Know Thyself — How to Boost Your Self-awareness And Your Potential
In order to live a successful life and meet your full potential you will need to develop the ability to be self-aware. But what does self-awareness mean? How to boost our self-awareness and uncover our hidden potential?
The ability to be self-aware is one of the most essential yet difficult to achieve skills we humans can achieve. But it is possible!
If you are self aware, you are far more likely to pursue the right opportunities, use your strengths, and keep your emotions from holding you back. It improves your ability to direct your life. The good news is that self-awareness is a skill that anyone can learn to improve with the right exercises and habits.
Higher self awareness equates to higher levels of success. But this goes beyond our professional lives — it also applies to our personal lives.
As you dive into the rabbit hole of research online, you’ll find that self-awareness affects everything you do. It affects your leadership, your relationships, how you treat others, how you communicate, what you expect of people, how you respond to situations, and so much more.
With a high level of self-awareness, you can play on your strengths, be mindful of your weaknesses, and optimize your life around who you are.
If you develop a high level of self-awareness, you will better know how to act in the world. You will know what you’re good at, so that you can choose to do the things that will make you the most happy. You will know what kind of relationship you want, and how to better manage it. You will know what kind of job to pursue, and in what field you will thrive.
Self awareness is a critical skill that everyone should seek to improve upon. And it can be learned. Your turn!
Not everyone knows how to become self-aware or even what it entails, however, I am going to give you some useful ways that you can boost your self-awareness and uncover your very potential. To ensure that as a leader, you are as self-aware as you think you are, here are some things to put into practice.
Practice #1: Ask for Feedback
It’s vital to feel we know ourselves from the inside, but external feedback helps too. Ask your family and close friends about what they think about you. Have them describe you and see what rings true with you and what surprises you.
When you can be open with your closed friends, and they can do the same, you can really get some great advice and points from them that can help you to develop your self-awareness.
If you can ask your friends or family to honestly give you their critical and objective perspective on you and your feelings/behaviors, you can get a great insight from the people closest to you. If you ask a question about how they perceive you, you may want to add that they can be as open and direct as they need to be and it won’t upset you. You can then take in what they say to you and use it to improve and strengthen your self-awareness.
The key is to find someone that will give you their brutally honest opinion.
Ask about your strengths and weaknesses, and really everything you are wondering about. You have to let them know that you are okay with whatever answer they give you, and encourage them to do precisely that. Never be afraid to hear the truth because without it, you would have a difficult time improving yourself or flexing your strengths.
The same way, as a leader, regular 360-feedback keeps us from seeing ourselves only through our own eyes.
It becomes increasingly important, as you move up in leadership, to get feedback not just from those above but from the people you lead, so that your view doesn’t get clouded by only what we perceive to be true. As a leader, self-awareness is crucial for motivating your people, communicating your strategy, and building the relationships that fuel your business.
This might not be easy, most especially if you are close-minded and defensive to people who give critiques to you.
Remember that without correction, your weaknesses would limit how far you could take yourself. Asking feedback can be as hurtful as it can be empowering. Although no one enjoys it, we should try to view criticism as useful feedback to improve ourselves. It will help you learn more about the traits that you need to develop, personally and professionally.
Self-awareness involves getting to know ourselves from the inside-out and the outside-in.
Putting the perspectives of inside-out and outside-in together will help us see the entire picture of who we are, including how our emotions and reactions affect those around us. It is through the courage to seek the view that others see of us, that we can reach a level of self-awareness that will serve us well as we strive to become effective leaders.
Practice #2: Identify Your Emotional Kryptonite
We all have buttons that produce predictable reactions. When the right ones are pushed, we can scream, throw tantrums, or burn with anger. Knowing who, or what, pushes your buttons and how it happens is critical to developing the ability to take control of the situation.
If you know where your buttons are and what triggers them, this understanding of yourself opens the door so you can manage your response.
You’re no longer the victim of an uncontrollable situation. You will have the improved emotional intelligence that allows you the ability to control the outcome. Emotions often show up uninvited and unexpected but they serve an important purpose — they’re clues you need to pay attention to in order to fully understand yourself.
Understanding your personal emotional triggers for unwelcome feelings or stress is an important aspect of self awareness.
By knowing how external factors affect you, you are better prepared to deal with situations that may come your way. If you have never given much thought to why you may be feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed identifying your triggers may help you greatly. But this aspect of self awareness can be tricky. Just as it is important to acknowledge your feelings it is also important to understand why you feel the way you do.
Learning to tolerate the discomfort of our emotional kryptonite can unlock a wealth of insight about ourselves and our world if we’re willing to listen.
