Leadership Qualities (Series 1, 4/100): Self-Awareness

What is self-awareness, it seems a bit mysterious, isn’t it? After all, rarely are the people around you that speak about self-awareness, right? I believe it’s a very important leadership quality that I encourage you to take a look at yourself and embrace who you are.

When you are on your journey to become a leader, this quality should be practiced on a daily basis.

So self-awareness is the ability to be aware of your inner world (identity, values, beliefs…) and the outer world (actions, reactions…). As you know, each individual is unique, so it’s our responsibility to practice self-awareness so we discover ourselves more and more. The more we discover ourselves the better we understand what’s going on inside of us as well as outside.

It’s basically, discovering who we truly are. We remove the masks, we ditch the titles of our jobs and we put aside all distractions. We sit with ourselves and we understand ourselves on a deep, deep level.

But I know, if you didn’t do it before, it might seem frightening. Don’t worry, it’s normal to feel this way, especially if it’s the first time that you do it. I am here to help.

Now as a leader, the more you are aware of yourself, the better you understand yourself, the better you communicate with others and lead them. After all, leading is a responsibility, but does it count if we don’t take responsibility for ourselves first?

So here’s how you can become more self-aware.

Pay attention to your habits

It’s easier said than done, but this can be a helpful first step. Pay attention to the unconscious habits, the ones, that maybe you are doing on autopilot. The way you walk, the way you speak, the way you laugh. What do you do first thing in the morning when you wake up? How do you eat your breakfast? How much time do you spend on serious tasks and how much do you spend on entertainment.

Sometimes, we adopt a habit and we run with it, thinking that this is the best way to do it. For example, I used to sleep on my back a lot, then I asked my doctor, a simple question, that felt silly at that time, I told him “how can I sleep properly”, and he gladly explained. So I changed my habit of sleeping, I adopted a scientific one, rather than an intuitive one.

What are your traits?

I am sure each one of us, has good traits and ones that he can improves. A trait is a quality that distinguishes you as a person.

Do you give all that you got when you see a homeless person on the street who is really in need? Do you do it over and over, because you feel the person’s pain? Do you do it generously? I guess you are a generous and empathetic person.

Do you defend a man who is being hit harshly, whatever it takes? You don’t want him to get hurt, you want to save him. I guess you are a peaceful person who cares about others.

So what are your top 10 traits?

What are your needs?

Not the basic needs that are common to everyone, like air, food, shelter… I am speaking about your needs, as Tony Robbins put it into 6 categories, as follows: Certainty, Uncertainty, Significance, Love & Connection, Growth, Contribution…

Do you feel that you need to do the same thing over and over, to be certain about what’s going to happen? for exp. you order almost the same meal from the same restaurant every time, you visit the same foreign city every summer vacation…

Or do you crave uncertainty at a high level, as I do 🙂 I like to buy something new every time I do food shopping, I like to visit a city only once and move on, I like to watch a new movie and not rewatch the ones I watched before.

There’s no right or wrong in here. It comes back to self-awareness, be aware of who you are and accept yourself as you are. If there’s something that you need to improve, please do so.

Emotions

When you have a positive emotion or a non-positive one, be aware of it, accept it, embrace it. A non-positive emotion exist for a purpose. It has a role. It wants to guide you to a better path, a better place, a better destination. Some people call it negative or bad. I don’t, life is day and night, yin and yen, so we have to accept our emotions and most importantly be aware of them.

For the non-positive emotions, sit with them, understand what they are telling you, what signal do they bring you? If you feel lonely, probably, it’s telling you to create some real connections, if you feel afraid, it’s saying be prepared, if you are angry, it’s telling you that you are afraid of losing control.

A good way is to think about the 10 emotions that you feel on average in a week. Know them, and consciously decide what to keep, what to remove, and what new emotions to embrace. Do you want to be more excited, more playful, more connected?

Go for it. Live it. Enjoy it.

Beliefs

What do you believe in your life? I am not talking about religious beliefs, I am talking about your personal beliefs. Do you believe in entrepreneurship? Do you believe in leadership? What are the qualities that will make a great leader? In which qualities do you believe?

For each subject, there are beliefs that empower us, and others that disempower us.

Beliefs are really important. They are deep-rooted within us. We act upon our beliefs. But here’s the good thing, we can challenge the beliefs that don’t serve us anymore and we can change them.

To reach our goals we can change a disempowering belief to an empowering one. For exp. If you want to become a leader and entrepreneur but you are thinking “I can’t do it, I am not good enough”, this belief will kill your chances at becoming an entrepreneur. Instead, you can replace it, by saying to yourself “I can do this, I will learn every skill I need, to succeed, nothing will ever stop me”.

If you want to go further, you can also discover your values, define them, define their hierarchy from the most important to the least.

You can discover who you truly are by asking yourself repeatedly “who am I ?”.

So, self-awareness is really important, if you want to become a great leader. Be aware of your behaviors, your traits, and your beliefs. Understand your inner world and your outer one.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article.

Thank you,

Elie Abboud

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