Give the Gift of Self-Awareness (To Yourself or Someone Else)

Photo by  on  Unsplash

Photo by on Unsplash

To be honest, I'm over the idea of self-improvement. I've reached a level of acceptance with the way my sock drawer is always a disaster and the mayo and ketchup are pretty lonely in my fridge. I've learned to leverage the fact that I work well under pressure (which some would call procrastinating), and I've let my dream of "finishing the project early" go. 

So what's the point of self-awareness if not to change yourself to be better? 

I believe the most powerful gift that self-awareness offers us is the opportunity to respond instead of react to people, circumstances, and our own feelings and emotions.

Back in my coaching certification program, one of our assignments was to create a Power Tool which essentially juxtaposed two concepts, emotions, or feelings for the sake of understanding both more completely. I chose "reacting vs. responding" because of the freedom that comes with understanding the difference between them.

When I'm reacting to a situation or a person, I feel a bit like I've been hijacked, as if I have no choice in the look on my face, the words coming out of my mouth, or the way I'm fleeing from a situation that actually requires my attention.

However, responding allows for the space to process what's happening all around and choose your next words, actions or facial expressions with insight.

That's where self-awareness becomes a super power in and of itself. Here are just a few practical implementations of self-awareness.

I have a client who leveraged her tendency to procrastinate (ahem, work well under pressure) into a thriving floral design business. With a room full of flowers and a wedding in 36 hours, there's no time to waste - a Maximizer's dream. (Take CliftonStrengths.)

Another client, after realizing she's an Oliger, set up external accountability structures to achiever both her personal and business goals, instead of wasting time feeling terrible about all of her unfinished projects. (Take the Four Tendencies Quiz.)

For me, realizing that my core motivation is harmony, which makes one of the things I'm really good at (mediation) also very stressful. And so as I look at my business planning for 2018, I'm reconsidering high-conflict client engagements. (Take the Enneagram.)

What have you learned about yourself this year? Have you leveraged self-discovery to restructure a more enjoyable work environment?

Let me know the answers to these questions and your favorite assessments in the comments below.