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Shivani Gopal

Shivani Gopal

October 12, 2019
| Mentoring

5 simple ways to increase your self-awareness

You’ve got an inbox full of emails and messages to reply to, a never-ending list of things-to-do running in your head, and you have to keep snapping yourself out of the social media ‘scroll through trance’ (another hour of your life you’re not going to get back).

Sometimes we can get caught up in our own bubble. We tend to focus on all the things that we have to do for the day and forget to take a breath. We forget to observe our surroundings and the impact that we’re having on ourselves and the people around us.

“Self-awareness is the most important skill to be successful in the 21st century at work. There has been research that shows that people who see themselves clearly are better performers. They’re more promotable. They’re better communicators, better influencers. They have stronger relationships.”

 

The ability to self-analyse and be self-aware can give you the power over your life back. It helps you affirm the very sense of who you are and gives you more energy to get the best out of your abilities.

“Self-awareness is the most important skill to be successful in the 21st century at work. There has been research that shows that people who see themselves clearly are better performers. They’re more promotable. They’re better communicators, better influencers. They have stronger relationships.”

— Tasha Eurich, Organisational Psychologist and Executive Coach

Here are our 5 ways to be more self-aware

1. Meditation

This is a foundational practice for improving self-awareness. Meditation has been used for centuries to master the mind and control anxiety and stress. You can easily practice meditation by focusing solely on your breathing. Take a deep breath and think to yourself “I’m aware that I’m breathing in,” breath out and think “I’m aware that I’m breathing out.” You’ll become aware of how your mind wanders, and you’ll get better at snapping out of distractions. Meditation has been shown to improve critical thinking, clear reasoning and reduce stress. Arianna Huffington, the late Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey swear by this practice.

2. Keep a journal

Whether it’s the night before or the morning of — journalling is the best way to plan how you want your day to go. It’s a great space to affirm your mission statement for your success and happiness in life.

It’s a place to organise your thoughts and ideas. It lets you take all the mental chatter out of your head and places it onto the page where you can audit it and just get it out of your system. A journal is a great problem solving tool because it lets you see what issues consistently come up, so that you can fix them and make better choices. It’s a tool that becomes a ritual for successful people like: Benjamin Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Ferriss, Marie Forleo and Marcus Aurelius; an emperor whose private journal we are privileged to indulge in, today.

3. Evaluate yourself through others’ eyes

This can be a difficult process, however, asking a trusted friend or family member to talk to you about what your weaknesses and strengths are is invaluable. It’s also scary and painful, so most people will avoid this step.

Evaluating yourself through others’ eyes is helpful because we tend to judge ourselves with a little voice in our heads that commentates on everything. Our feelings and emotions  then jump in and colour situations, which can make problems up out of nothing. So, getting the perspective of those you trust will give you a healthy dose of reality — you may be doing better than you think, but your brain is telling you that you suck! Don’t stand for that, get feedback.

4. Don’t lie to yourself, no matter how painful the truth may be

“According to our research with thousands of people from all around the world, 95% of people believe that they’re self-aware, but only about 10–15% really are” — Tasha Eurich

Be honest with yourself as much as possible. If you’re feeling insecure, angry, frustrated or depressed; don’t tell yourself that you aren’t feeling the stings of those emotions. Positive psychology doesn’t mean lying to yourself about how you actually feel. When you’re honest with yourself about your insecurities you can look at them and choose to let them go instead of burying them and letting them hitch a ride with you for the rest of the day, or worse, the rest of your life.

5. Balance internal and external self-awareness

“… Equally important is something called external self-awareness, which is having an appreciation and an understanding for how other people see us. And we found, again, pretty shockingly, that those two types of self-knowledge are not related.” — Tasha Eurich

We have to make sure that we are not locking ourselves away in our minds. We have to practice external self-awareness, too. This means that we have to consistently seek feedback from those around us to make sure that our external reality reflects our internal beliefs. Otherwise, we’ll be living in a fantasy. The skill of a self aware person is that they build up their internal clarity of who they are and what brings out the best in them, whilst also being open to signals from their environment and other people. 

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