Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, biscuits, and coffee cake are just a few of my family’s favorite breakfast choices. I like to be creative in the kitchen, so I’ve prepared these goodies with wheat, spelt, and even made them gluten free! I’ve swapped out the pumpkin for applesauce in the muffins. When making the biscuits, I’ve used regular milk, buttermilk, almond milk, sour cream, and yogurt. For the nuts in the coffee cake, I’ve alternated between walnuts and pecans. And depending on who would be indulging, I used either butter or Earth Balance.
I am the queen of substitutions when it comes to cooking and baking. The one ingredient I don’t mess with: the baking powder! Skipping that ingredient leads to very dense, flat, unappealing baked goods! I know – I’ve had few fails! In some situations, you can replace the backing power with baking soda as long as you also use an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or buttermilk, which can alter the flavor. Beware: using the same amount of baking soda won’t end well! It’s four times more powerful!
Self-Awareness is the baking powder for successful leaders – the key ingredient. If you aren’t able to tune into yourself, you won’t be able to tune into others. How well you’re able to relate to yourself will determine how well you will relate to others. It plays a significant role when leading a Fortune 500 company or if you are leading yourself as an entrepreneur or solopreneur.
Self-Awareness – What is it?
Miriam Webster describes self-awareness as an awareness of one’s own personality or individuality. Dictionary.com describes it as “Conscious knowledge or one’s own character, motives, and desires. And Debbie Ford defines self-awareness this way: The ability to take an honest look at your life without attachment to it being right or wrong.
Awareness is about paying attention and noticing the good, the bad, & the ugly about yourself. It’s about understanding that you have preconceived notions that affect how you experience life and interpret information. Noticing your feelings, both physically and emotionally, as well as your reactions, habits, thoughts, desires, personality, strengths & weaknesses is all a part of self-awareness.
Are You Lacking Self-Awareness?
A few signs you may be lacking self-awareness:
- Being in denial – focusing on the story you tell yourself about yourself rather than the reality of you.
- Making excuses
- Being defensive
What Prevents You From Being Self -Aware?
There’s no disputing that being a leader is a demanding. If you let them, your responsibilities will keep you frantically running around putting out fires rather than intentionally leading the way. Operating out of that reactive place is like being on autopilot. When you combine a frantic pace, autopilot, and the human tendency to see things the way we want to see them, it’s tough to be self-aware.
If you want to be a successful leader, however, it begins with YOU knowing YOU. YOU being able to lead and manage YOU! Until you are able to manage yourself, your ability to effectively lead and productively engage with other people will be limited. That’s a powerful incentive to develop self-awareness.
So How Do You Develop Self-Awareness?
You develop self-awareness by…
1. Recognizing the Importance of Self-Awareness
If you don’t value self-awareness and grasp what a critical aspect of leadership it is, you won’t be motivated to diligently pursue it.
2. Slowing Down!
If you are perpetually running around, there isn’t much space to take stock of how you are feeling, what strengths and/or weaknesses you might have, or how your personality is impacting your behavior just for starters. In order to be in touch with yourself, you have to intentionally set aside time to notice. If you’re perpetually busy, taking time out to gain self-awareness will seem like a luxury when in reality it’s a necessity.
3. Being Intentional
It’s not enough to see the importance of self-awareness and slow down; you have to intentionally take steps to increase your self-awareness. You can do that by making the effort to set aside time to reflect and tune into yourself. Journaling is a wonderful way to do that. Cultivating self-awareness is also about listening – really listening to yourself and to others.
Some Areas to Expand Your Self-Awareness
When you are intentionally expanding your self-awareness, here are a few areas to explore:
- Appraise your habits – what are you doing well and what needs some attention? Downloading my free e-book on 12 Habits that will Transform Your Leadership is a great place to start! It’s right there on the top right!
- Identify your Strengths – a free assessment comes with every copy of the book Now, Discover Your Strengths.
- Get to know your personality – A DISC assessment is an easy way to get to know yourself better. It’s included when you purchase my Amplify coaching Package. The results include a host of useful information including the great things about your personality as well as areas you need to watch out for.
- Understand Your Thinking Preferences – Take an HBDI assessment to learn more about how your thinking impacts your leadership. You can contact me here to let me know you are ready!
- Explore your feelings – You can do that by journaling; simply asking yourself “How am I feeling today?” Or take my 30 Day Feelings Challenge – you can request a copy here. You may even want to track the topics that trigger strong reactions to help you unravel what’s at the root.
- Ask for feedback – That may sound bold or scary, but getting an outside perspective on YOU can be quite enlightening! That’s what makes a 360 so helpful.
- Identify your Fear Monster, who God created you to be & your greatest desires – Being aware of the role these play in your life makes a huge difference. When you are unaware, they play out in negative ways personally and professionally. In fact, there is often a connection to these three in the areas you struggle most.
- Work with a coach! – It’s a great way to see yourself in a fresh light that enables you to also make changes; changes that really matter! And because you’re scheduling time with me – there’s that extra incentive to fit it in. You’d be surprised how one hour every week, or every other week, actually saves you time and hassles. The most successful leaders enlist the help of a coach! I dare you to try it out!
Has your leadership fallen a bit flat because it’s missing the vital ingredient: self-awareness? What’s your next step when it comes to expanding your self -awareness?