If you’re curious to know what you don’t know, then we’ll explore a different approach. BEFORE YOU MOVE ON, IT’S CRITICAL THAT YOU MAKE IT SAFE FOR OTHERS TO SHARE! This implies that you CAN TAKE the feedback well. If you struggle with this, then my suggestion would be to skip to the next paragraph and assume you got needed feedback from a 360 review. On receiving feedback, I tell others to not respond, but rather say thank you. Understand that you do things you’re not aware of and you’re not a bad person because of it! There are other cases where we know we do it, but we don’t know how to stop or we’re afraid to. Don’t judge yourself. Consider the possibility that others see you in small windows of time and form opinions based on what they observe and experience. We all do it! Assume it’s an accurate reflection and try it on. Consider what you may have been doing, or not doing, that could have led to this impression. If you can avoid reacting poorly, then you want to ask questions such as “When do you find me less persuasive? What do you observe that may cause this?” or “What habits do I have that get on your nerves? When do you see these? Do I always do it?”. Take note of what you’re hearing and avoid trying to shape it in a way that rationalizes it to your ego. Once you try on the clothes, then you have to consider if you want to keep them. There are times where we decide we don’t need or want to work on something and this is not a problem. You’ll want to consider whether your short-term or long-term goals are at risk if you choose to not work on the area identified.
Now, you either have something you’re driven to change, or you’ve just learned there’s less passion around some of your goals. If the latter is true, you’ll want to spend some time reviewing your original list and work towards an eight or higher. For those of you that are ready to keep going, please take some time to write down what it looks like to be successful. What do you see yourself doing or practicing and how consistent will you be? How long do you practice? Where do you practice? Who helps you? What does it look like when you celebrate milestones? When you’re successful, happy, and fulfilled in your progress, what have you done that creates these feelings?
Great! We now have a destination and the mental fuel to get going, so now what? We need to go back to our list of what’s preventing us from moving forward. Some of the most common things are time, current health, current finances etc.. Some next steps in these cases may be time budgeting, change of diet, simple exercises, or basic financial budgeting. Despite the many books dedicated to this area I find this to be the easier part. I’m not saying it’s not challenging or or there’s no value in the teachings from these books. I’m saying there are known processes to follow that will address these kinds of problems. The need to focus on self-awareness becomes clearer during the doing phase of things.
The vast majority of my success thus far has come from my ability to adapt and change. Over time I have come to realize that at the heart of this ability is a high level of self-awareness. I have always been an introspective person and feel being an introvert has helped to further develop it over time. In my life I’ve received feedback from others, including multiple professional coaches, about the level of self awareness I have and some telling me I have more self awareness than anyone they’ve ever met. Considering they work with many C-suite types, it has started to pique my interest as something I could pass on to others. Being someone who wants to help as many people as possible while I’m alive, I want everyone to prosper from the same self-awareness as I have. This is the first of a three part series that I intend to help move this goal forward.
There’s somewhat of a chicken and egg problem in regards to where one would start. The gist of the problem is that to be effective at making change you need self awareness, so what do we do when self-awareness is not high to start with? It’s the desire to change that will motivate the introspection needed to increase self-awareness.
For now I’ll say that a true desire to change is the first priority. I’m deliberate with the word ‘true’, because if it’s not real it can lead to an inability to see what’s preventing progress. We’ll need to have a deep commitment to make a sustaining change. If we say the desire to make a change is the direction in which you want to travel, then the commitment will be the fuel that gets you there. Continuing with the metaphor, we need to fuel up before we take off. We’ll discuss this further in later posts, but behind this is a theme of “How bad do you want this?”.
On many occasions I’ve met with others who liked the idea of achieving a goal, such as running a 5k, but they lacked the commitment. It’s important to not beat yourself up or cast judgment. Doing so prevents us from learning that the passion is not there and moving on to where it is. You’ll find the commitment when the need to change is standing between you and your passion.
Once we have the direction and fuel sorted out, then comes the journey. This is where the rubber meets the road and there are two types of change that i’ll focus on in this series. The first type of change is one of creating. This may look like learning to cook, running a 5k, etc.. The general theme is we’re trying to do something new. The key with this type is there’s no need to stop, remove, or replace an existing behavior to be successful. The second type of change is more difficult as it requires us to stop and/or replace one behavior or activity with another.
The self-awareness challenge with these two types are different and is I why separate them from each other. The first type focuses on awareness of what hinders time management and the ability to take action. The challenge with the latter type is a need to detect automatic responses and behaviors, pause, and choose a new one. Needless to say, when someone cuts you off in traffic it’s challenging to not react, pause, and then smile and bless them.
There are various strategies used to address these kind of challenges and since we’re all different, there’s no single “right way”. Regardless of the approach, involving others greatly improves the probability of success. Involving others creates accountability that motivates us to stay the course. We also receive feedback that helps us see what we can’t and to know when we’re making progress. While waiting on the next part of the series, take some time to list some changes you’re interested in making. Under each change on your list, add the challenges that prevent you from moving forward. Take some time considering your awareness of these challenges and take note what you’re aware of. What behaviors and motivations are getting in the way? Ask some trusted friends for feedback. What do they observe?
In the next part we’ll dig a little deeper into “How bad do you want it?” theme and start focusing on how to handle the first type of change.
We’re happy to work with you if you’re looking for help, so don’t hesitate to reach out.