There are so many different skills that experts say can help you attain professional success. Some are especially valued in some lines of work, but don’t matter much in others. But, some of the most important skills are extremely valuable regardless of industry.
Self-awareness is one of those most essential skills for any professional, regardless of what you do for a living. It can help lead to success in so many ways.
1. You’ll know your strengths.
When you know yourself, you know your strengths. This gives you a better understanding of the unique qualities you bring to your interactions with others and to your work. You can lean on your strengths during difficult times to help you, and others, get through.
2. You’ll know your weaknesses.
Similarly, it’s important to understand your weaknesses in order to continue to grow professionally. This is more difficult than it seems at first. It can be hard to take a good, honest look in the mirror. But, self-awareness can help you pinpoint what you need to improve.
How does self-awareness lead to success? You can't fix a problem until you know you have it.
3. You’ll know you’re only human.
We need to be self-aware enough to get that we’re only human in order to face our strengths and our weaknesses with maturity. When you develop self-awareness, it makes it easier to take the good with the bad, forgive yourself, and move forward.
4. You’ll better understand how other people see you.
Self-awareness can help improve your career because it makes it easier to understand how others see you. This is key for success. It’s essential to be aware of the perceptions of higher-ups, of course, but it’s also important to know how you come off when you’re working in a leadership capacity.
“Put simply, the qualities commonly associated with management and leadership – being authoritative, decisive, forceful, perhaps somewhat controlling, if not moderated by a high degree of awareness as to how one comes across and is perceived by others, are also qualities that have the potential to easily alienate those on the receiving end,” writes Victor Lipman at Forbes.
5. You’ll be a better leader.
In another Forbes article, Lipman addresses the important topic of leadership and self-awareness. He highlights a study that was conducted in 2010 by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. This study looked at 72 executives, and concluded that high self-awareness often correlates with achieving high degrees of success as a leader. Per the research:
Leadership searches give short shrift to ‘self-awareness,’ which should actually be a top criterion. Interestingly, a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success. This is not altogether surprising as executives who are aware of their weaknesses are often better able to hire subordinates who perform well in categories in which the leader lacks acumen. These leaders are also more able to entertain the idea that someone on their team may have an idea that is even better than their own.
6. You’ll understand others better.
Self-awareness goes a long way toward improving people-skills overall. Without it, you’re more likely to misunderstand situations and misread people. You learn to understand other people a little better once you yourself have become more self-aware. After all, how can you really have a mature understanding of what it’s like to be someone else if you don’t have a good understanding of your own experiences.
It’s often better to focus on your own actions rather than on others’, especially when trying to solve a problem. People who are self-aware start by examining what they can change, personally, in order to succeed. Others might begin by pointing a finger at others.
Self-awareness leads to self-responsibility. And, that goes a long way to support positive behaviors and positive interpersonal relationships. Chances are that developing better self-awareness will have a positive impact on your personal life, too.
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