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The lack of self-awareness of a leader, and/or the inability to raise the self-awareness of his/her people creates so many blind spots, grey areas, uncertainties, and indecisions. Many of the confusions, conflicts, and disarrays that exist in many organizations, communities, and nations could have been avoided if the leaders have holistic self-awareness. Unfortunately, individuals and organizations give little attention to self-awareness. High priorities are given to the day to day challenges, demands, and distractions leaving self-awareness neglected.
In this post, I’d like to share with you the benefits of increasing your self-awareness so that you may be willing to invest your time, energy, and resources. Below are some of the major individual and corporate benefits you will enjoy when you increasing your (your team’s) self-awareness. It’s taken from my book:
I. Benefits at Individual level:
- Knowing your true self and worth. Once you pass through this process, you won’t be the same. You won’t settle for less than who you truly are. You may experience some important rebirths during your lifetime. One of the most important rebirths is when you come to know your true self and the reason of your existence. When that happens, you start to say more of I can than I cannot. You seek to redeem your true self-worth. You restore back yourself to its original blueprint. This process may even involve changing your genes to fit your perception about who you truly are. Latest scientific discoveries have shown…
- Aware of the power that resides in you. When you dig deep and understand your make up, you start to realize that there is a greater power working within you and in your favor. You aren’t just flesh, bones, blood, and ligaments. You originated from something more powerful than you. He had a purpose in His mind when He created and released you at this time and generation. He is in you, and you’re in Him…
- Becoming humble. Self-awareness prevents you from pride. Rather, it leads you to humility. Not only do you know your strengths but also your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. You now know that you are part of the bigger picture. You are part of the universe, and everything that exists in this awesome universe. When you reach this level of consciousness, you let go of your ego and believe that everything is not about you. You relinquish acting as if you are the center of the universe but part and parcel of an amazing movement and you are one of the critical players…
- Remain alarmed and alerted. Once you are self-aware, you know your comparative and competitive advantages. This knowledge alerts you to identify the right job, relationship, and partnership you should have. You become so alarmed in your steps that no one can sway you where you shouldn’t be or you don’t stay for long at a wrong spot. Once you are self aware, no one manipulates and uses you because you know your breaking points. You discern people’s intention, and avoid traps. They don’t easily prime you to say and do things as they wish…If you are an alarmed and alerted person, you are aware of what is happening on all sides of the box. You tap into the opportunities, avoid traps, pitfalls, and distractions.
- Productive, creative, and cooperative. Self-awareness raises your productivity. You know your priorities and where to invest your time and energy. If we have enough self-enlightened business leaders, engineers, artists, doctors, and politicians, we would have a different world. Humanity would have experienced a quantum leap jump because of the creativity that comes from self-awareness. The latter expands your consciousness. It can bend your reality in your favor. You become a creator. The more you know your place in your team and society, the more constructive roles you may play. You seek to contribute your best, and bring out the best from others…
- Creating synergy and focus. Self-awakened individuals don’t step on someone’s toes or run on someone’s lane. They spot their unique place within their community, organization, and nation. They completely understand that they are better if they stay where they matter the most, and help others do the same. When you increase your self-awareness, you create synergy and avoid unhealthy competition. You are no longer jealous. Others’ achievements won’t intimidate you. You create synergy because you know that you need the help of others around your weaknesses. You also become focused to contribute your unique roles only in the area of your strength.
- Becoming wise. When we pass through the process of self-awareness, we uncover so many truths, and knowledge. When we apply these truths and knowledge, we increase our wisdom. Self-awareness is the road that leads to wisdom. The latter starts with knowing who you are, why you do what you do, with whom to relate, work, and partner. We need wisdom to succeed in life. Without wisdom, it is hard to pursue and fulfill our purpose in life. As we live, work, and do business in this complex, ever changing, and competitive world of the 21st C, it is unlikely to succeed without employing wisdom. Those who are succeeding, achieving, and changing the world positively are those who developed and refined their wisdom…
II. Benefits at Corporate level:
- Highly productive and competitive. No community, organization, or nation can arise above the collective self-awareness of its members. When you have many self-awakened individual members, your collective awareness increases. The more enlightened members you have, the more corporate success and productivity you may enjoy, and the more competitive you may become.
- Increased cooperation. Since your people know themselves and their unique roles within your organization and community, they become cooperative. They avoid unhealthy competition against other self-awakened members of your community.