We all have certain emotions that we especially dislike. And more often than not, that means we try very hard to avoid feeling that emotion. The problem is, being so afraid of an emotion that we’re willing to do just about anything to avoid it can lead to some pretty negative consequences in the long-term. But most importantly, by avoiding the emotion, we’re avoiding listening to what the emotion has to say to us.
When we don’t practice self-awareness our emotional triggers tend to trip us up time again for the same reason. The key is to go back into your memory bank and examine the source of the trigger.
More often than not, the reason for the trigger is many years old and probably out of date with the person you have become today. When you understand the trigger, it is up to you to change the language of that trigger and turn it into a positive affirmation. When you do this and truly believe your new perspective of who you are, the next time you are triggered by the same thing that stimulates a negative response in you, step back and put into play your new language before responding. By becoming conscious of the way our emotions are affected by our thoughts and felt in our body is the beginning of self-awareness and you can start to practice this straight away.
It may seem challenging for a person when he/she identifies various emotional triggers by knowing and understanding the self-improvement.
There is a key to cope with the emotional triggers by catching the reactions of a person. You only need to shift your emotional state if you are thinking to react emotionally. Though it may take time to truly identify your emotional triggers use these tips below to help you get started; Consider similarities between the times when you are feeling an emotion. Identify people or influencers in your life who make you feel less than or life you up and acknowledge when a topic makes you uncomfortable.
Practice #3: Question Your Opinions
If you are looking for the most simple and immediate way to improve self-awareness, then reflection is your go to action item. There is no way in which to improve self-awareness without thinking about yourself. Taking time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings is one of the most effective ways to increase your self-awareness.
I’m talking about learning how to observe and recognize your own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
The goal is to get so good at it, that you can more or less control them. If you learn how to control your thoughts, it will affect your emotions and behaviors. This way, you will be able to navigate yourself through life. It might not be that easy to get a grip on this when you’re starting out. Because most of us are running on autopilot, questioning our being might feel strange. When you get better at it, you can start to notice which thoughts that are helpful, and which thoughts that are not. Then, once you’ve identified the though, you can choose if you want to keep it, or let it go.
How often do you make time to deliberately and carefully consider your highest values and aspirations?
If you’re like most of us, the busyness of daily life tends to sweep you up—day after day, week after week — in a constant stream of activity without much time for reflection, especially reflection on your personal values. A special form of self-awareness involves becoming aware of and clear about the things that really matter to us: What are we called to do? What makes for a fulfilling life that we can be truly proud of? These are big questions. And while they sound intimidating, that’s probably because we just don’t spend much quality time actually considering them.
Self-discovery is a never-ending process, but it’s a vital one. Through it we can learn about ourselves, find our purpose, and bring more joy into our lives.
We each tend to have different perspectives on a variety of topics, but as we develop these perspectives, we develop our self-concept, get comfortable with ourselves, and have a preference for our own opinions. However, limited perspectives lead to limited thinking, so by being open to the views of others, we can expand our perspectives to be more universally inclusive. New ideas are refreshing and stimulating, opening our thinking in new and possibly promising directions, perhaps helping us to self-actualize. Open-mindedness is definitely a plus in being successful at dealing with life’s challenges and diverse situations.
One of the most difficult things to practice is to keep an open mind.
Understanding someone’s point of view even if you disagree can change and free your mind. Change the way you think and don’t get stuck in a mindset that makes you frustrated or helpless. This is one of the best tools in order to simplify life. Try to comprehend every situation on your path and it will help you improve your self-awareness and develop your own potential.
People who possess self-awareness tend to be open-minded because they are able to examine, reflect upon, and even critique themselves.
You definitely must possess openness for self-awareness. Sometimes new information requires rethinking the things you thought you knew. It requires reevaluating your memories and past experiences in light of what you’ve learned. In order to do this, you have to be able to set aside your judgments, take a serious look at the existing evidence, and admit that you were wrong. That process can be difficult, confusing, and sometimes painful or life-changing. It takes a lot of mental effort, but you can train your brain to be more open-minded.
Practice #4: Take Mindfulness Seriously
You’ve probably heard of mindfulness meditation. It’s the simple practice of keeping your attention focused on your breath or some other physics sensation. Then, if you notice your mind wandering to other thoughts, gently returning your attention to your point of focus.
Specifically, mindfulness meditation is one of the best ways to learn more about how your thoughts work.
When you practice watching and observing our thoughts without attaching to them or thinking about them, you begin to realize a powerful idea: You are not your thoughts. All too often we lack self-awareness because we’re actually thinking too much. We easily become lost in our thoughts, assuming they’re true or worth engaging with simply because our minds decided to throw them at us.
