One of the biggest things that individuals step into through the use of our leadership tools, is self-awareness.
The definition of self-awareness is: conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.
The sad part is a lot of us don’t really know ourselves. We think we know ourselves, but in reality most of us have only scratched the surface. We do the things we do for numerous reasons.
- Our ingrained values and beliefs system
Our behaviors are motivated by much deeper things than what is happening on the surface and are simply subconscious responses to the world around us born out of those things. Unless we are willing to ask ourselves some hard questions and be truthful about our current reality, the things that we do will always be in reaction to the world around us instead of the heart within us. The disparity between what is actual truth and what we perceive is truth is usually large. Our perceptions are shaped by the way that we have lived in and experienced the world up until this point, and if we are living out of a skewed values and beliefs system, or are adapting to the culture around us, then our sense of reality will be skewed as well. The truth of where we are at usually lies somewhere in the middle of what we perceive and what others see. One of the ways that we can begin to close the gap is to ask others to help us. We tend to swing in two different directions, either we perceive that we are a lot further ahead that we truly are, or we flip the coin, and see ourselves as much further behind. When asking ourselves the hard questions, it is often beneficial to bring someone that knows us well and that we trust along for the journey.
The good news is it can be done! We can all become more self-aware, we can all know ourselves, not so that we can serve ourselves with the knowledge, but so that we can serve and love the world around us. I had dinner with some really good friends recently. They are a couple that love each other very deeply, but are very different people, and are learning to navigate the waters of relationship together. They have had some issues, like all of us do, and were asking for my thoughts on some of the things that they are working through. At one point in the conversation, my girlfriend said, “I just don’t think he’s very aware, and I’m not sure if he ever will be.” Conscious self-awareness might not be something that we are born with, but it is a skill that we can acquire. We can practice it, work out our awareness muscles and watch them grow. Awareness of why we behave the way we do can spur us into making conscious choices to do things differently, to change and grow, and create more positive behaviors. The better we know ourselves the better we can lead ourselves.
Romans 12:2 says: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Conforming is easy. Transforming, on the other hand, takes time, intention, and commitment. But, it is possible, and it is worth every bit of effort you put into it.