- Birds of the same feather fly together. In a given society or organization where the majority of the members are self-awakened, it is easier for members to find the right people with whom to work together. People who share the same passion can easily create a win-win partnership.
- Less conflict. When the majority of your people are self-awakened and know their strength, they most probably avoid conflict. You enjoy more peace and friendship among your self-awakened people. You won’t spend valuable resources, energy, and time to resolve conflicts.
- Improved synergy. Once your people know who they truly are and their relative position among their peers, it is easier for them to choose the right path that leads them to fulfillment. They know which school to enroll, which organization to join, which business to open, etc. When the majority of your people are on the right path, they collectively create synergy that advances your progress.
- More solution providers and contributors. When the majority of your people are self-awakened, you have more solution providers and contributors than trouble makers. And more…
The above excerpt is taken from my Book entitled “The 9 Cardinal Building Blocks: For continued success in leadership”. Page 26 – 28, Building Block 1: Self-awareness.
By the way, Success Pathways (www.successpws.com) provides a one-day dynamic and interactive workshop to empower you and your team increase your individual and collective self awareness. This workshop is designed to help you understand the different dimensions of self-awareness to enjoy the benefits that come with it (which I shared with you in the above post). The workshop also provides you tools, approaches, steps, and packed with small and large group discussions. If you’re interested, let’s know (Tel: 703-895-4551)
Success Pathways, LLC provides workshops on the theme Self Awareness. Here is an excerpt from my book entitled “The 9 Cardinal Building Blocks: for continued success in leadership” published by Success Pathways Press:
“…Holistic self-awareness requires understanding the fundamental truths that govern the most important aspects of your life including your environment, the universe, your Source, and what is going on around you regionally and globally. Once you encounter and embody the most important truths that govern the most essential aspects of life, you will be transformed from being a mere human to a ‘god’. This journey finally leads you to become one with the truth at the end of the day. Of course, reaching this level of awareness doesn’t mean that you don’t face human experiences. It doesn’t mean also that you know the answer to every question in life. But being in the side of the Truth enables you to trust that everything is going to be fine. When you’re in this state, you just do what you can based on the truth you have uncovered, one day at a time. The good thing is, once you’re on this journey you begin to let go of worries and fears, and start to live each moment joyfully and thankfully…”
It’s taken from page 10, Cardinal Building Block 1: Self Awareness
If you’re interested, let’s know…
If you’re a Change Agent, you’re already familiar with what I’m going to talk about. You have attempted, succeeded or not, to change the status quo, and paid some penalties for your ‘transgressions’. You’ve the scar to show 🙂 You understand that when you challenge the status quo, people attack you. They use verbal attacks, and even sometimes, they may use physical force to shut you up. They may threaten, intimidate, blackmail, call you names, and/or insult/assault you to stop you from ‘disrespecting’ their ‘god’- their culture.
The majority of people in a given culture defend the status quo religiously. They’re blind loyal. The funny thing is that they do so without even knowing why they do what they do to ‘defend’ the ‘god’ they (their ancestors/predecessors to be exact 🙂 themselves created.
There was an experiment that illustrated the power of culture. I’d like to share it to show you how extremely powerful culture is so that if you don’t have the stamina to withstand ‘troubles’ that may come with being a true Change Agent, don’t enter into this ‘fight’- you may not come out alive 🙂
The experiment was conducted in a lab, which was configured to spray cold ice water throughout the room when the ladder in the middle is touched. There were five monkeys in this experiment, and bananas on top of the ladder. The starved monkeys ran toward the ladder to reach the bananas as soon as they entered the lab. When they touched the ladder, all of them were sprayed with brutal cold ice water. The water was so cold that they immediately descended without grabbing the bananas. After a couple of trials with the same brutal cold ice water spray on all of the monkeys, they developed ‘group thinking’ and stopped trying to avoid the cruel cold-water spray.
Soon after, the spray was discontinued.
The monkeys would have enjoyed the bananas without being sprayed if they changed their mind and attempted to climb the ladder again.They didn’t. After awhile, one of the original monkeys was substituted with a new monkey. The latter didn’t have any clue about what was going on. When this newcomer ran toward the ladder to grab a banana, the four original monkeys attacked it thinking that the water spray treatment was still in place. The beating continued even if all the original monkeys, which witnessed the cold-water spray firsthand, were substituted- one by one- with new ones.
What these monkeys that defended the bananas knew was that they had been beaten the first time when they tried to do the same even if they didn’t know why. Afterward, they also watched other newcomers were trampled. Soon after, they joined the ‘group thinking’ and started to defend the bananas from new comers even if they didn’t have any clue why this beating started in the first place.
