Self-Awareness 101: Why it matters and 5 questions to get started

A few days ago my 8-year-old daughter shared an observation.  She said “Daddy, when you come on field trips my teacher always gives you the new kids for our group.  You like to meet new people.”  Her comments made me step back because she sees that about me as does her teacher, who I have known for nine years.  I thought about what she saw, and she was right.  It pains me to see someone standing away from a group of people looking alone and lost.  I like to find those people, connect with them, and get them connected.  In my professional life, nothing irritates me more than seeing a poor onboarding program at a company or no resources put towards helping new leaders or teams be successful. 

Moments like this happen every day, but too often we let them pass by.  As our jobs and leaders change more frequently, understanding who we are and what we need to be successful and happy is important.  In fact, it is more than just important, it is critical. 

So here are the five sets of questions that make up Self-Awareness 101.  Being able to answer these will help you build a base of knowledge to use when being approached for a tough project or a new job assignment.

  • What do I do extremely well?  What are my talents?
  • What am I passionate about?  What gets me excited?
  • What do I need from my job?  What rewards mean the most to me?
  • What are the realities in my life right now?
  • What demotivates me?

In his book Mastery, George Leonard teaches us that mastery is a journey, not a destination.  Mastery of ourselves (ie. Self-Awareness) starts with commiting to understand ourselves and seek answers to these five questions, even if the answers come from an eight year old.  Enjoy the journey.