What is self Awareness?
Self awareness is the conscious knowledge and understanding of your own character, feelings, motivates and desires. It’s knowing, why you do what you do and don’t do what you don’t do. Its knowing what you like and don’t like and what you’re good at and not so good at.
Why is Self Awareness important?
It’s important to develop self awareness so that you can align the world around you to serve your natural tendencies, rather than trying to be something you’re not. Let me explain what I mean.
If you’re doing a job you hate, there’s something wrong with your outer world and your inner world alignment. This can be a real problem,
I remember when I worked in middle management in my 20’s and 30’s, I enjoyed being a manager, directing the work force, organising the processes and production etc, but I also thought that there was something missing, something that felt out of sync. I realised over time that the silly games of politics that go on in big business was not for me. I wanted to get on with the job and do the best I could for the business, while other managers seemed more content with point scoring, apportioning blame when things went wrong. They prioritised activities that were self serving over what was right for the business, and this included managers that I reported to.
The sense of something being missing began to drive me mad, and I came to hate having to go to work. I would get a sinking feeling on the Sunday, thinking about having to go to work the Monday. I would be wishing for the weekend to come, counting down the days. I can tell you it wasn’t a feeling I would want to experience again.
I wanted to be “the leader”. I wanted to be the driver of the business. I enjoyed the business of business, creating the strategy, the marketing, the culture rather than carrying out the orders of someone else and being a pawn in someone else’s game. It was what I wanted to do, I couldn’t hide from that fact.
I left and started my own business, and although the business is much smaller than the one I’d worked in previously, I enjoy operating at a higher level within the business. I’m the boss, of marketing, strategy, and execution. I feel I am where I belong. I get to be in the business of business now. I feel in alignment, emotionally and mentally.
Now that I am my own boss, I have still got to make choices about what I should do and what I should get others to do. I’m lucky that I’m a bit of a geek so I like to figure stuff out. I enjoy doing the finances, I enjoy doing the marketing etc. I don’t enjoy doing the routine photo editing stuff ( I run a photography business to give you some context), so I don’t do it, I employ someone else to do it for me. I don’t like to do the administration side of things, so I hire someone else to do it for me. So I do the things I want to do and get others to do the rest.
I’m lucky that I can get to do this, not everyone has the finances to be able to do so, at least initially, but in time, this is what you should be aiming for. Instead of taking all the money out of your business, live a little more conservatively and pay someone to do the other stuff you don’t like to do.
Now something to remember here is, make sure you hire people that are good at doing the other stuff and that enjoy doing the other stuff. If you get a situation where they love what they do, then you’re going to be in a win win situation for both of you.
How improve Self Awareness
You improve self awareness by self examination. Give yourself some time to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, sit in a quiet place and exam your life, your routines, your likes and dislikes. Look at the things you spend your time doing and the things you try to avoid and ask yourself why. keep asking why to dig deeper.
By being self aware you get to figure out what you like and don’t like. You can punt the stuff you don’t like to someone else, who does like to do that particular thing.
You will discover you actually do the things you like to do, or at the very least, you find yourself wanting to do them, you’re also likely to be good at these things and they come naturally for you. If they don’t come naturally, you will, at least be happy to put in the time to practice and perfect them.
On the flip side you will find you don’t do activities you don’t like to do, or you try to avoid doing them. These are also likely to be activities you’re not very good at.
Now if you’re not doing something that needs to be done to make progress towards you goal, you can’t just ignore it. You either have to make the effort and do it or delegate it, if it can be delegated and you have someone to delegate it to. Otherwise you will be stuck where you are. Self awareness will at least shine a light on this situation.
Now the next bit can be a little more difficult, it’s knowing what you’re good at and not so good at, or even bad at. It can be difficult to face up to your shortcomings and weaknesses. You have to be bluntly honest with yourself.
Sometimes you should ask the opinion of others who are considered experts in a particular activity and see how you measure up from an experts point of view. You need to consider criticism as valuable feedback, which will allow you to progress. For instance if you’re doing your own graphic design for adverts and they suck, this could be adversely affecting the effectiveness of those adverts.
By getting some honest and unbiased feedback, you might decide to delegate the work it to a graphic designer rather than doing it yourself, and hopefully that will improve your adverts conversion rate. One caveat here, make sure the feedback is from someone who isn’t going to profit directly from saying you’re crap at something, otherwise they might be telling you because it’s good for them (they get that business), rather than good for you.
So there you have it, self awareness is a key component of getting results and should be a priority in both your business life and personal life. Don’t try to change who you are to fit the world around you, but shape the world around you to fit who you are.
For more about motivational influences, check out our Motivation guide.
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Self Awareness Quotes
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
“If you’re your authentic self, you have no competition.”
“Self-awareness gives you the capacity to learn from your mistakes as well as your successes. It enables you to keep growing.” – Lawrence Bossidy
“I am” two of the most powerful words. What you put after them defines your reality.”
“One way to measure self-awareness is by looking at your ability to tell your life story in a coherent way.”
“What other people say about you is their reality, not yours.”
“The most important journey is the journey within.”
“Happiness is a feeling of well-being derived from knowing ourselves.”
“Be yourself. There is something that you can do better than any other. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that.”
“Get lost and find yourself.”
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” – Nathaniel Branden
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it late.”
“Awareness allows us to get outside our mind and observe it in action.”
“We can’t change reality: we can only change our experience of it, by changing our self…”
“knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
“Accept no one’s definition of your life. Define yourself.”
“We have self-centered minds which get us into plenty of trouble. If we do not come to understand the error in the way we think, our self-awareness, which is our greatest blessing, is also our downfall.”
“Self-awareness is the ability to take an honest look at your life without any attachment to it being right or wrong, good or bad.” – Debbie Ford
“Self-awareness is not self-centeredness, and spirituality is not narcissism. ‘Know thyself’ is not a narcissistic pursuit.” – Marianne Williamson
“Self-awareness is knowing why you do what you do and don’t do what you don’t do. It’s knowing what you like and don’t like, and why. It’s about having the enough self esteem to be able to look in the mirror and admit your shortcomings as well as celebrate your strengths.” – get results
“Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness.”
“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed”
“Bravery, honesty, honour, loyalty, self discipline, hospitality, industriousness, self reliance, perseverance. Nothing else is needed.”