Self-awareness is a skill that can get you far in life. It could even be the difference between landing the job of your dreams, versus just coasting through your career.
In recent years, the need for self-awareness has become ever more important, as those hiring for roles take an ever increasingly closer look at this key attribute.
The important question is – can self-awareness be cultivated? The good news is, that it is indeed a skill that can be developed, growing naturally as you work on it.
What is self-awareness?
The Cambridge dictionary defines self-awareness as being able to accurately judge yourself, whilst having a strong knowledge of all that you are. It combines elements of emotional intelligence, meaning you’re often hyperaware of how you impact others, so those with a high level of awareness make excellent leaders.
Self-awareness involves having insight into both your internal world (how you see yourself), along with your external world (how others see you). Your internal self can be defined as your inner wants, the things that motivate you and your natural inclinations towards certain aspects of your being. Your outer self is the way in which others see you, how you come across in your relationships and your natural tendency to react in certain ways.
Why is self-awareness so important?
Being self-aware is a crucial life skill to have, as it can impact your chances of doing well in work, decision making, how you react to the curveballs that life throws at you and the success of your relationships, amongst other things.
Being fully aware of yourself allows you to uncover any blind spots so that you can work on these key areas. It allows you to face your weaknesses head-on, so that you can grow as a person.
Being totally aware of your inner and outer worlds helps to make you a more well-rounded person, which helps to support you as you achieve your life goals. Thankfully there are a number of steps you can take to cultivate a stronger sense of awareness in yourself.
Read on to learn about our top 4 tips.
How to improve your self-awareness
Request regular feedback at work
Start the process of getting a deeper understanding of yourself by requesting regular feedback from your manager. This is a great place to get constructive feedback on a key area of your life; with the average person spending 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime, it is safe to say it’s one of the most crucial areas to cultivate a sense of awareness.
Not only will you become better in your role, but you’ll also pick up considerations for improvement in yourself as a whole. If frequent appraisals aren’t the done thing in your work, see if you can arrange ad-hoc feedback sessions. Most managers will be more than happy to oblige, as it will only go towards improving your work performance.
Start a self-reflection diary
Your own analysis can be just as important as 3rd party feedback in the process of becoming self-aware. Starting a self-reflection journal can be highly useful for those who perhaps do not want to, or cannot prioritise the feedback of others. This is especially relevant for freelancers or those who do not have a management team above them.
A great way to get properly started on your journey is by sitting still in a mindful or meditative state. Go into the process with the mindset that you would like to reflect and find answers to thought-provoking questions.
Take note of what comes to the surface during this reflective state. Over time, you can even come back to certain areas that need additional work. Eventually, you will come to know yourself on a much deeper level by following this method.
Take a personality test
There are lots of free psychometric tests available online which can be helpful for giving you a rough understanding of your personality and traits. In particular, the 16 personalities quiz provides a comprehensive breakdown of your strengths, weaknesses and best possible career paths.
Once identified, it can open up the doorway to developing as a person. You will find that you are able to better work on your weaknesses, and thus are more likely to secure your future, as you’ll be better equipped for interviews and roles.
Personality tests can give you a well-rounded summary, often acting as if you were holding up a mirror to highlight the areas that you would rather not face.
Work with a coach or mentor
Finally, working with a coach or mentor is an excellent way of gaining impartial feedback to help you identify your strengths and an action plan for improvement.
An expert will often start the relationship by taking a deep dive into your background, personality and experience in order to gather the relevant information to help you develop. This insight can prove to be a key part of your self-awareness process, with the expert going on to provide a plan of action for improvement off the back of this.
Get started by taking our Expert Matcher quiz, which succinctly matches your experience and needs with the perfect expert.
Find additional support over on our blog here.
Wiseup is the UK’s leading coaching & mentoring community, specialising in helping those wanting to excel in their careers or in starting a business. Pairing you with the perfect support, our goal is to help you flourish in your personal and professional life and beyond.