Consider a colleague at the workplace who shares excellent rapport with others. This colleague is always thoughtful, thinks about others’ needs and feelings, is humble about her strengths, and is concerned about how her words and actions may affect others.
It is wonderful to work with such a person and the entire team buzzes around her, eager to please and assist her. The team finds solace around such a person. This is because this person has immense self-awareness.
Self awareness is being aware of oneself including one’s traits, behaviour and feelings through introspection. It is one of the most valuable leadership competencies that are always underestimated. Such leaders shoulder responsibilities willingly and are able to accept what they do not know. Most leaders pretend to know everything. But a person with self-awareness understands his/her limitations and is willing to learn from others. Rumi has aptly quoted, “O, happy the soul that saw its own faults”.
People often do not understand their strengths and weaknesses and this hinders their performance. This is because of poor self-awareness. Such people tend to brush their faults under the carpet and pretend to be a “know-all”. This leads to poor performance and in some cases even termination. So the solution is to be aware of yourself. How can this be done? Here are a few tips to develop self-awareness and be successful in both your personal and professional life.
Introspection: To develop self-awareness, introspection is the key. All tips listed below are based on this introspection, which is the ability to think through an action by looking deep within. Seek answers within for your actions and reactions to develop a more positive approach towards life and others.
Blame-game: Normally, people don’t look at themselves, with the result that you blame one another for the mistakes. Stop this blame game and look within for the reason as to why the action of a particular person makes you upset. So often, the annoyance factor in the other person may be reflected somewhere deep within you. Carl Jung notes that everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
Strengths and weaknesses: Introspection leads to an awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. This understanding helps you choose your career path, and your friends which enhance both your personal and professional life.
Slow down: In this fast paced competitive life, you are always in a rush with deadlines to meet, projects to be completed. This leaves you with no time to pause and look at your situation, and the situation of all the people with whom you interact. So slow down your pace and become conscious of your life, what you are and what you want to achieve.
Mindfulness: The Buddhist philosophy of mindfulness is an easy tool to stay connected with your inner core and be aware of yourself. It simply means living in the moment. This can be developed through simple techniques like meditation, relaxation techniques, watching the breath, listening to music, sitting quietly observing your thoughts and so on. This a therapeutic exercise where you are consciously aware of each and every moment and action of yours. Living in the moment, in the present helps get rid of stress and give your full focus and attention to the task. This way you minimise mistakes, give your best and excel in your work!
Thus self-awareness helps you develop non-judgmental awareness of all that you are and will be. This reflects on the outside so that your relationships are based on accepting the other person for what he/she is. By understanding yourself, you learn to use your strengths better, develop where you can and avoid or compensate areas where you don’t have the necessary skills. People who understand themselves work better.
To sum up, in James Allen’s words, “Only by much searching and mining are gold and diamonds obtained, and man can find every truth connected with his being if he will dig deep into the mine of his soul.”