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What Is Self-Awareness and Why It’s Essential to Success

November 28, 2022

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 With today’s challenges at work—hybrid work, job instability, and many other lingering effects of the pandemic—self-awareness is more essential than ever for business success. The more self-aware we are, the better we understand ourselves and how we interact with the world in both our professional and personal lives. Self-aware people are more productive, engaged, and successful than their less self-attuned colleagues. Read on to learn more.

What, exactly is self-awareness?
It’s been defined as our ability to understand our thoughts, feelings, motivations, values and reactions and consequently, to better manage those thoughts, feelings, motivations, values and reactions. The more self-aware we are, the better we are at controlling ourselves, improving our relationships, and making wiser decisions.

The two types of self-awareness:

  • Internal, or private self-awareness is how well we understand our ideals, abilities and emotions. We may believe we’re lucky or unlucky, smart or not so smart, outgoing or introverted, easily upset or calm in a crisis. Internal self-awareness allows us to determine to what extent these assessments are true.

  • Outward, or external self-awareness is understanding how we present ourselves to the world, how we appear to others, and how outside factors influence us. The better our external self-awareness, the less concerned we are likely to be about how we are perceived by others.

Self-aware individuals:

  • Make clear-headed decisions divorced from negative emotions like anger, fear, and distrust
  • Take setbacks and conflicts in stride; react calmly and professionally
  • Identify problematic issues in their thinking and strive to improve those issues
  • Enjoy greater self-esteem and confidence than those who are not self-aware
  • Have greater understanding of and empathy toward others
  • Reframe difficult situations to see them through a neutral or positive lens. (No one can control an angry boss, grumpy coworkers, or abrupt changes at work. We can control how we react to the boss, coworkers, and tough situations.)

How to develop self-awareness
Self-awareness is a skill that can be learned. It takes time to actively improve our self-awareness and separate our choices from our emotions, rather than having our emotions control us. Few of us are as self-aware as we think. Some ways to grow self-awareness: spend quiet time asking yourself why you believe you act as you do; ask trusted friends what they admire about you and what issues they feel you could work on; and try to put yourself in others’ shoes to become more attuned their needs.  

 

 


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