How To Develop Self Awareness
You know you need to become more self aware to reach your career goals, but how exactly do you do it?
We all have different levels of self awareness. Some people are scarily in tune with their personalities, strengths and emotions without needing assessments or tools along the way.
But the reality is, most of us are not those people.
Research shows that 95% of people believe they are self-aware, but the real number is 12-15%, which means that 80% of people are lying about themselves, to themselves.
If, like most of us, you need a bit of guidance to really know yourself, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, you’ll learn three steps to developing self awareness, plus some helpful tools for the journey.
Because if you can crack self-awareness, you can unleash your potential, make better career choices and be happier in work and life!
How do you develop self awareness?
Becoming more self aware starts with knowing your strengths and weaknesses.
We all have a set of strengths that give us unique ‘powers’, but most people can’t name what they are, or how they use them.
Are you ready to uncover your strengths and weakness?
Read on to learn 3 ways to develop self awareness:
1. Do a test
That’s right – starting your self awareness journey is as simple as taking a test.
There’s a multitude of tests and assessments out there designed to help people discover, describe and understand their strengths.
Our favourite is the VIA Character Strengths Survey method.
The VIA method is a well-established strengths framework based on global scientific studies that identified 24 core character strengths in people.
We won’t list them all, but some examples include:
- Curiosity: I ask questions and investigate how things work and why things are they way they are.
- Leadership: I take charge and guide groups to meaningful goals and ensure good relations among group members.
- Self-regulation: I manage my feelings and actions and am disciplined and self-controlled.
In other words, they are the parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel and behave.
Everyone expresses all 24 character strengths to different levels. Some are strong strengths and others are lesser strengths.
The VIA test asks you a series of questions to help determine these strengths.
Pro Tip: Download Hodie to take the VIA Character Strengths Survey and reveal your character superpowers.
The best part?
It only takes 15 minutes!
That means you can be on your way to better self awareness before you’ve finished your coffee.
2. List your talents
Are you an incredible singer? Do you have an insanely fast 5km time? Can you play chess like a pro?
These are your talents.
Here’s the thing – talents are not the same as strengths. Well, not strictly anyway. Natural talents are a key ingredient of strengths but they’re not the same thing.
Let us explain.
Natural talents are the abilities you are born with. They often have a strong genetic factor and can be common amongst siblings and across generations. We can all picture that one family who had amazing athletic talent at school – maybe it was you and your siblings.
Knowing your talents is a big part of self awareness, because it’s only when you invest in, and develop, these talents through practice that they become strengths and turn into skills.
Chances are you already know your talents or have been told by your teachers, friends and family in the past.
Now it’s time to make a list and start paying more attention to your talents.
3. Ask for feedback
Nobody likes asking for feedback – especially when there’s a good chance you’ll hear about something you’re not good at.
But it’s a critical part of the process.
In fact, it can be very helpful when the feedback:
A) comes from someone you trust, and
B) is insightful.
Feedback gives you perspective!
Take a look at the graphic below:
A representation of Johari Window quadrants. (Graphic by Mark Brooks.)
This is the JoHari Window, a tool created by researchers Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham to help people better understand themselves and their relationships.
Imagine you are looking through a window with four panes. Each pane represents a certain view that you have of yourself or that others have of you.
- Open – Known to ourselves and known to others.
- Hidden – Known to ourselves and unknown to others – think of this as what you hide from others or choose not to show.
- Blind Spot – Known to others and not ourselves.
- Unknown – Unknown to everyone.
When someone gives you feedback, they are said to be looking through either the “open” window pane (feedback that’s known to you and known to them) or the “blind spot” pane (feedback that’s not known to you but is known to them).
The JoHari window can be applied to different areas of your life. You can use it to increase what is known about you, and what you know about yourself. In other words, reduce your “blind spot” by asking for feedback from others.
Now for the tough part…
How do you ask for feedback?
Here are a few pointers:
- Have some specific but open-ended questions prepared (e.g. “What are some ways you think I can communicate my point better?”)
- Go in with an open mind and be ready to take all feedback as an exciting opportunity to grow and fine tune your skills rather than taking suggestions as criticism
- Encourage honesty from the people you ask for feedback
- Really listen to what they have to say and try to understand their point of view
Knowing what to do with feedback when you receive it is the hardest part, but the solution is actually very simple:
Don’t react, don’t act.
The most important thing is to actively listen to and accept feedback – no matter how negative it may sound.
Then, ask yourself a few questions before you do anything else:
- Is the feedback coming from someone I trust and who knows me well?
- Does this person have my back – are they giving feedback to help me?
- Have I heard this sort of feedback before?
- Is this really who I am? Or am I just having a bad day?
- Am I open to feedback and improvement, or am I listening from a defensive perspective?
- Is there any truth to what I am hearing?
Whatever you do, be honest with yourself. Because quality and constructive feedback is pretty powerful and can bring you awareness on both your strengths and weaknesses that you may not have had about yourself before.
Over to you
Exploring the unknown can be scary. But once you start becoming more self aware, it becomes easier and easier to build on what you know and start using it to become exceptional. Remember, self awareness is a skill and, like all skills, it can be developed over time. There’s no right or wrong answer – and your answer won’t be the same as anybody else’s. The best thing you can do is be proactive and get started.
Get started on your Hodie human skills journey with Self Awareness Level 1: ‘Reveal your superpowers’
Download Hodie and start your FREE human skills upskilling, today!