"Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and drives."
Self-awareness is the foundation of emotional intelligence. Without it, all other learning becomes purely superficial. We must understand that our success in business is predicated on others perceptions of who we are and how they experience what we say or do combined with our ability to assess our environment, our performance, our drivers and our emotions in order to accurately engage with and increase effectiveness with those around us.
To quote the Emotional Intelligence guru Daniel Goleman, "People with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful. Rather, they are honest – with themselves and others." Someone who is self-aware has a candor and an ability to assess oneself realistically. Have you ever met a leader who has the ability to lightly acknowledge and laugh off their weaknesses? You may even admire such a quality. It shows us that leaders are not infallible and there is something endearing when they reveal that vulnerability in a light-hearted way (or otherwise, when called for). Conversely, we can all probably remember a leader or an associate who never wanted to admit a mistake or accept responsibility. We are all sometimes trapped in an ideal of perfectionism perhaps thinking that if we reveal our weaknesses, we may be deemed incompetent or in over our heads.
I'll let you in on a little secret: Our weaknesses always reveal themselves. There is no such thing as perfection so to deny the existence of fallibility only demonstrates ones utter lack of self-awareness and this is often not a pretty picture.
This isn't to say that we should suddenly become self-deprecating apostles but rather to enlighten you to the fact that is important that each of us understand our strengths and weaknesses and at appropriate times, acknowledge that awareness to others. If you are assigned a project that is a bit "stretchy", is it better to acknowledge your shortcomings so that you can shore up those areas with the appropriate talent and expertise or try to fake your way through hoping that others don't notice? I don't have to tell you that answer to that. What matters is that you successfully complete the project. THAT is what will be remembered and what you will gain credit for.
As we continue to further understand the importance of emotional intelligence, we will go deeper into the area of self-awareness, how you can recognize self-awareness in others and how you can grow in your own level of self-awareness. In the meantime, if you want to gain a better understanding of emotional intelligence, I highly recommend you read Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman.
You were born to be great.
YES, you can!