Mindfulness refers to being present in the moment and paying attention to yourself and your surroundings rather than getting lost in thought or ruminating or daydreaming.
Meditation is the practice of focusing your attention on one thing, such as your breath, a mantra, or a feeling, and letting your thoughts drift by instead of holding on to them. Both practices can help you become more aware of your internal state and your reactions to things. They can also help you identify your thoughts and feelings and keep from getting so caught up in them that you lose your hold on your “self.”
Mindfulness meditation, done for even 10 minutes a day, has been shown to increase focus.
This training of the brain enables people to be better listeners by allowing them to eliminate the distractions going on around them. Instead, they are able to more easily concentrate on the matters at hand. Through meditating, you can develop a clearer understanding of yourself and your emotions, making it easier to develop your self-awareness.
For the improvement of your moment-by-moment awareness, it is important for each and every person to practice meditation regularly.
This practice can begin with the appreciation, focus, inhaling and exhaling. However, this is not a formal practice instead you only need to focus on breathing for few seconds before you are going for sleep. Meditation is also helpful for some situations where you wanted to ask yourself some questions like “What can I do to change? or what exactly I am trying to achieve?”
It’s easy to be so future-focused that you lose track of the present, but by creating space in our lives, we essentially carve out dedicated times to practice mindfulness.
During these times, it’s important to listen to your inner voice, tune into what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling it, and to acknowledge and understand yourself better. In today’s fast-paced environment, the time may never come on its own. We have to make time for it. Find some space in your life and use it to practice mindfulness each day.
Practice #5: Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses
Self-awareness is the key to personal growth. Without accurate information regarding our own strengths and weaknesses, we can really fool ourselves. We can mess up projects, relationships and even life plans. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is the best way to really know yourself.
Knowing your strengths and coping with your weaknesses, will help you improve self-awareness.
Each of us has strengths and weaknesses that compose of who we are and this will help you shape how to reach your goals. Your weaknesses hold you back from achieving many great things while your strengths are something that comes very easily for you to take. You should take ownership of assessing yourself because it is for your own personal development.
An individual can improve their self-awareness, when he/she knows about their strengths and have the capability to cope up with their weakness.
Every person has their strengths and weakness which they can shape accordingly and reach towards their goals. A person is restricted to achieve great things in life, if they will hot their weakness and apply in different actions of their routine. For the personal development, it is important to take the self-assessment ownership.
It’s very important to identify your strengths and weaknesses if you want to learn how to develop self awareness.
These are the characters that make you, so you need to identify them and shape them accordingly. Your weaknesses will hold you back from achieving many goals but your strengths will help you get a foothold in that area. Self acceptance defines awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses and allows one to accept their capabilities and feeling of satisfaction with own self despite of being aware of disabilities, deficiencies.
An important step in our self-awareness journey is to learn what we’re good at.
It can be easy to dismiss certain things we do as ‘normal’ or something that everyone can do, but if we take a step back, we may realize that, in fact, we have a natural talent for these things. We all have our own unique character strengths which make us who we are, and in order to create an exponential life, we need to emphasize these strengths and spend less time on our weaknesses.
Conversely, it’s equally important to know your weaknesses as much as knowing your strengths.
Your weaknesses hold you back from achieving many great things. Self-aware people also know their weaknesses: their habits and blind spots, when they should pause before saying or doing something, things they should not try to do, when to surround themselves with complementary perspectives and approaches, and where to focus personal improvement efforts.
Practice #6: Keep a Diary
The benefit of journaling is that it allows you to identify, clarify, and accept your thoughts and feelings. It helps you discover what you want, what you value, and what works for you. It can also help you find out what you don’t want, what is not important to you, and what doesn’t work for you.
What better way to create some space for yourself and practice mindfulness than to develop a daily journaling habit?
Journaling can help you clarify your thoughts and feelings, get to know yourself better, reduce overall stress, solve problems more effectively, and even resolve disagreements with others. If you can, do this at least once a day, either in the morning or in the evening. If you want to take your self-awareness to an even higher level, try journaling your observations every hour throughout the day.
If you can keep a journal or log of some sort, this can really help you when trying to understand your attitudes and actions.
There are many ways that you can keep a journal, but perhaps the easiest would be to write in each day your thoughts, feelings, and actions in a way that you can understand. You can then look back at your journal on important dates, such as a new year or your birthday. You can reflect on what you have written and work on improving anything that needs to be changed.
Immortalize those moments you have walked though, learned, and continued past.
