Self-awareness is the ability to be aware of and understand our own emotions and the effect of our emotions on others.
Very few of us have been taught what it means to be self-aware in school. For those of us in leadership, learning and development, we quickly learn the importance of self-awareness and how we show up in the world.
As a business leader and facilitator of the “soft” skills of which self-awareness and personal mastery forms the foundation, I quickly, and sometimes painfully had to learn the importance of being aware of my presence and behaviour on others.
In the context of my role as leadership facilitator and business owner, what does self-awareness mean to me?
It means …
- Understanding and accepting my strength and weaknesses. The ability to be vulnerable, step away from my ego and be open to have new experiences and learn from anyone and everyone around me.
- Understanding my life story, and to be able to extract the value of adversity and success to gain deeper understanding and appreciation for what I am capable to achieve when I put my mind to it.
- Maintaining a fine balance between helping and supporting others and still maintaining strong boundaries. Boundaries relating to my time, space and energy.
- Being aware of the things that I find challenging and that stretches me to learn and grow. Not to avoid or put off what I do not like to do but to practice self-discipline to do recognise my fears and resistance and act anyway.
- When I am self-aware from moment to moment, I stay grounded, focused and in tune with myself, others and the environment around me.
- As a self-aware leader, I have learned to follow my intuition – that little voice that alerts and guides me. I have learned the hard way that ignoring my intuition is not a good idea.
- When I am self-aware in the moment, I understand my triggers, my emotions and my reactive responses. And the good news is … when I recognise all these things in the moment, I can choose my behaviour in the moment… and that, is truly mastering myself.
I recently again stumbled across the popular saying: “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”. Someone added something very special: “Teamwork Starts with Me Work”. Few things have resonated with me during the past weeks as that statement.
The moral of the story: As a leader – It All Starts with Me!