5 Ways To Become More Self-Aware by Anthony Tjan
I personally have a question to ask you. How well are you really paying attention to yourself? (Carenda Deonne)
You can’t be a good leader without self-awareness.
It lies at the root of strong character, giving us the ability to lead with a sense of purpose, authenticity, openness, and trust. It explains our successes and our failures. And by giving us a better understanding of who we are, self-awareness lets us better understand what we need most from other people, to complement our own deficiencies in leadership.
The question, then, is how can we cultivate and develop it further. There are many ways to do so. Below are five that I have found to work best:
Meditate. Yes, meditate. As most people know by now, meditation is the practice of improving your moment-by-moment awareness. Most forms of meditation begin with focusing on, and appreciating the simplicity of, inhaling and exhaling. But these don’t need to be formal or ritualistic — greater clarity can also come from regular moments of pause and reflection. Speaking personally, I try to gain greater awareness by simply finding a few seconds to focus on my breathing, often before sleep, and sometimes with one of the many apps available to help. During these meditations, I also ask myself a set of questions, among them:
What am I trying to achieve?
What am I doing that is working?
What am I doing that is slowing me down?
What can I do to change?
But the most frequent form of “meditation” I practice derives from carrying out seemingly mundane tasks that inspire a degree of therapeutic serenity, including washing dishes, working in my garden, and spending early Saturday mornings writing in Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts as I wait for my son to be dismissed from his drawing class.
Write down your key plans and priorities. One of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to write down what you want to do and track your progress. Warren Buffet, for one, is known for carefully articulating the reasons he’s making an investment at the time he makes it. His journal entries serve as a historical record that helps him assess whether or not future outcomes can be attributable to sound judgment or just plain luck.
Li Lu, a co-leader of the Tiananmen Square student demonstration and today a highly respected investor, told me once about a practice he followed for years, inspired by Benjamin Franklin. Franklin kept a “balance sheet” of both the assets and liabilities of his personal traits. By diarizing any new strength he believed he could learn from someone else, and marking down any self-perceived weaknesses, he could better assess whether the “net worth” of his character was growing over time.
Stay Tuned for Part Two Next Week……
Live Life On The Promise Of Impact! Carenda Deonne – Your #1 Change Agent