Let’s start with a minute to check up on yourself
I want to ask you to look at yourself from a higher perspective. Watch yourself through the eyes of an eagle bird, flying way above you, but keeping an eye on you. Just watch yourself moving, but don’t judge, at least not immediately (for many of us that’s an exercise on its own).
Imagine being the eagle bird, close your eyes (not now but in a bit) and see yourself walking through your average week. Start on Monday morning. Do you see yourself waking up and feeling alive and kicking or hardly getting out of bed? Do you see yourself as the pilot of your life, or are you controlled by the conditions of others? Do you see yourself thriving at what you do, or just hanging in there waiting for things to change? Do you see a passionate person enjoying the ride, or someone settling for being mediocre, not knowing what he or she truly wants?
Now, close your eyes, be the eagle bird and take your minute of self-reflection (or as much time as you need).
Do you even like yourself?
Well, I hope so and congratulations if you do! In case you’re super happy, keep going and enjoy the read. For the those who don’t like what they see, don’t worry either, you’re not alone. But, do pay attention, this article may be your stepping stone to new levels of growth, meaning and joy in your life.
Unconscious suffering due to the lack of self-awareness
For some reason self-awareness is something that is rarely talked about in our fast-paced world and one of the main reasons why many of us struggle to realize sustainable growth. The fact is, most people are ‘satisfied’ living an unremarkable life. Being ‘okay’ with struggling through a 9-5 job and spending the weekends drinking and consuming other fleeting forms of pleasure. Better known as ‘borrowed happiness’, the kind of happiness being chased by people who believe it’s something externally, something you can buy or something that gets unlocked by achievement.
The lack of self-awareness is becoming a big thing among our and following generations. Many people, and I mean MANY people, are suffering from it, without even knowing. We believe the next promotion, a bigger house or 4-week break away to a bounty island will solve our feelings of unfulfillment and anxiety. It’s shame, but not on you.
We’re raised and taught to be the same, to fit in, and to be part of an ego-driven society. Something I -as a strong empath- find hard and sad to witness. The good news is, you’re only twenty or thirty-something, you have the privilege and all the available resources to take full responsibility for your life. You only need to wake up, or better said, acknowledge that you’re not as happy as you want to be. It’s really a matter of choice, one that will benefit your life in many ways. Although, it takes some courage!
It’s about you learning how to be responsible for you
It would be an understatement to say that self-awareness changed my life for good and it’s amazing to see how my clients propel their lives only after their first 3 weeks in the coaching program; becoming clear on what they value and want in life, making tucked-away decisions based on their values (rather those of society), becoming leading & trusted team-players and improving their relationships with family and friends. Pretty amazing stuff!
To come to the point, self-awareness is fundamental for sustainable growth, in life, business, and sports. In essence, it’s about you learning how to be responsible for you. It’s you being constantly aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviour. It’s about truly understanding who you are and how you act alone and/or around others. It’s about knowing when and how to make (value-based) decisions. It’s about developing who you really are versus who you are expected to be. It’s about consciously choosing to discover and grow versus unconsciously choosing to stay stuck at where you’re today.
Being self-aware, allows you to manage your reactions and actions and not be at the mercy of repeating nasty patterns that get in the way of your growth and well-being. On top of that, it’s the cornerstone of authentic leadership, which is all about knowing yourself and the ability to move yourself and others towards your goals.
Sounds like something you want to work on, right?
Here are 3 simple ways to develop your self-awareness:
Dump your ego and dare to acknowledge (most important!)
Large changes your ego (the ongoing chatter in your mind) is blocking your growth and well-being, it’s telling you that you’re not responsible, it’s -most likely- your boss, your job, your girlfriend or your environment. But never you.
It keeps chatting all day (& night), telling you that you’re only accepted if you think and behave like they do (whoever they may be). That you’re worth nothing without your job-title. That you need to have it all figured out before your thirties. Especially in these days, where you’re identity is associated with what you do and possess. It has become ‘the standard’ to be number one, to own a company, to be in charge, and so on. Seriously, it’s a (sick-minded) trap and a lot of people are going to lose it this way.
So, let’s get this clear, f*ck your ego. Honestly, it’s really something you should separate yourself from, your ego (the mind chatter) is not who you’re. It’s for people who’re either unconscious or don’t have the courage to embrace their true self and express what they aspire in life. They just follow the crowd. Don’t be like that. Don’t even compare. Instead, be you, be vulnerable, be different, and unique.
You’re (personal) growth starts with accepting everything that you’re, allowing you to understand and embrace your shortcomings, to use them as feedback for growth, and to create an environment that works for you. Remind yourself often: there’s more in life than getting everything done, don’t settle for anything less than who you truly are and what you need in life. Well-being is the key to sustainable growth!
Take responsibility and do your (self) work
The fact that they don’t teach us ‘emotional intelligence’ in school, doesn’t have to be the reason to neglect your growth and well-being. It starts with you taking responsibility for your life. So, challenge yourself to understand who you are and what you need.
Reflect on your life, by being the eagle bird and get an eye on what’s driving your (un)happiness. Do a personality assessment, to better understand the way you operate, as well as, your strengths & weaknesses and discover how to be a better friend, manager or team player. Find out what you value in life, ranging from you work and personal growth to your relationships and social life. Talk to people who’ve walked the path already and/or work with a coach who can help you unfold your full potential and accelerate your growth.
Spend time in reflection
It’s pretty obvious, those who win the long-term game of life, spend time in reflection to better understand ‘thyself’. No, not by doing a 10-day silent retreat (although that can be good, too), but by spending a few minutes each day to practice the habit of self-awareness & management.
There’re various ways to do so. However I, personally, recommend integrating the following practices into your daily life; setting affirmation, doing meditation and keeping a journal. Practices you can’t fail at, only benefit from.
They empower you to keep a positive mindset, as well as, to slow down and tune in. To learn to stay focused on what matters to you, to observe your thought and emotions without judgment, to distance yourself from the daily noise, to understand what’s going inside of you and to become aware of your triggers. It’s an ongoing process, layer after layer, unfolding into new levels of growth, meaning and joy among various areas of your life. It’s interconnected!
Wherever you’re in life, whatever position you possess, whether it’s for your own purpose, or for a team member, friend or brother/sister, I hope this article triggered you to become (more) aware of the importance of a soft skill like ‘self-awareness’, how it can lead to better decision making, increased performance, authentic leadership and more meaning and joy in life. Anyway, thank you for reading!
Did you like this? Feel free to contact me or schedule a free intro call to find out how I can help you to overcome your challenges and reach for new levels of growth and well-being.
As an independent coach and writer, I manage my own marketing, my own press, and all of my own content. I would highly appreciate if you could help me share my content, by liking my (blog)posts or even sharing it with your network. Godspeed!
© 2018 – Jord Cuiper