Self-awareness is more powerful than you think. It affects everything you do. It helps you set and achieve your goals, make the decisions that are right for you and, ultimately, live a life which is aligned with who you are and what really matters to you.
A strong self-awareness can help you get anywhere you want in your career; but you need to know how to use it to your advantage.
So here there is how:
1. You know what your natural talents are so you can leverage on them
High performance is achieved by developing our strengths (not by focusing on our weaknesses). Your strengths are those skills that come natural to you. They make you feel powerful. They make you shine. They grow you and tapping onto them will unleash your true potential.
If you leverage on your talents, skills, or assets you will create a career that is compatible with your inherent gifts.
Evidence shows that when you match people to environments or roles that are congruent with their skills, knowledge, and assets, they excel.
2. You know your weaknesses and keep them under your radar
It is equally important to have an awareness of all those elements in your personality that can be counterproductive and can derail your career. Some of these elements could be fundamental in order to get where you are aiming at and so their knowledge will allow you to opt for the right intervention.
3. You know what your values are and therefore can make value driven decisions
If you don’t know what your core values and motivators are, then you'll more likely make decisions based on information that might be totally irrelevant to you. That can be a recipe for regret down the road.
Your values define who you are and what is important to you and value driven decisions will put your choices in total alignment with what you believe its important, which means that you are more likely to live a fulfilled life rather than one that doesn’t make you happy.
For example, if you value freedom, but you have a 9 to 5 job in a company where flexible working arrangements do not exist, I can guarantee that you will be experiencing unrest every time Monday comes.
4. You can sharpen your intuition so to make better decisions
Intuition is that inner guidance that tells us what is right or wrong with a blink of an eye and without much reasoning.
Research shows that using intuition helps us make better decisions and gives us more confidence in them. This might surprise people who dismiss intuition as a “woo-woo” spiritual concept. In reality, it’s a powerful, scientifically backed skill. Learning to trust your gut can be a competitive advantage in both business and life as it will allow you to have more clarity, to solve problems more easily, have more self-belief and stronger self-confidence.
Steve Jobs nailed it when he said:
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”. I personally live my life by this principle.
5. You know what you need to change
If you keep doing what you have always done and in the same way, you will keep getting what you have always got. Fact.
So, if you are not where you want to be in your career, or if you are not getting the outcomes you are longing for, there are most likely changes that you need to be making.
If things don’t seem to be going the way you might have hoped, you know it’s up to you to change something. Whether it’s the direction you are heading or just the methodology you are using to get there, you need to make an assessment of what has been working and what hasn’t to then try something new. And, in order to make a fair assessment, a decent amount of self-awareness will be key.
To me, it is no wonder that self-awareness has been cited as the most important capability for leaders to develop, according to the authors of “How To Become a Better Leader” (published in the MIT Sloan Management Review), yet it seems to be lacking amongst the majority of us.
Will raising your self-awareness be at the top of your agenda for 2020? If personal development and higher performance are part of your plans, I hope it is!