The power of self-awareness
Whether you’re looking to develop personally or professionally, we believe self-awareness should form the foundation of any growth work. Why? Because, put simply, if we don’t know ourselves, how can we know which goals to aim for and what will fulfil us?
“This is where self-awareness comes in.” Career and executive coach Charlie Warshawski tells us, “Understanding what’s important to us. Our drivers. Our values. And most importantly, ownership of our own thoughts!”
This may all sound simple, but when was the last time you really checked in with yourself and what you want? Charlie notes that in today’s world of endless choice and incessant advice, it’s easy to become distracted by other people’s goals.
“Those famous ‘shoulds’ come thick and fast towards us. If we know what’s important to us, that will help. If we know what our helpful and unhelpful tendencies are, that will also help. And finally, if we know what makes us happy, fulfilled and joyful, that will really help!”
Look at self-awareness as an anchor, keeping you grounded to yourself. Other people’s opinions and advice may come at you like waves in a storm, but with self-awareness as your anchor, you’ll stay where you need to be, rooted to your true desires.
So, how can we get to know ourselves better? Charlie stresses that we don’t have to study philosophy or psychology to do this but, instead, become more alert to our own needs, to our values and even to how those around us react to us.
A simple way to become more alert and aware is to practice self-awareness activities. Here are some to consider:
- Meditation or another mindfulness practice.
- Start a journaling practice.
- Go for walks in nature and let your mind roam.
- Talk things through with a friend or coach.
- Identify your core values.
- Listen actively during conversations.
- Learn more about your personality type.
Using self-awareness to supercharge your goals
When it comes to goals, Charlie says there are generally two pathways. “Either we aim towards something we have always wanted to achieve; or we aim towards something new, fresh, exciting. Either way, if we know ourselves, inside and out, we are far more likely to achieve the goal we set.”
When we know ourselves well, not only do we have a clearer picture of what we really want (not what we think we should want) but we can figure out how best to achieve the goal.
For example, if you’ve discovered through your self-awareness work that you’re more motivated to do something when you have accountability, you can factor this into your goal-setting process. You can make sure you’re gaining accountability every step of the way, perhaps by telling others about your goal, getting an accountability buddy or working with a coach.
Having this in place will make you far more likely to achieve your goals. You’ll also be more intrinsically motivated because the desire to achieve your goal is coming from within you. It will still take work and you may find you need to reconnect with your ‘why’ for doing something, but knowing deep down it’s what you want will help you on your way.
Charlie shares a simple way to start, “Ask yourself these two questions ‘what’s important to me?’ and ‘what do I want?’ and see what you come up with.”
To take this a step further, once you’ve clarified your goal and why you want to achieve it, ask yourself some follow-up questions:
Knowing what I know about myself, what measures can I put into place that will help me succeed? For example, getting external accountability, planning a reward for yourself or surrounding yourself with a support network.
Knowing what I know about myself, what obstacles might come up? For example, procrastination, self-doubt or boredom.
What will I do if these obstacles arise? For example, set yourself a deadline, remind yourself of past successes or incorporate milestones to celebrate along the way.
These questions help you utilise the knowledge you’ve gained during your self-awareness work to put you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. So now you know the power of self-awareness… what are you waiting for?
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