Recently, I coached a lady with the strength of Significance. She resigned from a very well paying job because she felt dissatisfied with the management style of leadership. After several probing questions, I found that the real reason for her resignation was that she felt ignored, invisible, or unseen. No matter how hard she worked, no one seemed to notice or treat her as if she had value in the organization. I explained that she was living in the basement of her strength of Significance, and she needed to identify that this is a “trigger” for her. If she could not gain this self-awareness, then her next job would end in a resignation as well. This revelation was very eye opening to her. She realized how often in her 55 years she had not been aware that her strength of Significance was operating negatively in this area of her life. She then began to own
the fact that this was a tendency of hers and decided to share with her new upper management team the importance of weekly, biweekly, or monthly check in’s. She helped them to see that she needed this feedback to keep her motivation high. She also learned to take the “I feel invisible” thought captive whenever it snuck into her mind by replacing it with the thought “I am a valuable contributor on this team.” By regulating this strength, she has been much more successful in her current position.
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself why you act the way you do? Have you ever wondered what really motivates you or demotivates you? These are some typical questions that a coach might ask you. But what I find when this question is asked is that often many have no answer. They really do not know the “WHY” of their behavior and have never stopped long enough to consider. Self-awareness is all the buzz right now in training classes and conferences with good reason. According to Wikipedia, it is the “capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.” So in layman’s terms, that means you know where you start and someone else ends. It is being aware of your strengths, your weaknesses, your triggers, your needs, your wants, your values, and your motivations. This looks very different from thinking of yourself too much. It is understanding the motivation to “why you do what you do.” How can real growth occur unless we know where we land in the first place? Substantial growth does not occur without the knowledge of your true self.
A StrengthsFinder assessment is a good start to this self-awareness process. I describe individual coaching sessions as “peering into one’s shadow.” I find that many times, even though we live in an egotistical society, we are very UN-self-aware. I want to challenge you today to set aside a Self-Awareness Saturday. A day several times a year that you really evaluate your motives, your triggers, your wants and needs, and then OWN them (Click here to ask for the “trigger” sheet to help you in this process). But don’t stop there. Owning these motives and needs are your next step. Identify if you are projecting your wants or needs onto someone else and decide to instead be responsible for your own self. Not only is this growing your self-awareness, but it is also growing you into an emotionally healthy adult.