Are You Developing Self-Awareness Skills? It’s the CORE Way to Success
“In the light of calm and steady self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.” ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
Isn’t it true that when you’re coaching your clients, your focus is on helping them make the best of their potential, maximizing their strengths, recognizing opportunities and taking them? If you’re struggling with making a breakthrough, go back to the basics…the core of your success is that you and they are continually developing self-awareness skills.
Why is developing self-awareness skills at the core of becoming a successful leader, coach, team or individual?
When you peel back the layers of what creates effective communication, leadership, teamwork, or self-leadership, you find that it all starts with your core, being very aware of yourself.
Think about what the core is…
- A piece of fruit has a stem attached to its core, not somewhere else. That’s what holds it together.
- Humans also have a core physically and emotionally. We do core exercises to strengthen our muscles to hold our frame in proper alignment, so we function at our peak condition, without pain. In the same way, we are developing self-awareness skills to strengthen our mental and emotional “muscles” so we stay aligned with our values, dreams, and purpose.
How C.O.R.E. strengthening helps you develop self-awareness skills
If you remember the following four steps, you’ll create a pattern of thinking that keeps you in a mindful, intentional frame of mind, rather than a reactive mode.
C is for Core values.
Do you know your ideal self and personal vision? What is your purpose, passions and interests? What makes you, YOU? It takes time to figure all of these things out, and it helps to write them down. Throughout the day, ask yourself, “Do I agree with that, does this feel right for me?” Read a book, watch a show, listen to a speaker, with that question in mind, and you’ll find yourself saying, “I wouldn’t have done that,” or, “I wish I was more like that.”
O is for Observation, without judgment.
We do so many things automatically that we don’t even know we’re doing them. It’s helpful to pause and assess each one of our habits, routines, impulses, and reactions, otherwise, they control us rather than we control them.
A practice of mindfulness will help you be realistic about your real self in comparison to your idealized self. Judging yourself for mismanaging your emotions or for having biased and selfish thoughts is a trap because it puts you into a loop of negativity. Self-awareness is wasted if it doesn’t result in self-acceptance. This applies to how we view others as well.
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” ~ Marcus Aurelius
R is for Reflection.
This is the time to compare the present with the past, to assess your strengths and weaknesses, to put names to your feelings. This opens up your ability to recognize your limitations and work on them.
E is for Emotional regulation.
Once you know yourself, how you’re reacting, why you’re reacting, what you’re feeling, you can choose how you want to be. Emotional intelligence gives you the power to manage your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.
“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” ~ Daniel Goleman
Three stages to developing self-awareness skills
Examine the following scenario and see how mindfulness helps a person travel through these levels.
First Level: Recognize what you’re doing.
Your partner makes a comment and you respond defensively, with irritation.
C-Core Value: My relationship with this person is important to me and I think I just damaged it.
O-Observation, without judgment: What did my partner say exactly, and what did I say verbally and nonverbally?
R-Reflection: My partner has said things like this before and they haven’t bothered me. What’s up?
E-Emotional regulation: I’m irritated, but I don’t know why.
Second Level: Why are you doing it — what are you feeling?
C-Core Value: It’s important to me to be intentional, and not simply react.
O-Observation, without judgment: Explore it with curiosity. Why did I respond that way? Okay…how am I feeling in my body? I feel tight in my shoulders, pulled into my chest…dark, heavy, a little ashamed.
R-Reflection: How does a past situation have some influence on this present one? Why do I feel so tight and stressed? Because the project I’ve just completed was really frustrating. Okay…I’m bringing some of that to this situation. What else? I know what my partner said has merit, but it sounded like criticism. Hmmm…was it intended that way? Am I projecting my feelings of inadequacy onto my partner?
E-Emotional regulation: Okay, I need to calm myself by doing some grounding. Breathe in…breathe out.
Third Level: What have you learned from this?
C-Core Value: I recognize that my pride was hurt a little bit, but I can be flexible, recognizing that others have a different point of view and that’s okay. I want to go and thank my partner for caring enough to speak up.
O-Observation, without judgment: As I showed appreciation for them, I noticed the closed look leaving and my partner once again is open and calm.
R-Reflection: I remember how criticism from my parents and teachers used to tear me up, but I’m not that person anymore. I don’t need those hurt emotions to protect me any longer. Thank you brain for trying to keep me safe. Criticism from another is only their perspective. I can use it as a learning tool and become a better person.
E-Emotional regulation: I feel more confident in expressing myself, knowing that I’ll be heard and valued. I’m proud of myself for having handled this situation in an intentional and mindful way. It’s brought me peace of mind and maintained a relationship I value.
Do you see ways in which you can use C.O.R.E. as you’re developing greater self-awareness? Remember, the goal is knowledge you can use. It’s not to collect more ammunition for your brain to beat you up with.
It takes courage to dive deep like this. And if you’ve begun this journey, congratulations! Many people find it’s helpful to talk with someone, while they are on the journey of self-discovery. If that’s true of you, please contact me and schedule a 30-minute complimentary consultation by phone or via Zoom, to see if we’re a good fit for each other.