3 things I’ve learned about gaining 360 Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character and feelings and it is one of the meta-skills I think leaders will continue to need more as our world continues to change non-stop. I use the term “360 Self-Awareness” to refer to the combination of what Eurich calls internal self-awareness and external self-awareness (2018) which refers to how you see yourself AND how others see you in regard to the same factors. So, this week, I’d like to share 3 things I’ve learned about how we can gain more 360 Self-Awareness.

Focus your introspection on the future - One of the “Black Mirror” episodes that disturbed me the most was the one around the idea that in the future you would be able to rewind and replay scenes of your past as movies, as they actually happened, as many times as you wanted. The obvious drawback of this ability (at least for me) is that ruminating on our thoughts would be even more detrimental than it already is. Studies show that only around 10% of humans really have good self-awareness and what sets them apart is how they approach their introspection. What they do differently is they don’t constantly ask themselves WHY something happened (past) but rather they more frequently ask WHAT they can learn/action from it (future).

Practice mindfulness to cultivate your internal self-awareness - When we pay attention to ourselves and our surroundings rather than getting lost in a rabbit hole of random thoughts, we are then able to notice how and what we think and feel. Different people are able to do this through different methods like meditating, journaling, taking mindful walks, observing nature, etc. However, the most important thing to remember is that while you are reflecting about your thoughts, feeling and behaviors you shouldn’t get stuck in evaluating them but quickly making the shift to your takeaways for the future (see learning #1).

Seek feedback to sharpen your external self-awareness - Receiving feedback from a variety of sources continues to be the best way to increase your external self-awareness. I would even go as far as saying that if you haven’t received any piece of feedback that shakes you up a bit or that makes you at least temporarily uncomfortable, then you haven’t asked enough people. I believe an effective and safe way to do this is through multi-rater feedback (360) tools and the subsequent follow-up to process it. Regardless of the methodology, getting a comprehensive view of yourself without focusing too much on the point of view of one or a few people is a great way to shape and cultivate the knowledge of yourself.

Originally published on LinkedIn:

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