“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – C.G. Jung
The more you understand yourself and the reasons behind your actions the more can be learned about your special abilities, which will help you earn a better living. Your awareness of your capabilities will help in reaching your full potential in life. Take a look at the people around you, consider their behaviours and their common attitude, what don’t you like? What do you wish they changed about their life, their way of thinking? There’s no need to voice your opinion, this exercise is not meant to start drama or cause family feuds. Simply use your observations towards improving your thoughts, life and career.
For example, there is a colleague at work who constantly complaints about their work . For about six months, I have listened and empathized with their negative attitude, negative comments, complaints and lack of skill to see the bigger picture. In the meantime, I am there with choices, the colleague is giving me an opportunity to reflect on myself and what I would do in their situation. My reflections are:
- I can agree with them and say something along the lines of “yeah it totally sucks, I know how you feel”
- I can probe about what they’re currently doing to improve their situation? Are they posting out for a new job? Are they taking on extra projects to show management their willingness to be more involved?
- Is this negative attitude affecting their chances of fixating a new position? Have the managers noticed their poor behaviour and are steering clear?
- Are they affecting the other colleagues’ environment and possibly influencing others to think the same way?
These questions spring up from my self-conscience to help me decide whether I accept this person’s way of thinking. I am able to observe rather than absorb my colleague’s behaviour and draw conclusions.
— Elisa All (@elisatalk) June 11, 2015
I have decided to think just the opposite of the colleague’s thoughts. If I were in their position, instead of taking on a negative attitude I would strive to show I am capable of more. I would take on extra projects, volunteer to run a committee or train a group of new hires, etc. only to showcase capabilities and pave the way for my potential new role.
“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” – Car Jung
This attitude is bound to get you noticed in positive light, there’s a higher chance management will consider you before the position is even available. This self awareness will not only increase your paycheque, but will show others you are present, persistent, hardworking, and forward thinking, which will make you an asset to the company. Had I chosen my colleague’s way of thinking, I would have been just as miserable.
Of course everyone has moments where we feel down or discouraged, however it’s important to recognize these as just moments, not behaviours. Moments pass and life goes back to normal, behaviours are consistent attitudes, which will determine your path in life.
Can Self-Awareness Be Taught Or Trained?
Sure it can. Reflect and think about what people are saying around you on regular basis. You can reflect on negative or positive attitudes. Take what you’ve learned and apply it in your own work.
Self-awareness is not an ability, it’s a consistent behaviour that is applied on a regular basis. For example, my friend works in home renovations and has a helper (assistant). My friend has observed a consistent behaviour from the helper. Whenever the helper is faced with a challenging task, he begins to discuss how difficult it will be and how much he doubts the task will ever be done on time. Although it is good to recognize a challenge, discussing the empty negatives will only set you behind and make the task harder to complete. The helper’s thinking must be focused on the positives, on the solutions and the ways to make the challenge simple and attainable.
The more time is spent on figuring out how to complete the challenge, the closer you will be to getting it done. Consistency is key in becoming self aware, practice reflecting on your thoughts and observations on a daily basis.
Applying Self-Awareness to Business Practices
Getting a mentor would be a great start to applying self-awareness to your career. A mentor will not tell you what to do, a mentor should discuss business options, such as the pros and cons of a decision, where the decision may potentially lead you, a mentor will speak form experience in life and career, a mentor will help in reflections and decisions.
It is also helpful to set career goals for your self, make a plan and work towards this goal on a daily basis. Set out specific action items and activities for yourself to ensure you are getting closer to the goal.
For example, if you want to be an Assistant Vice President (AVP) in an insurance company, here is an example of steps you may take to get to your dream role:
- apply for all insurance positions you find and wait up to 6 months for a reply
- send out resumes and cover letters to the hiring managers throughout the 6 months
- once you’re hired, do your best and set a goal to apply for a higher role after one year
- volunteer to lead special projects and committees to show your eagerness and management skills throughout the year in the role
- discuss your goal with your manager during coaching, on a monthly basis
- take extra management courses and seminars throughout the year in the role
- on a regular basis, network with other senior managers by inviting them for coffee or scheduling a 15 min chat to discuss their position and what it takes
- Once the next higher role is attained, continue to follow these steps until you become an AVP or even higher, consistency, strategic actions and positive attitude is key
Depending on what role you aim to attain, set the number of years in which you expect to reach your destination. The smaller the company, the more difficult it may be to get promoted, due to fewer positions available.
Awareness of your thoughts and actions will teach you how to avoid being stuck in a rut, how to continue to push your abilities, earn a better living, be a better person and succeed not only financially but overall in life.
Tailor the above steps to your specific goal, be persistent and consistently aware of your actions and you’re bound for financial success.