Today, we invite you to explore the importance of self-awareness and its vital role in forming more human ways of working.
What is self-awareness?
At its simplest self-awareness is how well we know ourselves. It’s our ability to accurately observe our thoughts, feelings and actions and to notice how we’re coming across.
Self-awareness requires us to reflect and in doing so, we begin to understand the causes of our emotional reactions and triggers. Over time, it equips us with the ability to regulate in moments of stress and improves our capacity to self-manage.
Life challenges us
Let’s face it, irrespective of our position, we all find ourselves challenged by our work, and life, at times. This can come in the form of customers or colleagues, responsibilities and tasks, or even by our attempts to manage time.
Being challenged is built into the fabric of our lives and it’s perfectly designed. How we deal with our challenges and adversity is the way we grow and evolve. Ultimately, our response to challenge determines who we become.
How is this so?
Every challenging experience causes us to generate thoughts. In doing so our brains release emotions which control how we feel. How we think and feel defines our behaviour and how we show up.
Our inner world of thoughts and feelings dramatically influences the quality of our work, our relationships and the way we view our external environment. We have a choice; to react to situations unconsciously or choose to respond with awareness. Having a choice, however, is conditional on how well we know ourselves. Without this, we resign ourselves to the unconscious nature of our thoughts and reactions.
Becoming self-aware is a journey to remembering who we are at our best. When we take time to notice what makes us tick, we’re more able to take responsibility for our emotions. With practice we can stop ourselves from projecting internal tensions outwardly.
As our self-awareness deepens, we begin to understand that much of who we are, and how we see the world, is formed through the accumulation of past emotional reactions. We learn that our past experiences create impressions that leave imprints on our subconscious. It’s these memories that generate our thoughts. Our thoughts create chemical reactions in the form of emotions. And it’s our emotions that produce feelings in our bodies.
Left unchecked we can trap ourselves in unhelpful loops because of our tendency to always generate more thoughts equal to the negative emotions we feel. Until we’re able to observe this in ourselves we are pre disposed to react negatively in stressful situations. Ultimately, it’s these thought-feeling loops that impact our performance and that of the people around us.
Once we begin to observe ourselves objectively, and detach from our reactions, we create the opportunity to choose our response. The challenge we all face is building enough self awareness so that we can actively and repeatedly regulate our emotions in moments of stress.
Self regulation isn’t about suppressing our feelings. It’s about allowing ourselves to feel whatever comes up whilst making the choice to allow the best version of ourselves to remain in the driving seat.
This practice leads us to develop our emotional intelligence. From here we begin to realise that real change occurs from within. That doing this inner work is the path to broader organisational and social change.
When the teams we work with take the time to develop their self-awareness we see positive shifts in their wellbeing, productivity and the collective decision-making of the group. Nurturing self-awareness within our organisations enhances our emotional intelligence and leads to greater compassion and empathy, for ourselves and each other. The consequence of encouraging more heartfelt connection lifts performance through improved communication, connection and collaboration, leading to more human working environments.
If you’d like to develop your emotional intelligence, we’d love to show you how! We work with leaders and teams to develop self-awareness so that together you connect more deeply, are more effective and more fulfilled by your work.
Please get in touch to discover more.
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