We often hear about self-awareness, but do we know the meaning of this term? And why is self-awareness so important?
Self-awareness is the ability to investigate as an individual by keeping separate from the surrounding environment and other individuals, to learn about our motivations, preferences, and aspects of personality, and to understand how they affect us. Self-awareness makes us better because if we are aware of ourselves we could easily understand our natural inclinations and use them to improve traits where we have gaps.
Self-awareness characterizes emotional intelligence, but what is emotional intelligence? We define emotional intelligence as the ability to understand and recognize emotions in ourselves and in others and how they manage to use this awareness to manage our way of acting and our relationships.
Usually, when we think of sensations or emotions we represent them symbolically from the heart, but it is scientifically proven that the heart has the important biological function of pumping oxygen, blood, and other important functions for our body but it certainly has nothing to do with the physiology of emotions.
So where are emotions formed and what are they? Emotions come from the central nervous system, that is, from the set of organs and structures that transmit signals to different parts of the body to coordinate physical and psychological functions.
Emotions are psychophysical responses through which the body reacts to what happens around it. If you want to be a leader you need to be aware of the emotions that characterize your team members. The most important goal that characterizes leadership skills and that of building healthy relationships with one’s colleagues.
According to a 2013 analysis performed by the Korn Ferry Institute, a global business strategy consulting organization, it was found that self-awareness appears to be correlated with results on a company’s overall financial performance. In fact, it was found that companies with the highest percentage of self-aware employees consistently outperformed those with a lower percentage.
Dr. Tasha Eurichis coach and organizational psychologist, along with her team of researchers, conducted a scientific study based on 10 separate self-awareness investigations. The goal of the study was to examine what self-awareness was, why leaders needed it, and how leaders could increase it.
It turns out there were two forms of awareness: L-internal self-awareness and l- External self-awareness
Self-awareness refers to the following subjects of interest:
- Fit with your environment;
- Impact on others.
Internal self-awareness is about what we can see clearly and objectively in the subjects listed above. “We’ve found that internal self-awareness is associated with higher job and relationship satisfaction, personal and social control, and happiness; it is negatively related to anxiety, stress, and depression.”, she said.
External self-awareness, on the other hand, concerns how others view us concerning them. ‘For leaders who see themselves as their employees do, their employees tend to have a better relationship with them, feel more satisfied with them, and see them as more effective in general.’ said Eurich
The researchers thought that a leader who had a high internal self-awareness would also be high in external self-awareness. The results turned out to be wrong: there is practically no relationship between them.
But how can we use this valuable research and apply it to us and our daily life? Today I want to give you some tips on how to improve your awareness with some techniques:
Researchers thought that a leader who had high internal self-awareness would also have high external self-awareness. The results turned out to be wrong – there is practically no relationship between them.
But how can we use this precious research and apply it to us and to our daily life?
Today I want to give you some advice given by this psychologist’s research on how to improve our awareness with some techniques that are easily applicable to our daily life:
Meditate. Meditation helps us to know ourselves and to carve out moments, it is the practice to improve our awareness moment by moment. Most forms of meditation begin with concentrating and appreciating the simplicity of inspiration and aspiration. Regular moments of pause and reflection can also be helpful. Speaking personally, I try to gain more awareness by simply taking a few seconds to focus on my breathing, often before going to bed and sometimes with one of the many apps available on the Internet to help me.
Write down your plans and your main priorities.
One of the best ways to increase self-awareness is to write down what you want to do, the steps, and how to track your progress.
Ask for feedback from trusted people.
None of us are fully aware of what others think of us but we must try to rely on our friends’ feedback by asking your friends and colleagues directly for honest, forthright, and objective feedback so that they feel reassured the give you an informal, but a direct and honest view.
Receive regular feedback on your work. In addition to asking friends and family informally and periodically, it may be more helpful to use more formal feedback such as in the workplace. Provided they are done well, constructive and formalized feedback allows us to better see our strengths and weaknesses
Introspection doesn’t always improve self-awareness
The problem with introspection is that we are often not doing it correctly! Introspection is the process of examining the causes of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and leads to self-awareness only if done correctly.
The search for the reasons behind a particular reaction or behavior must be an activity conducted with objectivity. Often the combination of previous life events and low self-esteem or self-esteem can affect our final vision and cause us to make the wrong conclusions.
Dr. Eurich recommends replacing the question ‘Why’ with the question ‘What’. His research found that highly self-aware people wondered ‘why’ less than 150 times, but wondered ‘what’ more than 1000 times.
So instead of asking us why eg. someone has given us negative feedback, we should ask ourselves what steps I need to take in the future to do a better job
In the end, we all want self-awareness. Without it, we could never have any real improvement in our lives. It is only with self-awareness that we can become consistent between what we say, think, and feel. Building self-awareness is a life-long effort. You are never ‘finished’. But these five pragmatic practices will help us move faster and faster down the road.