Self-awareness is the second critical attitude, because it’s the foundation upon which you’ll develop everything else. So, let’s make one thing very clear up front. You do not want a rocky and unstable foundation.
What is self-awareness?
Self-awareness is a clear understanding of who you are, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, emotions, motivations, and beliefs. Paramount to all else, it helps you better understand yourself, opening the door to understand how others perceive you.
Why is self-awareness important?
Self-awareness is a cornerstone of successful relationships, both in your personal and professional lives. With a firm understanding of who you are and what makes you tick, you’ll be capable of adjusting your behavior to work with others more positively.
How you show up in relationships is a good indicator of how you show up in all the facets of your world. However, don’t be quick to forget: the relationship you have with yourself is paramount. This isn’t just about how you relate with others. Selfawareness is your firm understanding of who you are, so that your relating with others becomes a positive by-product.
Self-awareness is a lifelong journey.
Remember, this is your foundation. Self-awareness isn’t something you get overnight, nor is it something you forget about.
Your path to self-awareness is a journey. You must be committed to the long-term game. This is true whether you’re a student, recent graduate, veteran employee, or a “regular Joe”.
Understand that your perception of who you are will change throughout the course of your life. Not only must you always evaluate your journey, you must be willing to accept that you’ve changed during your time. Your self-awareness is one continuous ‘internal audit’. You’ll always have blind spots, which highlights the importance of reflection to ensure you’re staying congruent with yourself and others.
How do you develop self-awareness?
1) Personality tests – These tests, more technically known as Psychometric Tests, are useful in providing people an objective view of themselves. Have you ever had a dream, in which you feel you’re outside your body and looking down at yourself? It’s kind of like that. But it’s done through the answering of questions and added commentary based on your answers. Word of warning: only use these as an objective guide. Don’t place yourself in a box based on your personality assessment. That’s the opposite of self-awareness.
2) Experiential learning – We’re prone to self-discovery when we’re placed in unfamiliar circumstances. Experiential learning can be really powerful. Unfamiliar circumstances push us outside our comfort zone, often teaching us things we never knew about ourselves. You can do this by experimenting with new hobbies, going on vacations, or attending conferences.
3) Ask others – Start by having conversations with people close to you. Ask them for real feedback. You want to grow and improve, right? Then just do it. When you meet new people, ask them for feedback on how they initially perceived you and how they perceive you now. It’s easy to ask these questions. Most people just don’t. Don’t be one of those people.
4) Keep a journal – Journaling is a great outlet. You can write about whatever you’d like. The point is to unload your thoughts and experiences into a journal. Spilling everything into a journal is an awesome opportunity to see what you’re doing and how you’re feeling on a daily basis. Then after a couple weeks, go back and read what you’ve wrote.
Quick thoughts on self-awareness in your job search:
It’s no secret that employers want to know your strengths and weaknesses as an employee. How convenient is it that you’ve been expanding your self-awareness and can now share and expand on why you’d be an awesome fit at their company?
Self-awareness allows you to communicate your abilities and strengths. Not a very good communicator? Now you know where you need to practice. Learn to articulate your thoughts fluently, coherently, and genuinely to employers in order to demonstrate how you have played to your talents and how your skills can benefit that employer.
Truly knowing your own talents and strengths will help you make more informed decisions and wiser choices about the jobs and careers that suit you best. Now, how about that journal? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started:
1) What do I do really well?
2) What am I naturally good at?
3) Which of these can I become an expert at with some more practice?