With our lives becoming busier each and every day, and with the ever-increasing expectations that we put upon ourselves and which others put upon us too, we can often fail to see that we are holding ourselves back.
We can forget how important we are both to ourselves and to others. We can misjudge situations, we can make ineffective decisions and negative assumptions, and we can fail to see that someone needs our support. From an internal perspective, we can also fail to see when we too need that support, among things.
Without having a level of self-awareness, without truly understanding what is working for us and what is not, we will fail to develop personally and will struggle to achieve the greatness that we have within ourselves to achieve.
Awareness is a key part of our development and without it, we will never truly know what is holding us back, nor uncover how we can move forward to becoming even better leaders.
Self-awareness can be broken down into two pots, internal and external. From an internal perspective this is how clear we are about how we feel about ourselves, our emotional reactions to things, the internal chatter within our minds, our visions, our passions, our dreams, and our aspirations, as well as the impact that we have on others.
Externally, this is how we believe others perceive us both personally and professionally; from our relationships, our stature, our wealth, our performance as a business leader, or as a parent to name a few.
Now, there are a few ways to improve our self-awareness some of which are outlined below:
Make more time for yourself
Carving out time on a regular basis to tune in to your emotions, to meditate, journal, or even just to listen to some music, to relax and reflect, can each help you to think about how you are feeling and where you are on your journey. To determine what is actually going off in your mind.
Understand your triggers
Your triggers can result in you acting upon decisions and reacting to situations in ways that do not support you, nor your teams. Your emotions have such an impact on the way that you behave and can make an impact without you even realising i.e. responding to challenging situations and difficult conversations reactively leaving others to feel unhappy or hurt.
Triggers may also include people, situations, places to name a few.
Understanding what triggers you to feel or act a certain way, both positively and negatively can enable you to determine how you can approach these triggers in the best way possible, or possibly even remove them.
Be more present in the moment
Being more present in the moment, in the here and now, like reading this article, allows you to not be distracted by other things and instead be fully focused and aware of what you are doing. It also encourages and nurtures an atmosphere of trust and respect. For example, when in a meeting with a team member and you spend the majority of the time answering emails or typing on a laptop. This gives off a feeling to the team member that you're not interested in what they have to say and do not respect their time or opinion.
Being more present both in your business and in your personal life can support you in forging better and more valuable relationships with your peers, team members, families, and friends.
Have an open-minded approach
Being open to new ways of thinking, innovative ideas, other people's opinions, and generally being receptive to looking at things from different perspectives, can enable you to release the need for control so that you're not confined by your own beliefs and values.
It also helps you to learn and develop your skills and knowledge, and to build trust amongst your teams.
Trust your gut instinct
Heart-led emotions and your mindset can heavily influence the way that you act, the decisions that you make, and the things that you say. This can work in your favour but on the flip-side, it can also create heartache, disappointment, and impact your relationships with others.
Your gut instinct, your intuition, on the other hand, is generally always right. Now, the three of them (your heart, mind, and intuition) work together every minute of every day, however, sometimes your mind can play tricks on you and your heart can be blindsided, both of which can negatively impact you and your decision-making process.
Your intuition, however, can't be influenced, but you must be courageous to trust in it as generally, what your intuition is telling you is something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone, leaving you to face your fears.
This alone can stop some people in their tracks but on the other side of fear is a whole world of opportunity, if only you are courageous enough to take the first step.
We all have our limits and yet sometimes we actually struggle to set clear boundaries which can mean that we are pushed further than what we are happy with.
Setting some clear boundaries (rules and guidelines essentially) for how you expect to be treated and what you are and aren't willing to do is super important to protect your well-being on a multitude of levels.
Once you have these boundaries set it is important to communicate these effectively to others, not just in business but in your personal life too. Doing this will give clarity to those around you and may also prompt others to think about doing the same in their lives too.
Self-discipline is a series of habits that you form to support you in making positive changes in your life. From what you eat, a regular sleep and exercise schedule, goals that you set to achieve your dreams and aspirations, to working on understanding your weaknesses, and more, these habits are important to your development.
If you know that by doing something and doing it consistently, you will make progress, you will grow, and you will develop, you need to do it regardless of whether or not you want to do it.
More often than not, the things that you see as big challenges are the things that will reap the biggest rewards, so by being disciplined and forging healthy habits, you will be on a path to becoming a more successful leader.
Self-discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. - Elbert Hubbard
Be open to receiving feedback
Constructive feedback is important for you to understand what you can do better and areas that you are excelling in.
Now, we all know that not all feedback is constructive, but if you can get into the habit of requesting feedback from others it enables you to maintain a pulse of how things are going and determine what steps you need to take to address any issues and to determine how you can tweak and change things to help you develop even further.
The benefits of becoming more self-aware
Working on becoming more self-aware can benefit you in many ways but overall it supports you in developing both personally and professionally and can help you to see what is holding you back so that you can get out of your own way and approach things differently to get different results.
Additional benefits may include:
- Having higher self-esteem
- The ability to act with more clarity, intent, and purpose
- Making informed decisions easier
- Gaining trust and credibility as a business leader
As a business leader, having a positive impact on others and being able to clearly understand your strengths and weaknesses is super important but for some admitting those weaknesses is a challenge as they are not actually aware of them.
The single biggest thing that you can do as a business leader is to work on your self-awareness. As we've mentioned throughout this post, this will not only support you but it will support your teams and your relationships with others overall.
Self-awareness = self-development. Self-development = growth. Growth = success