“One way to measure self-awareness is by looking at your ability to tell your life story in a coherent way.” ~ Anonymous
If we talk about strong leaders, you might think of a Captain America or Rogue type of person that knows everything and has a clear vision for the future. The reality is often the contrary. Leaders aren’t superheroes but normal human beings with both strengths and weaknesses. In my continuing research on leadership and reading autobiographies of icons like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk it has become very clear to me what all of these kick-ass human beings have in common, they are all extremely self-aware.
“Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation and emotions. “ (source: www.pathwaytohappiness.com)
Now that we have defined what self-awareness is, the big question is how to develop self-awareness? Here are 4 exercises that will strengthen your self-awareness and spice up your performance and leadership:
1: Kill your ego: Ego is a b*tch
I’ve bumped into many high potentials that missed the career boat because they were too busy proving how great they were instead of thinking about how they can really add value to the company. If you deliver extraordinary results, your talent will be recognised. Don’t worry about trying to prove your value any other way. Once you put down your guard (read ego), you can really listen and accept feedback of other people without being offended. This is the start of progress and getting to know the real you.
2: Write down your goals and priorities: Mastery is the fruit of the clarity tree
One of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to write down your goals and track your progress. This could be applicable to aspects like your finances, relationships or health (that six-pack will not come out of nowhere!). Clear goals trigger detailed action plan and when you combine this with a pre-determined timeline, magic can happen. It will give you the opportunity to periodically track your progress and see in what fields you need to step up your game.
3: Seek mentors: If you don’t fully see where you are going, ask someone who has been there before
Look for people that you look up to. People that inspire you and have achieved the things in life that you aim to achieve as well. Having the right mentors are crucial to your career and personal understanding & growth.
4: Meditate: The best decisions are made when it’s quiet
We live in a time of increasing distraction. A study done by the Nottingham Trent University has shown that the average person checks their device 85 times a day, spending a total of five hours browsing the web and using apps. Therefore it’s crucial to find time everyday just to be quiet. I prefer to take 30 minutes in the morning but you can plan it whenever it suits you. Whether it’s praying, meditating, watching the sunrise or even doing mundane tasks like washing the dishes, it will help you improve your awareness. Questions you can ask yourself:
What are my goals?
What progress have I made?
What do I need to do to improve myself?
We all need a level of self-awareness and the big winners in the game will be the ones that master it. Without self-awareness, one can never fully lead effectively. Building self-awareness is a continuous effort, which is never “done.” I truly hope the above 4 actions can help you find your true you and take 2017 to the next level.
To your success.