“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change”
– SHERYL SANDBERG
Truly said, self-awareness is the first step towards any transformation journey. Self-awareness is the ability to see ourselves clearly, understand truly who we are and how others perceive us.
Research says that people who are self-aware are better communicators, have stronger relationships, and thus lead a more fulfilled and successful life. Increased self-awareness makes one feel more confident, make better use of their strengths, and make better decisions. There are always two kinds of people though – the ones who think they are self-aware and the ones who actually are. The fact is we are all self-aware but to varying degrees. The question, then, is how can we cultivate and develop it further.
Here are 6 simple ways to improve your self-awareness:
- Slow Down and Practice Mindfulness
Learn to slow down and be present in the moment. We have glorified multitasking and being busy so much that we forget to be mindful of things we are into, people we are spending time with. When you slow down and consciously focus on the present you become aware of yourself, your surroundings, your thoughts, your actions, and their impact on others.
- Create a Self-Reflection Routine
Create routines where you set time aside in your daily / weekly schedule for some self-reflection. Meditation, Journaling, Morning pages, Weekly reset are some of the routines that you may follow to ensure you are focusing on spending time with yourself. Experiment with the above techniques and create a routine that best works for you.
- Monitor Your Self-talk
Be mindful of what you speak, You are always listening! Your subconscious mind is listening and believing everything you say. And it does not differentiate between right and wrong. It will believe what you keep saying to it. Hence, be mindful of what you are saying to yourself. When you observe a lot of negative self-talk or self-sabotaging thoughts, reframe it with positive and empowering messaging.
For example, replace “What if I fail” with “I have the courage to give this a try” or “I will never be good at this” with “How I can improve on this”
- Embrace Intuition
Intuition literally means learning from within. Trust that gut feeling. It is your inner voice and the more you embrace it, the stronger and sharper it will get. Avoid going against your intuition or getting talked into things that don’t feel right to you. Remove the external noise and clutter. Deep inside you are aware of what you really want, so trust yourself and let no one else make choices for you.
- Seek and appreciate regular feedback
Self-awareness is not only limited to how you see yourself but also how others perceive you. Actively seeking and being open-minded to feedback increases your awareness of how others see you. It is also your responsibility to create that psychologically safe space for others to be comfortable to share honest and genuine feedback with you. If you always come across as the defensive one, trying to justify every feedback coming your way, people will eventually refrain from sharing their views. Appreciate the feedback coming your way, evaluate it, and identify things you might want to improve on.
- Take personality or psychometric tests
Lastly, you can also use various personality tests or psychometric tools available to understand yourself better. Some of the popular tools are listed below.
Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely used introspective tool that determines your personality and aids in improving self-awareness and relationship with others. Myers and Briggs created the 16 personality types to help people discover their strengths and gain a better understanding of how people are different.
Johari window is one of the most effective tools for developing self-awareness and it helps you understand your relationship with yourself and others. In the graph plotted below, the bigger is the left section plotted the more self-aware you are.
SWOT Analysis is another great method of developing self-awareness. It helps you to identify your Strengths and Weaknesses and analysing Opportunities and Threats.
Summing it up…
Self-awareness is a continuous journey and developing it does not happen overnight. We need to make an effort to observe ourselves and reflect on our thoughts, beliefs, emotions and actions. It’s a skill that needs to be developed. So, pick up any or all these techniques to know yourself better and begin the transformation journey of being the best version of yourself.