It seems no matter where you look, topics like mindfulness, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and self-leadership are everywhere. So what do they have in common?
Whether you are at home, at work, or at school, self-awareness is a critical skill to being effective and establishing and maintaining healthy relationships.
Take this short quiz to see where you rate when it comes to self-awareness.
SCORING: a= 0 points, b=3 points, c=5 points.
32-40: Wow! You have this self-awareness thing down!
24-32: Nice! A little fine tuning and you are all set.
15-23: Ok, so you have a little work to do, but you are on the right path.
0-14: You might want to buy a mirror and a tape recorder. : )
What is Self-Awareness?
Self-awareness helps us to connect with others, achieve our goals, and manage our health and wellness. So what exactly is it?
Self-awareness is your ability to look inward and recognize your thoughts, feelings, motives, and drivers.
Why is Self-Awareness Important?
When your self-awareness is high, you are able to turn inward and:
Navigate your emotions
Apply consequential thinking
Empathize with others
Engage and connect with others in a meaningful way
Predict your own and others’ responses
If you do not have high self-awareness, well, let’s just say, people notice!
If you find yourself saying any of these things, then you probably need more self-awareness.
1. Well, that wasn’t my intention!
Communication involves a sender and a receiver. If your receiver is often misinterpreting your message, try looking inward at what and how you are communicating. What is at the heart of your message? What is your motivation for the words you chose?
2. I was just trying to help.
Being self-aware enables you to flex your style based on the person and situation. Giving someone advice in the midst of a big failure is not usually the most helpful thing you can do at the time. Connecting with that person on an emotional level and considering what they may be feeling and experiencing in the moment, on the other hand can be helpful.
3. What is her problem?
Well, if you find yourself asking that question more often then not, then there is a good chance that the answer may be YOU! In a challenging situation, consider how you might be adding to the stress.
4. I don’t know why I said that!
We have all been there. In the heat of the moment, you snap and you say something hurtful and devaluing. You may regret it instantly, or several hours later, but it’s one of those times where you wish you can hit the REWIND button and go back. Unfortunately, you can’t. Turning inward and recognizing the triggers that result in a heat of the moment reaction, will help you to pause in the future and choose an intentional and more purposeful response.
5. I don’t know why you would react like that?
Being self-aware helps you to recognize your own triggers, which in turn, helps you to recognize potential triggers in others.
6. That’s not what I said!
Well maybe not, but that’s how it came across and was received. Your body language can reveal your emotions and thoughts, which largely determines how the message is interpreted. In fact, according to Albert Mehrabian, (researcher of body language,1950s) a message is received based on:
38% tone of voice
7. I had no idea that I do that!
We all have patterns that we don’t even realize exist. When you feel insecure, you jump into teacher mode. When you feel challenged, you get louder. When you are nervous, you talk more and listen less. What patterns do you have? How are they impacting you and others?
8. I was just joking!
You are in a situation. Something happens, and your mind is racing with all kinds of thoughts. Before you know it, those thoughts are coming out of your mouth. You are fine with it, after all it’s the truth. And then you realize that you have offended the person on the other side of the table. Low self-awareness may result in a quick “I was just joking!” or “Gosh you are so sensitive.”
Developing Your Self-Awareness
The first step in developing greater self-awareness is to recognize you need it! Enlist a friend, colleague, or family member that you trust, respect, and ask them to help you see your blindspots. What do they see in you and that you don’t. What do they notice about your communication style? How does that change when you are under pressure? What else do they notice?
Turning inward and developing your self awareness can be a very powerful thing. To learn more about self-awareness, consider taking a Brain Brief Profile and gain new insights that will impact your relationships, effectiveness, and well-being.
About Kelli Schulte
Kelli is a Chicago-based consultant and coach helping individuals and organizations grow in emotional intelligence. With a natural curiosity for how people think and feel, she enjoys helping others increase self-awareness, build greater connections, and experience a healthier sense of well-being, in order to take positive steps forward.
In addition to being a wife and a mom of two young adults, she is also a certified coach with the International Coach Federation (ICF), a Preferred Partner with Six Seconds, Certified EQ Assessor and Practitioner, an EQ Area Network Leader with Six Seconds, a Panelist with the Six Seconds EQ Community Forum, and a regular contributor with 30Seconds.com.
Her combined experience working as a consultant with Fortune 100 organizations, and working with students and adults in church ministry gives her a unique coaching platform.