The importance of self-awareness

compass

My son’s football coach used to say to the team after a particularly bad game or bad practice, “If I could buy you guys for what you think you are worth and sell you for what you’re really worth, I’d be a multi-millionaire!” Pretty harsh, yes, but it speaks to our self-awareness.  Self-awareness can be defined as “having an objective understanding of your own strengths, weaknesses, abilities, opportunities, behaviors, and the impressions these in total make on others.”  In other words, self-awareness is seeing a true picture of how others see you.  We might tend to view ourselves more favorably than is the actual case which could lead to over-confidence.  Or, we may view ourselves less favorably than is the actual case which could lead to feelings of inadequacy.  Going too far in either direction is not good and impacts our relationships in life and performance on the job.

If you have ever conducted a 360-assessment you can relate to this. A 360-assessment is a questionnaire that you and several of your coworkers, teammates, etc. complete, usually anonymously.  The questions speak to how you perform, interact, how you behave in certain situations, etc.  In essence, you get true feedback on who you are and what you do from those that know you well.  The results can be eye-opening.  You can clearly see from this analysis gaps in your own views and those that you work with.  It helps you become aware of things you would never have realized without doing the assessment.  Then, you can use the results to modify how you behave and how you interact with others.  It is a great self-awareness tool.

We often tend to underrate our own abilities and capabilities, as well. We limit ourselves.  We shy away from some challenges because we lack confidence in our abilities.  I once was “down-sized” from a company.  During the interim period, I took advantage of the outplacement service the company provided.  One of the counselors there asked me how many resumes I was sending out each week.  I responded that I typically send 3-4 each week.  He said, “When you are looking for a job, you need to send out 20 resumes each week.”  I responded that there were not that many jobs available for my skill-set.  He stated, “That is exactly my point!  By forcing yourself to send 20 per week, it requires that you look at both yourself and job opportunities differently.  It forces you outside your own box and makes you consider what other skills and abilities you have.”  That was great advice!  It made me look at my abilities to manage projects, organize activities, etc. that eventually led to my next position.

Have you taken the opportunity to look objectively at yourself to see what other see? Do you have a mentor or friends or coworkers that can tell you objectively how you are perceived?  Who can help you identify gaps between what you think you do versus what you really do?  This is important and could potentially be the difference in your future.

Have a fantastic day!

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