The same with culture; people zealously defend their respective culture including those unproductive cultural attributes without knowing why they were installed in the first place.
The moral of the story is culture is powerful because its inhabitants guard it obsessively, including those status quos that prevent the society/team from advancing.
I’ve studied the dominant cultures in the world as I prepared to facilitate workshops on diversity, change management, and as I consulted organizations in configuring (reconfiguring) their corporate culture and aligning their people and processes along side their corporate shared values. These opportunities gave me to realize that this is a universal reality. Every culture (whether societal or corporate) has ‘worshippers’- status quo maintainers. They get you in line if they perceive that you don’t worship as they do with the same commitment they’ve toward the culture.
Whatsoever great and positive name you may give your change agendas, and whatever extraordinary outcomes you may promise to the dwellers, the majority’s default response is an emphatic NO! Your innocent, genuine, and passionate drive to change things around for good may be taken as disrespect to their ‘god’.
Here is the truth- there’s no true transformation without reforming a culture. This tremendous task, however, requires bold and courageous leaders who need to find ways to increase the awareness of their people about both positive and negative influences of the culture in bringing lasting changes. That is why Change Agents should be aware of this truth, and should make a conscious decision whether they would like to proceed as true change agents to transform their community, organization, and society. If they do so, congrats! But they should be skillful in gaining buy-in from the majority or else, prepare to face ‘beatings’ like the monkeys 🙂
Since Adam, the majority of humanity has perfected its craft in blaming others or circumstances for anything that goes wrong. By default, many of us have readily available excuses for our failings.
If you’re not convinced, just watch your next couple of conversations, or the conversations of others, especially when things go south. I bet you would immediately discover the main theme of these conversations- Something or someone out there is the culprit.
It’s counterintuitive and against our nature to take ownership of both our successes and failings.
We quickly point our fingers somewhere or at someone when something goes wrong. Very few people point their fingers toward self first. These individuals aren’t naive nor out of touch. Even if there are some compounding factors- people and situations- that contributed for missing some important milestones on the road to their destiny, they understand that the lion share of their failing is authored by self. They are also fully aware of the existence of some driving forces beyond their control that may make their journey toward their destiny rough.
One thing, those who take ownership of where they are in life, don’t do is pointing their fingers toward third parties- things and people, outside of their circle of influence. They deeply understand that the only person they have 100% control is self. They believe that if they master self, there is no foe outside that can sabotage their success. That is why they don’t point their finger outwardly, even toward those apparent challenges facing them on a daily basis. They take ownership and outgrow their circumstances.
When you stop blaming others and circumstances, you redirect and invest that energy to grow yourself on a consistent basis. The challenge that looks like Mount Everest today melts down (even bows down in front of you) tomorrow if you just decide to outgrow it. Whatever or whoever is standing on your way, ignore it and be busy working on yourself. Before you know it, the thing that frightened you in the past soon appears like a decoy, and you begin to wonder why you scared of it in the first place.
At Success Pathways, we are committed to work with leaders who are passionate about developing soft skills that empower them to master self, get along with, and influence others…
Mount Everest stands tall as the world’s highest mountain at 29, 029 ft. Out of billions of humanity, a little more than 4000 people have stood at its top. Many of these climbers prepared for years, or at least months, before stepping their feet near to this giant creature. They knew what was at stake! Close to 300 people have died so far attempting to climb this gigantic mountain. Those who climbed Everest had disciplined themselves first- they did their homework prior to taking on Everest.
Here is a paradox. Many of us don’t believe that we could actually able to climb the world’s towering mountain. And therefore, we don’t bid to try at all. But, almost all of us have had ‘mountains’ in life that we would like to climb. What is (are) your mountain (s)? Of course, your mountain is different than someone else’s. Many of us may be ambitious and our mountain in life is grander than Everest. There is nothing wrong in being ambitious as far as we are willing to match our efforts with the size of our dream.
For that matter, some of you who are reading this blog might have already climbed your DREAM Mountain and retired. Some of you might have already climbed that giant mountain (s), and now look forward to conquer another one (s). Some of you might be climbing it and very close to the top. In all cases, congrats! You’ve done your homework, and now you’re reaping the benefits of self-mastery.
