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Want to Lead? Start Getting to Knowing Yourself Better.

Being self-awareness is one of the hardest mastery of a leader's journey. It's a process that evokes curiosity, acceptance and choice.

Self-awareness is one of a core leadership capability that will carry you throughout your life. For starters, you start appreciating your strengths, style, personality, preferences and also be able to acknowledge your shortcomings. Being aware of yourself allows you to lead consciously and influence consequences.

Developing self-awareness is a lifelong journey. Personally, this journey started as a quest for my personal leadership development and it bore gifts much larger than I had expected. Self-awareness has given me more meaning and appreciation in my life. Interesting, although it's about the self, it has given me more clarity of my surroundings. Being self-aware has helped me trust in my inner voice, less hassled by the circumstances.

Ways I found useful to deepen my own self-awareness:

Quiet Time – Quiet time is about spending time with yourself – staying neutral, watching thoughts and feelings, observing of my physical state, prayer, emptying my mind and filling it with simple joys like walks at the park.

Tips: Sometimes, this practice is uncomfortable because my mindset is in a “go to get” mode. It's quite unconscious, so when I catch myself in this mindset, I calm down.

Reflection – Schedule regular time for Reflection. Start by reflecting on situations in your working life, your actions in response to them and the outcome of these events. Try to gain an understanding of what happened and think about how you can learn from each situation.

Tips: I find sharing the reflection solidify the learning – to share it with someone you trust or journal it.

Use Frameworks as like Johari Window or MBTI helps make sense of some of your thoughts and behaviours. These frameworks help me understand myself and others better. I take behaviour and situations less personally.

Tips: There framework aims to share a perspective and is not complete nor conclusive. It's important not to be too hung up on its labels. We are a lot more complex than any framework. So, use it with that in mind, as a guide to building perspective.

Feedback is one of those SUPER gifts many don’t always enjoy receiving. However, when it is done with good intention, honest and in a caring way – it's truly a gift. We cannot always know the extent of impact we have on others until they tell us. Their feedback helps us navigate and bring to the awareness of how our actions create a reaction.

Tips: SBI (Situation, Behaviour, Impact) is a good structured and neutral way to share feedback with others at work. Regardless of the feedback, just say “Thank you”. Yeah, its hard sometimes as we want to jump into justification. Try just saying “Thank you” and watch the person giving you feedback take a more positive position after you say that. Notice a deeper connection emerging?

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” ~ Aristotle

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