If you were to ask most people what they thought self awareness is about you would most likely be greeted with a quizzical look. Yet much has been written on this subject and many thought leaders would argue that it is at the heart of interpersonal and leadership effectiveness. So what exactly is it?
Genos, known for their expertise in the area of Emotional Intelligence, offer the simple definition that “it’s the skill of perceiving and understanding one’s own emotions”. In simple terms, this means there is a level of (self) consciousness that allows you to be “in tune” with your own moods, feelings, emotions and actions.
Self awareness is something that ultimately lies within; you have considerable control. Unfortunately many of us go through life saying or doing things and behaving in certain ways without realizing the consequence in terms of relationships, careers and ultimately one’s ability to achieve success. We tend to operate on auto pilot and we quite simply don’t “look before we leap”.
So what can be done about this? There are two techniques through which one becomes more self aware. One is to do more self reflection which can be as simple as taking some “quiet or thinking” time, practicing meditation and/or consistently (self) reviewing how things are going. The other is to solicit feedback from others. In a work environment this might be formally through a review or a 360 process. But it could also just be as simple as asking somebody for feedback in terms of how you are doing or have conducted yourself.
The key to remember is that it all starts with you! Others form perceptions based on how you show up in terms of your moods, feelings, emotions and actions. The only way to change those perceptions (if you so choose) is to change you. Self awareness, though not the end all, is certainly where it all starts.