Self-awareness: [n] the conscious knowledge of one’s character and feelings.

Being self-aware is a vital step towards more effective self-leadership.  A necessary part of personal growth is knowing how to be more self-aware. Self-awareness filters into the spiritual, mental, emotional and physiological aspects of our lives.

Self-leadership comes down to knowing our intentions and values. Intuitively, we tend to think that we are in touch with ourselves, that we are aware of the purposes and values in the depths of our hearts. Often, though, this is not the case.

Learn To Be Self-Aware

There are areas of our character always being revealed and tested on the journey of life. Even when we think we know the intentions and values we embody. Having a renewed focus on our internal dialogue can help us manage our minds and emotions more constructively.  Positive self-talk is crucial to a greater self-awareness and maturity.

Studies have shown that anything to which you allocate meaning will have a direct effect on your feelings and behavior. Along the tough road of my cancer journey, I learned many things.  One of things I discovered was once I was presented with the diagnosis, that I was prone to some scary thoughts about myself and my life. To counteract this cycle of negative self-talk, I enlisted the help of an expert in the brain training field.  I knew that I needed somebody to help guide me away from the negativity I had cultivated. Someone who would teach me how to change my thoughts is exactly what I needed.   By changing my thoughts, I could successfully change my emotions and my behavior during a long and beneficial process of transformation.

Expert Wayne Dyer says, “When you change the way you look at something, the thing you look at changes.”  I followed his advice and changed the way I looked at my cancer diagnosis.  Being diagnosed with the same type of cancer as my mother, but at different periods in our lives required me to look at my situation differently. A pivot in my mindset changed the whole course of my journey.  Fueled by a positive attitude, motivation, and determination, that mindset shift made all the difference to how well I fought the pain and turmoil of the disease.

Another example took place a couple of weeks ago on my way to the bank.  Thinking I knew exactly where the bank was and where I needed to go, I drove right past it.  I didn’t bother to ask for directions or check the location.  As I drove down the street, I noticed a bank on the right. However, I drove right down the road towards where I thought the bank was in my head.  As I arrived, the bank had magically transformed into a department store and was nowhere in sight. Confused and irritated, I punched the details into the GPS. Naturally, it took me back to bank I had passed earlier.  Being focused on where I thought I needed to go caused me to drive past it.

Like in life, I had a preconceived idea of where the bank was and I missed the obvious, wasting precious time.  This is a testament to how our thoughts dictate our behavior in the long run.  Cleary, it is a struggle worth fighting to take control of our thoughts.

There are two questions I ask to change my perceptions:

  1. How can I look at this differently?
  2. What am I willing to do to change my circumstances?

By being deliberate about a new perspective (being self-aware), we open ourselves to new possibilities and solutions.  By observing someone else who has gone through similar situations, we begin to draw on resources for how to effectively deal with the situation (or to learn from what not to do).

Good leaders know how to be more self-aware.  Leaders understand the principle that our thoughts become emotions and emotions manifest in behaviors.