As we age and mature and our lives become more complicated, we suppress our natural awareness in order to cope. Consequently we miss a great deal. We live outside the present moment much more than we did as a child. By suspending judgement and simply paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment, we’re in touch with “what is.” Otherwise, the hours, days, months, and years go by unnoticed and unappreciated.
In the book Personal Brilliance I write about awareness as one of the four catalysts of Personal Brilliance. Self-awareness is the hardest part. Self-awareness includes being conscious of your physical processes as well as your mental processes and emotions.
If you’re willing to be totally present without denial, the result is a more vivid awareness.
Innovative individuals value their inner signals and therefore tend to be more autonomous.
To become more self-aware, start noticing your thoughts and where they are and how they affect your emotions and actions.
When your thoughts are not in the present, you miss your life’s magnificence and opportunities as well as subtle signals of trouble. Don’t get caught up in your thoughts, including opinions about yourself. They are not “reality.” They are perceptions. Believe it or not, innovators live in reality.
Self-awareness is not narcissism. That’s not helpful. Instead, you need to be aware of yourself as an additional contributor to the process of growth, treating yourself just as you would treat others brought together to reach a goal or solve a problem.
Here are some questions to explore to tune in your self-awareness:
- Identify examples of how self-awareness has assisted you in your development.
- What are the common misconceptions others have about you? Are they truly misconceptions? Why do they persist?
- Have you ever had a “why didn’t anyone ever tell me?” moment? What did it apply to?
- Think about a relationship that is challenging for you, either in your personal or professional life. Are you aware of how you might worsen or exacerbate the problems in that relationship (e.g. through miscommunication or misconceptions)?
- What do you think you can do to enhance your level of self-awareness?