It is important to have an appreciation of yourself — who you are and why, what pushes your buttons and makes your wheels turn, your patterns and behaviors, and your strengths and weaknesses. It all affects how you move through life and interact with others, particularly as a leader of leaders.
But did you know that we have more than one version of ourselves?
We have the known self which includes information that ourselves and others know about us. This self is the version of ourselves that is open for people to get to know and discuss freely.
We have the hidden self which is the exact opposite of the known self, whom we hide away and keep private. Even sometimes to people who we consider to be closest to us and part of our inner circle.
We also have the blind self, which is composed of characteristics that others see which we cannot. I always say, “We can’t see our own forest through the six foot wide Redwood that’s an inch from our face.” This is why it’s critical you surround yourself with people who will objectively hold you accountable for things you can not see.
Lastly, we have the unknown self which is a part of our self-concept that ourselves and others are completely unaware of and we know nothing about. Namely, our subconscious mind. This is actually where most of our decisions are made and we don’t even know it.
These four versions of ourselves interact with social, parental, school and religious conditioning (or external forces) to shape our self concept and our perception of who we are. We here at Modig Leadership call this the Conditional Gap, the gap between who you present yourself to the world as and who you were created to be.
But have you taken the time to explore who you really are, separate from who you have been conditioned to be and what you think you know about yourself?
When you explore your self-concept, you ultimately have a better understanding of yourself and therefore, other people. It can involve taking a deep dive into your inner workings, trying to see yourself from someone else’s perspective, and appreciating who you are at your core.
The number one tool we use with our clients when they’re learning to be self aware is to literally start seeing yourself objectively, like you’re someone else. What advice would you give to your best friend, colleague, employee, daughter, father, neighbor, etc. regarding a situation you’re mulling over?
When you come from that angle, you are able to more readily remove the emotions and see it from an objective perspective. Give yourself the advice you’d give others! The key is catching yourself early in the process to keep yourself from sidelining due to emotions that don’t serve you well at the moment. Remind yourself to remain objective and strictly look at the facts of the situation to really discover who you are.
We just dealt with this with a corporate client this week who was left out of a meeting she felt she should have been included in, and rightfully so. She had plenty of experience under her belt to be a major asset in solving the problem they are faced with, but she wasn’t invited. She started to become aware that she was shutting down with this colleague out of frustration instead of simply asking, objectively, if there was a reason she wasn’t included in order to come to a resolution in her mind.
Becoming self aware is not easy. It takes time, dedication and the willingness to become vulnerable with yourself first before you can become vulnerable with others. After all, you can only give to others what you have for yourself.
Looking in the mirror and getting to know yourself can radically change the way that you move through life and the relationships that you have with other people, particularly in any relationship whether it be work or personal.
The good news? The power of self awareness is within you! If this is something you want some guidance or support with, message us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get some dialogue going on how we can best support you.
Brenda Lee is a Leadership Development and Team Building expert to some of the world’s most exciting entrepreneurs and professionals who have all the trappings of success but have hit a barrier they are ready to breakthrough.