Self-Awareness is Key to Your Success

Do you know who you really are?  You go through life receiving messages, both conscious and unconscious, about the kind of person you ought to be.  When you were young, your parents may have projected their hopes and dreams for you with the best of intentions by guiding you in a particular direction while protecting you from the path they don’t want you to take, or the path they thought may be harmful to you.  During your school years peer pressure may have influenced your choices and the decisions you made – most students after all wanted to be part of the “in crowd” and acted in manner they felt would help them fit into a particular group of people or community they wanted to be a part of, or a community that accepted them as one of their own.  In college or university, your independence may have started to assert itself more as choices and behaviours became more personal, but there was still a strong element of acting and behaving in a certain way to fit in with the social group you chose to be a part of, or naturally integrated into.  And after years of unconscious conditioning through the messages received from external sources such as the media, you probably have come to have a fairly good idea of who you are and what you’re all about.

But is this really you?  Or is this the person you think you should be?  What is your basis for coming to this conclusion?  Do you know who you really are?  These are fundamental questions every person will ask themselves at a certain point in their lives.  Asking yourself the question “Who am I?” is the starting point of any leadership journey.  Sometimes, it’s not a questions that can be easily answered and requires some genuine and truthful reflection on your part.  Being honest with yourself about who you really are will liberate you and give you a renewed sense of identity, a renewed sense of being, and a renewed sense of purpose that will lead you along the road to personal achievement and success.  Knowing yourself is the first step in this journey because you have to know where you’re starting from in order to figure out where you’re going and how to get there.

 

Get to Know Yourself

What are your core values?  What are your key motivations?  What are your strengths and weaknesses?  What are you passionate about? What is truly important to you?  What are your hopes and dreams?  What are your limitations?  What are your fears?  Where do these come from?  Who or what are the key influences in your life?  Who are the people that matter most in your life?  Why do these people matter so much to you?  How do you see yourself?  How do other people see you?  How do the answers to all these questions compare or contrast with how you live your life daily? Are you living authentically and being true to yourself? As you can see, truly knowing who you are requires a lot of self-reflection and only you can answer those question truthfully.

Knowing yourself is easier said than done.  We all like to think that we know who we are and that we know ourselves best, but actually part of the difficulty we face on a daily basis is that we, as human beings, see things the way we want to see them.  And let’s face it, nobody wants to see themselves as less than perfect.  We all want to see ourselves as accomplished in some way with promising futures.  We all want to see ourselves as successful, happy and loved.  We all want to see ourselves as belonging to various communities.  It’s just human nature.  But sometimes, how we see ourselves is not how others see us.  You can gain great insight into who you really are by learning how other people perceive you.  How others see you may not be an accurate indication of who you are, but knowing how others see you may give you valuable insights into how you portray yourself externally to the world around you.  There is no right answer of course…you are who you are, and you are how you are.  But getting a variety of perspectives may help you see yourself in ways you did not think of before and these insights could open the door to numerous possibilities that could lead you to great places.  The knowledge of how you are perceived can help you formulate your Genuine Identity Profile® by allowing you to take your insights of who you really are and compare or contrast them with how others see you so that you are aware of what personal development is needed.  Then you can reflect on your findings and be honest with yourself about the things you like and don’t like about your genuine identity.  It’s not rocket science, but it is a difficult thing for many people to do as it forces you to confront your preconceived beliefs of your self-identity.

Creating your Genuine Identity Profile® can be a helpful exercise to gain self-awareness. There are five key components to developing your genuine identity profile but the requirement for each of those components remains constant: you have to be totally honest with yourself right from the start.  To learn how to develop your own Genuine Identity Profile please read my next post or take a look at the Tools and Resources section at www.coachingleaderstosuccess.