Don’t Be That Guy…with a lack of self-awareness
He doesn’t see it. I know he doesn’t see it. He can’t see it. He’s not physically blind he is relationally blind. Every time this man walks into a room everybody cringes. Many begin to make excuses for an early departure. Conversations end when he approaches. Colleagues routinely avoid him. He blames everyone else for his failed relationships, of which, there are many. Am I overstating it a bit? Not really. No.
By most accounts, this man would be considered a success. He has a job with position and power. He makes a great deal of money. He takes amazing vacations. And, he always seems to have a beautiful woman on his arm. From the outside, the man seems to have it all. Yet, it’s all surface with no depth. His greatest deficit is his lack of self-awareness. This is what keeps him from transitioning to real success; the kind of success that can’t be defined by income.
Self-Awareness: conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
At some level, everyone is limited by a lack of self-awareness. We often sabotage our relationships, business endeavors, leadership, etc . . . And often we are unaware of just what went wrong. We are sometimes unable to acknowledge, or even see, our role and responsibility in what went wrong. We lack self-awareness. It’s a growth point for almost every human being, not just the extreme case represented above.
The good news is that we can develop a greater sense of self-awareness. We can get to know ourselves better. We can become more conscious of our own character, feelings, motives, and desires. We can learn to see our role in our results; successes and failures. We are human beings and we can grow. If we decide to do the work…
Here are five ways we can grow in our self-awareness:
1. Take an assessment.
You can take an assessment like the DiSC profile, the Birkman, the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator. There are dozens of tools that can help you develop self-awareness. They are not the ’silver bullet’ that will solve all issues, but they help a great deal.
2. Get Therapy.
In the extreme case mentioned above, I would recommend professional therapy, counseling, etc… The stigma that used to go with seeing a professional psychologist, psychiatrist, or professional counselor is largely gone, thankfully. This might be your best investment in yourself and your future.
3. Learn to Listen.
Seriously. I believe that simply taking the time to learn to listen is one of the surest ways to develop as a leader and as a human being. Set aside your need to one-up the other person, eliminate the mind-chatter, try not to form a response before the other person finishes. Just listen to understand. You might find you understand yourself better as well.
4. Pay attention to your job performance review.
Ask yourself what you have been casually dismissing from your job review. You might find that your boss, supervisor, or board knows you better than you think they do. They have probably been trying to address this with you in subtle (or not so subtle) ways for a while.
5. Hire a coach.
A coach is trained to listen deeply, ask powerful questions, and support you through your goals. A coach will complement the above steps well. Working with a coach might be the best first step in developing your self-awareness.
In the story, at the beginning of the article, you probably thought of someone you know or used to know. Maybe you thought a little bit about yourself and those moments you’ve behaved with a lack of self-awareness. My question for you is, ‘what are you going to do about it?’
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Your friend and coach,