Setting up goals is essential when we want to act with purpose. Often our identity is based on our goals and achievements, so when we talk to people and describe ourselves we talk about us in terms of what we do: I am a manager, I am a business owner, I am a teacher or similar designations and titles.
Now imagine that you are talking to a complete stranger and that you have to describe yourself in a way that it has nothing to do with your resume because it is not a job interview. Do you have any idea what would you say?
When it comes to achievements, we are facing many expectations we hold from ourselves and from others. We go through our busy days carrying those expectations and focusing on the final destination – accomplishment.
However, we do not always question why this is important to us; We do not question the beliefs we have that could come in the way; We do not listen to our emotions while working towards those goals; We do not always examine their impact on our behavior and the outcome itself either.
As a career coach specializing in emotional intelligence, working with clients towards achieving their goals and taking that path together with them, whatever it is that an individual wants to achieve, the work really start with increasing self-awareness. It is a crucial step that should not be overlooked, whether it is about changing career, breaking a habit, or dealing with a relationship goal, the first step is about raising awareness.
That being said, we often fail to accomplish many things we want, and this is not because we are not working hard enough or because we are not motivated enough. Sometimes it is because we are standing in our own way.
We tend to do that successfully in many ways and forms: from self-doubting, giving up too soon, getting easily distracted and losing our focus, and one of the biggest reasons of them all is because of our lack of self-awareness.
- The lack of self-awareness is shown when we are NOT:
- Completely clear on what we want
- Honest with ourselves
- Aware of our strengths and shortcomings
- Aware of beliefs that are sabotaging our plans ….and further on.
Have you ever found yourself procrastinating because of all those options you had and because of that feeling of being overwhelmed so that you could not take any practical step or not being able to see your choices clearly? This is an example of how not being consciously aware of our emotions and feelings can prevent us from moving forward.
It is well-known that the foundation of any self-development is emotional intelligence and if there is any place you wish to start in achieving results, the work begins in you, not the circumstances.
Discovering your true self – not who you want to be, but who are you now at this moment can come as a surprise to many. According to research, about 85% of people believe to have high level of self-awareness and the people who actually have it is 10% to 15%.
There are many approaches to help increase it and here are the ones I find essential:
1. Shedding the lights on influences around you
You might have heard the saying “You are the average of 5 people you spend the most time with” (Jim Rohn, motivational speaker). Whether you find this to be true or not, ask yourself who are those people in your life? Can you see how are they influencing you? Don’t be literal with this question, but rather try to acknowledge who are the people in your life influencing you and where you can see their influence? Is it in the way you behave, the way you talk? Are they influencing your beliefs maybe and if so, which ones? The influence people have on us is even far more reaching than the one from our closest family and friends, according to some and also keep in mind:
What you consume – This is the influence from the books we read, TV shows we choose to watch, a hobby we invest time in. It is about what we expose ourselves daily that impacts who we are and our life experiences. Taking a closer look on these things in our life can be a surprise sometimes.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of your self-narrative
We tend to identify who we are with the thoughts we have about ourselves and the vast majority of our thinking actually happens on the subconscious level. Therefore, do not underestimate the power of your self-narrative and what you keep saying to yourself when you make a mistake for an example – Do you say “Oh, I am so stupid” or you have a kinder thoughts about yourself?
3. Get inspired by data
Taking assessments and discovering things about your personality, preferences, communication style, your skills, and increasing self-awareness from validated, scientifically based sources is another valuable option. Personality tests, emotional intelligence tests, or similar tools that can provide you with data and give you some fascinating insights on your competencies and how you are using your skills in your daily life.
4. Ask for feedback
Finally, asking for feedback is another significant way to discover something, however, be mindful of who you ask the feedback from and how you interpret it. People who have your best interest in mind can be the ones to help you understand how others perceive you.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”, Aristotle.
Although it is not necessary to evaluate our every single decision from a multidimensional approach, it is a good idea to examine those goals that could have serious impact on our own life and the lives of those around us. Before you move on and focus your energy on your next goal to accomplish, you might want to pause and assess it, to check in with yourself, with your thoughts and your honest feelings around it, and who it will affect, too.
Direction of our self-growth has the power to positively contribute to our closer or wider community, if we are mindful on how it relates to people in our life. Often those who take this path of self-development discover endless results. The best thing is that anyone can do it – with the right frame of mind.