What is self-awareness?
Knowing who you are and how other people see you.
Although most people consider themselves ‘self-aware,’ the statistics reveal the surprising truth. According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, only 1 – 15% of the population are truly self-aware.
Why is it important?
When we see ourselves more clearly, we are more creative and confident. It helps us to build better relationships and improve our communication.
And this is an attainable skill you can develop with some guidance and attention…
What Does ‘Self-Aware’ Mean?
The internal awareness relates to your own attitudes, values, and beliefs. The external awareness relates to how people perceive you. A rich internal awareness results in greater job satisfaction, higher levels of happiness and low stress. A deeper external awareness results in better relationships and higher empathy towards others.
The two types of awareness are not correlated. A higher internal awareness does not necessarily result in a higher level of external awareness.
How To Build Your Self-Awarness
A simple technique to build your awareness is to ask yourself questions beginning with ‘what,’ rather than ‘why?’
When we feel discomfort in a situation, we tend to focus on the ‘why.’ Asking ourselves why a situation makes us uncomfortable rarely gets to the bottom of the problem. Our conscious mind races to find plausible answers and comes up with a list of reasons. These answers tend to be superficial but keep us occupied for the moment.
Psychologists noted in a study that students who focused on ‘why’ questions wasted a lot of time and energy rationalizing and then denying their choices in a test. In the same test, students who focused on ‘what’ questions were open and willing to learn from new information. The researchers concluded that, “Thinking about why one is the way one is may be no better than not thinking about one’s self at all.”
Test this theory using a recent mistake or failure you have encountered. Ask yourself ‘why’ you failed. Observe the thoughts and answers your mind produces. Next, ask yourself, ‘what’ caused the failure and observe the list of reasons that pop up in your mind. You will notice that the latter set of answers are more focused on solutions and how things can be better the next time you are in a similar situation.
Asking ‘what’ questions takes the conversation further and focuses on our blind spots.
What is it about a particular person or situation that bothers you? When you dig deeper with ‘what’ questions, you enlarge the surface of your conscious awareness. You will unearth the deeper insecurities that are driving your reactive behavior.
When you shift from asking yourself ‘what’ questions instead of ‘why’ questions, you start to see yourself more clearly. And this self-knowledge leads to greater self-awareness.
Sheevaun Moran is a business advisor, master coach, quantum energy thought leader and the founder of Energetic Solutions. She uses business principles with energetic techniques to help more than 25,000 entrepreneurs, CEOs and leaders bring instant focus and shifts to clarity, purpose, and profits.
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