“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
Cultivating Self-Awareness – Make it Your Own
As many of you know, I am a big fan of cultivating self-awareness. I think that doing this is one of the most important levers for our personal and professional growth, our relationships with self and other, as well as our health and happiness. I also think it is an important part of our self-care.
There are many different ways to cultivate your self-awareness ranging from yoga, meditation, body scans, walks in nature, dancing, gardening, and of course journaling. What is key is that you find something that works for you!
For any of those who have worked with me, you know I have a bias for journaling. This can be done with pen and paper, recording your thoughts and observations into your phone/computer, or even talking out loud.
Journaling, in whatever form it takes for you, is a practice I systematically recommend to my clients and something I have used all my life, starting with “Dear Diary” when I was much, much younger. This practice of cultivating self-awareness is one I still engage in today for myself and also use extensively in the leadership development work I do with others.
Tips, Tools and Prompts
There are a couple of things I want to share with you here. Firstly, I want to (again) advocate for the importance of cultivating a self-awareness practice for its important health, wellness and professional development benefits, and with that in mind I am also going to share some tips and tools for doing so.
Secondly, I want to make the process of journaling more concrete and share some prompts with you. Sometimes my clients report back that they simply don’t know what to write about – that they don’t know how/where to start. To do this, I am going to share my newly created infographic (which I prepared myself – no small feat for a technically challenged boomer!). I am both excited and nervous to see what you think.
Included here are some general prompts you can start with and make your own. For example, ‘what would I do differently if I trusted myself’ may become ‘what would I have done differently during that difficult meeting if I fully trusted myself?’ Or, ‘how can I bask in my wholeness’ might look like, ‘how can I celebrate all that I bring to the table at home/with my team?’
Welcoming and Widening Your Wisdom: An Invitation to Practice
I invite you to have a think about:
- When was the last time you carved out some time and space to cultivate your self-awareness (again this is a key emotional intelligence and leadership skill)?
- How you are showing up in the various spaces in which you operate?
- Are you able to contribute strategically when you need to because you have spent time in reflection?
- Would it be helpful to carve out some time and space to reflect on you and your experiences as part of your growth and development?
Leadership development experts agree that making time to engage in self-discovery and self-reflection is key for leadership transitions. It involves contemplating your current level of skills, your strengths, weaknesses, behavioural patterns (link missing?) and how you seek to influence others. It is also about exploring and getting clarity on your values, goals and ambitions. All this serves to increase your self-knowledge, alignment, authenticity, learning and growth. Self-reflection accelerates improvement in your leadership skills and practice – including your emotional intelligence – and enables you to better understand others.
And remember, increasing our self-awareness is one of the most important levers for our growth, our relationships with self and others, our health and happiness, and our ability to care for ourselves and others in the world.
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” – – Virginia Wolf
Please feel free to download this comprehensive resource Designing Your Leadership Self-Reflection Practice – Guided Writing Prompts – packed with tips, tools, and guided prompts to launch your leadership self-reflection practice as you continue to strengthen your leadership.
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