For those of us who haven’t begun yet or at the base of our mountain, it isn’t too late to stop wherever we are, come down, and regroup and do our homework first if we haven’t yet. It’s okay to restart. It’s a better choice (or strategy) than to reach close to the top and return to the base, or worst, die in the process of trying to climb our mountain because we haven’t first disciplined to control and master ourselves enough. If we review the lives of those who conquered their mountains- like those who climbed Everest, they did their homework first (disciplined themselves) before endeavoring to climb their mountain, which was outside of their control.
A butterfly that is flying high in this ‘brutal’ environment today wouldn’t have made it thus far if it failed as a caterpillar to break through its little, safe, and comfortable world (it’s shell) first. Likewise, to be successful (climb your mountain) and fly high (like the butterfly), in this highly competitive world, you need to master Self 1st like the caterpillar.
As a coach, consultant, and corporate trainer, one of my jobs is to empower leaders develop self-mastery. Using well developed and tested concepts, approaches, tools, processes, and assessments, I train leaders to increase their self-awareness, learn how to manage their emotions, time and energy, and solve problems creatively and make tough decisions ethically. I strongly believe that those leaders who have self-mastery are the ones that are effective to get along with, and lead others. What do you think?
Unfortunately, unlike the caterpillar, life allows humanity to fly even if it hasn’t yet fully developed and broken through its shell first. It’s common to witness people who haven’t spent enough time to lead Self first struggling to work with and lead others. And when that happens, most of the times, the results aren’t pretty!
Whether you’re a leader or a professional, or a business owner, or someone who is passionate about climbing a ‘mountain’ for fun or entertainment or just to see how far you could climb, if you overcome the unruly and undisciplined inner world first, you will definitely climb your ‘mountain’ in the outside world, which is more brutal, competitive, unforgiving, and deadly.
The question is, do you aspire to be great and mount your own ‘Everest’ one day? Begin with self-mastery! Win yourself first before you attempt to win the outside world. Start overcoming those things that are within your reach and control first. When you outgrow yourself and the little environment you are in right now (your shell), you could fly high and attain your dream. It’s a matter of time!
Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
In his classic book entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People”, the late Stephen Covey popularized the Important/Urgent Matrix. Covey noted that many people spend the majority of their time in Quadrant I tackling urgent and important things like meeting deadlines, addressing immediate heath issues, working to pay bills, and so on. On the other hand, highly effective people save time from other quadrants and spend it on the 2nd Quadrant- Important but Not Urgent. People in this quadrant consciously invest their time to prepare, prevent, plan, strategize, grow, and so on.
If you’re reading this article, I’m sure you’re a person who invests in Quadrant II. The only question I’ve for you is how much percent of your time is dedicated toward this quadrant, more specifically toward personal growth. Sadly, even if some people are committed to their personal development, when the going gets tough (When Quadrant I hassles for more time), they find themselves out of time, and thus, they first cut time from the 2nd Quadrant. On the other hand, when highly effective people are faced with the same pressure, they uphold the time they dedicated to Quadrant 2. They rather carve out sometime from Quadrant III & IV.
In my book, “The 9 Cardinal Building Blocks: For continued Success in Leadership”, I shared the story of the late Nelson Mandela who worked on his personal development on a consistent basis. Here is the excerpt: “…Mandela read many books and journals while in prison that contributed to his success in statesmanship. He used his underground moments to grow, plan, reflect, and strategize…He had grown himself proportionately: His body through regular exercise, his mind through reading, studying, reflecting, and his spirit via conviction…”
Mandela had outgrown the dire challenges he faced, and effectively led South Africans from Apartheid to democracy, inspired the world with his extraordinary endurance, forgiveness, and love, which cannot be attained without relentless growth. You don’t need to go to jail, or be a statesman to grow like him.
Don’t get overwhelmed and spend your quality time in just Quadrant I to deal with urgent things. Don’t also spend too much time in Quadrant III & IV. Save a fraction of time you spend in the remaining 3 Quadrants, and invest on your personal growth. Personal growth has ripple effects. Your quality of life increases as you keep growing. I like what Plutarch said, “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” The more you grow inwardly, you see excellent results outwardly in other aspects of your life such as on your health, relationships, work performance, and more.
Let me ask you. In which quadrants do you spend the majority of your time? Write down the percentage of time you expend on each quadrant. For your information, highly effective people deliberately save time from other quadrants, especially from Quadrant III & IV, and devote it into Quadrant II. When you get a chance, come up with an action plan on how you could save time for Quadrant II, and then dedicate ample time to grow in the different aspects of your life.