If you haven’t read Dr. Tasha Eurich’s book, Insight, yet, I suggest you get a copy of it today! She has done a great job of researching the topic of self-awareness and now you, too, can become a self-awareness unicorn. (To understand that reference, you’ll need to read the book!) I’ve already shared some great tips from Dr. Eurich in a previous blog and wanted to continue with sharing four strategies that she recommends to help gain an even deeper self-awareness thus improving your life in many different ways. How do we gain self-awareness (also know as the meta-skill of the 21st century?) The overall strategy is quite simply: mindfulness. There is a lot wrapped up in this simple word – a lot of assumptions and a myriad of “how tos” from many different resources. I really like Dr. Eurich’s definition when she states that it is “simply noticing what we’re thinking, feeling, and doing without judgement or reaction.” Being more mindful of our thoughts and feelings trains us to be more aware of our reactions, allowing us to respond more often than we simply react. There are several ways we can be more mindful and thus gain self-awareness. They are: meditation, reframing, compare and contrast, and daily check-ins.
Meditation: There is a lot of weight around this word as well because for each person you meet that engages in meditation, they will tell you a different way you must do it. There are many ways to get into a meditative state, so find one that works well for you. I prefer guided meditations such as Calm.com because it is hard for me to simply sit in silence. You can even do walking meditations, or many other types of activities that are meditative in nature. Meditation is a great tool for training your mind because you soon find yourself as an observer of your thoughts rather than feeling like you must grab on to each one and analyze it, which can lead to rumination (we’ll cover this in an upcoming blog).
Reframing: This is doing your best to look at your thoughts and feelings from a different perspective. For example, let’s say you walk into work and your colleague walks by you, frowning, and essentially ignoring you. If your initial reaction is to think that they are grumpy, being an a-hole, or some other emotional reaction, then reframing it would be asking yourself, “what is another way I could interpret his/her behavior?”
Compare and Contrast: This requires you to look for changes in your feelings and behavior over time. For example, let’s say ten years ago you got flustered by a certain type of person (maybe the CEO of your company), but now when you interact with them, you are professional and stand up for your ideas. Observing how your behavior or your patterns have changed over time is an excellent way to deepen your self-awareness.
Daily Check-In: This is something I have spoken of before and mention in all my speaking engagements. Take five minutes to reflect on what you learned each day. Five minutes people! I’m not asking for a lot here. Five minutes to ask yourself what went well, what didn’t go well, what did you learn, and how are you going to change your behavior because of your learning. You can put this in your reflective journal.
There you have it folks – four strategies for improving your self-awareness. This is not an exhaustive list, but a great start on your journey to becoming a self-awareness unicorn.