Regardless of the events of your life, your journal will be that sacred place where you can go back to, to remember the life you have lived, what you have learned, and how your journey has evolved. Your words will bear witness to your journey, described in your own ideal. Immortalizing them on paper will allow you to not only share them with all your future generations, but to have a detailed account of your life.
By journaling, you can really detox from your day.
Much like taking a walk, you are removing your mind from the burden of information it has contained all day long. As you pen your thoughts, the weight on your mind lessens. Your typos do not matter. The exercise is about getting your thoughts all out onto the blank page. Even though some people find writing about their struggles to be distressing in the short term, nearly all see longer-term improvements in their mood and well-being.
Journaling is a powerful tool for self-healing.
When you get regular at making a journal you will get a sense of authorship and make a deeper connection with your brain. You are mirroring and reviewing your experience in writing, putting words to your experience which makes it more ‘graspable’. This is why journaling is so grounding. And this way you will gradually start reflecting on what you have written in a journal.
Practice #7: Draw The Timeline of Your Life
Our narrative identity integrates our reconstructed past with our imagined future to provide us with purpose and direction in life. When we understand our life’s story, we begin to find redemptive meanings to the suffering and adversity we’ve faced in life in the past. When we confront life’s challenges, those redemptive meanings help to develop our self awareness.
All of us have a “narrative identity” — the story of our life, but it is more than just the story itself.
It is how we understand and interpret this that determines our actions as well as our plans and goals for the future. In order to improve our self-awareness, we have to understand our narrative, which involves moving out of our comfort zone and acknowledging and confronting the troughs as well as the peaks we have faced both in our personal lives and at work. One way to do this is through self-reflection and writing/journaling (see above).
Drawing a timeline creates a graphic picture of your life that will help you to identify the ups and downs, and also any patterns or recurring themes that you may not have been aware of.
It can be very difficult to look back over our life or our experiences; for some people, this may bring to mind some issues or memories that they would rather not confront. However, by drawing such a timeline, you can then move from plotting what happened, when, to thinking about what you’ve learned from these different roles and experiences, and how you’ve developed as a person over time. This is part of the self-awareness process.
Sometimes, we get so much busy with our everyday life and our routine that we don’t know if we are going in the right direction or not.
What “right direction” am I talking about? I’m talking about the life that makes you happy, the one that truly fulfills you! By drawing your life timeline, you will have a better perspective on everything that happened to you, on where you are now and in what direction you want to go! And you will reinforce your values and stick to them no matter what.
Moreover, being self aware about the day to day decisions we make help us to ensure that we are acting for ourselves.
By doing this we protect ourselves from self sabotaging behavior and thoughts. It is important that we take time to think about the desires we have and the decisions we make. Next time you are considering doing something like watching TV instead of completing a project, evaluate if it is truly serving your needs. It might be, and that’s OK too. Try to actively participate in your own choices and not auto-pilot through day to day life.
Everyone has a story, or stories, because humans are story tellers by nature.
Your story is powerful because your sense of self-worth lives in your storyline. Your thoughts and beliefs are powerful energies that can, and do, shape your emotional responses to past events in your life, and thus have fashioned your story. Based on your conclusions about your self and others around you, the interpretations of your past that you continue to hold in mind, wittingly or unwittingly, operate as perception filters that continue to powerfully impact your life today.
Unfortunately, the term self-awareness can come across as a bit magical and esoteric, complicated psychological jargon for a mysterious process deep within human nature. But it’s not.
Self-awareness is simply the capacity to observe our selves — to take notice of and pay attention to patterns within our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
And it’s a skill that we all have. Some of us may have more or less of it to start, but there are plenty of straightforward exercises anyone can take advantage of to improve their own self-awareness no matter where it stands right now.
Self-awareness is not a destination but a journey.
The practices above will help you travel faster and further along the way, allowing you to be more confident and more creative, make sounder decisions, build stronger relationships and communicate more effectively. Embarking on a journey towards self-awareness will also make you more effective leaders with more satisfied employees and more profitable companies.
Self awareness allows us to act in a way that serves and honors our unique needs.
By being self-aware we are able to not only live our most successful life, but also share our gifts with others. Self awareness helps to prevent burnout, stress and anxiety. By taking the time to get to know yourself, you are setting yourself up for success.
Being self-aware and understanding how you are perceived by others are important components of personal growth and developing your potential.
Try one or all of these tips, but most importantly, always be honest with yourself. Understand that it takes practice, and a lot of time, to improve your self-awareness, at least to a very high level. Feel free to share your own self-awareness journey with our fellow geeknackers below!