly assess your progress towards them. For example, set your goals, create tactics to achieve them, and check in on them once a month. Holding yourself accountable is crucial in reaching your goals. This is where an accountability group can be very helpful.
Get Feedback from Trusted Friends and Colleagues
Trusted friends or colleagues can also help you become more self-aware. However, it’s important to approach these discussions objectively and not let them turn into defensive or attacking conversations. Consider the feedback as information and not as an attack. Listen without getting defensive. You can ask questions to clarify, but if you begin making excuses or justifying your actions, you’ll miss the point of gaining self-awareness.
Lastly, take a personality profile test such as DiSC, CliftonStrengths, Enneagram, or Myers-Briggs to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. These tests can help you become more self-aware and understand your unique strengths and weaknesses.
The more you get to know yourself, the more self-awareness you embrace. You’ll be better equipped to make positive changes in your life and work. You’ll improve your ability to lead and work effectively with others. And that ability can make all the difference in the quality of a leader or team member that you make.
See additional resources in the complete guide to successful small business operations for your business and life.