Pinch, punch, first day of the month and here’s some Monday Motivation! This weekend the clocks went back, a true sign that Autumn and Winter are here. This weekend was also Halloween and I saw a lot of great costumes, so whilst some people’s Christmas spirits have taken a dip, it’s good to know some of it has been well redirected. One great costume I saw online was an Insulate Britain impersonation, which is as topical as ever with the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference now taking place with world leaders. This last week also marked Budget day in the UK, the announcements on inflation forecasts show that any low to median salary increases to middle income earners in the UK will be negligibly felt with the increased cost of living.
In today’s blog I’ll be going over self-awareness, so are we aware of it’s meaning?
Self-awareness involves being aware of different aspects of the self including traits, behaviours, and feelings. Essentially, it is a psychological state in which oneself becomes the focus of attention.
As I’ve researched self-awareness, I’ve identified two key types of it. There is Internal (interchangeable with private) and External (interchangeable with public) self-awareness. The distinctions are as follows:
Internal: This is focussed on what makes us tick, our values/passions/aspirations
- Have you discovered your passion? (Is it in sports, travelling, eating?)
External: This is focused on a person's ability to understand how others perceive them.
- How are you perceived in your family? Me, I’m the funny one
If you have an increased self-awareness of one of those types, that is not enough to compensate for a potential lack of it in the other. The aim should be to continuously work on both, as it can offer great benefits once high internal and external self-awareness are reached. Something I am actively working towards, which when I think about it, is a pivot from previous goals.
Self-awareness makes up a key aspect of emotional intelligence, which can be defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. Whilst I don’t think that definition fully explains it, it does begin to, emotional intelligence is essential for improving the quality of our relationships with people. Increasing our self-awareness allows us to also develop our emotional intelligence, a true win-win. There are plenty more benefits to developing self-awareness, from understanding our own shortcomings, we’re more likely inclined to address or take the steps to not be burdened by them. You can see this in the roster constructions that have gotten the most out of LeBron, for his shortcomings as a shooter earlier in his career, a team of good shooters were put around him to lean into his strengths in the paint.
As leaders or people striving to lead, having self-awareness will allow you to better understand how you’re operating as a lead to your team, and how you can perform better as that leader. Razzetti says, “When people are self-aware, they can put their tensions on the table, and no one gets hurt, because we’re trying to improve. So, we have this culture of continuous improvement, and we don’t take things personally.” Self-awareness allows there to be room for open conversations on addressing skills gaps, and not have that conversation come across as weakness, but rather an opportunity for growth. To begin to improve our self-awareness, you’d think we should pose ourselves with questions such as why? However, that generally leads to unproductive and ineffective thought patterns. It is therefore recommended to ask what instead, I have also included some prompt questions below, which includes a mix of what and how:
How do you notice when you're nearing burnout?
How do you ask for help or support when you need it?
What can you do today that you didn’t think you could do a year ago?
What's a goal you want to accomplish and why?
How can you step outside your comfort zone to grow?
I hope today’s blog has sparked your curiosity on developing or furthering your self-awareness, it really can go a long way personally and professionally (also internally and externally). If you’re interested in taking the Myers Briggs personality test, here’s the link and see what personality it produces for you, they’ve been pretty on the money with my friends and me. Research has shown that the most value the test produces is the opportunity to increase self-awareness, increase their awareness of others and their differences in how they operate. This opportunity comes from the reflection on and discussion of the MBTI experience. So, complete the test, assess, comment, and discuss with friends and see how they ‘externally’ assess the result. In wrapping up, I‘m acknowledging that I could benefit from acting on my self-awareness, for example, to stop leaving the writing of the blog to the day, especially when it prevents me from attending the gym that evening, let’s see how next week goes.
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