5 ways to enhance self-awareness

It's important and wise to know your own strengths and boundaries, says Jacintha Jayachandran, founder, LeadNOW

By: Jacintha Jayachandran

The pace at which the working women seem to be living their lives in the current times, leaves little, if not no time at all, for self-reflection and self-awareness. While you may wonder, where is the time for this exercise and may be even what’s the point of the whole exercise? I want to share a personal example of knowing who you are and being aware of your strengths and your boundaries, if I may use the word, is actually the beginning of being wise.

Begin with listening to yourself

Your authentic voice is speaking to you all the time. It asks you questions, which may seem uncomfortable and may be even worrisome, but begin by listening. People who are authentic are by default, leaders. They have the courage to be who they are. The authentic voice gets strengthened when you listen to yourself and listen to every message. “When Suman Paul, one of the women who have inspired me with her story of courage and conviction spoke to me, she told that in her grief and sadness, she still chose only to listen to what her inner voice was telling her and she chose the path to recovery, healing and building a new life. It was soul stirring listening to her, and how she listened to her own voice.

Look at yourself and look within your own eyes

They tell you your story like none else. If you are smiling at yourself as you step away from your mirror in the morning, does it reflect a certain confidence and feel good. My 80-year-old aunt, will not step out of her home, without a good look at the mirror. Now her lipstick is a little all over the place and her eyebrow lines look like a cat’s whiskers with minimum three disjointed lines near her eyebrows. She has been a homemaker and raised 4 wonderful kids and lived her life on her terms. Knowing who she is and above all valuing who she is and always having the courage to stay true to that. “The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden; and like a mirror, they also reflect the person looking into them.” ― Paulo Coelho, Manuscript Found in Accra

Get a pulse check done on your confidence levels

Yesterday, I  was speaking to a person who is visually challenged and who works as a front desk executive, in a reputed organization. She introduced herself and spoke, not so much about her challenges, but about how she has a bag of her own tools to manage ambiguous situations in which her vision challenges could pose a problem. I was humbled, here was a woman, a mother of 2 daughters, who has only 5% vision, telling me how she can manage virtually any situation thrown at her, as she keeps creating her own coping tools, and she said “even in unfamiliar situations, I will quickly find solutions” Amen to that.

Find people who can be truthful and kind to you

Test your ability to find solutions in the most tricky situations. It’s the best way to discover your leadership potential. At work and at home do you have people with whom you can be vulnerable. Women always run the risk, having the onerous task to be perfect, managing everything and never dropping a ball. We really do belong in the circus, is the feeling that I get some times. Why do you need these people, because they can gently tell you, when you are not looking or doing OK? What else is self-awareness. Do you have friends and family members with whom you can just be who you are and who feel trusted enough to share their feedback with you, and that is a vital element in building self-awareness. Do you have people who can give you feedback and still do it with kindness?

Have a mentor with whom you can speak

Last and most importantly, have a mentor with whom you can speak about your limitations, because we all have them. Life is but a discovery of our great abilities and our boundaries and limitations. You can be limitless by knowing what your boundaries are and seeking partnerships and collaborations with others who have a strength where you have a limitation. It takes courage to recognize, be honest, declare and seek partnerships. Our workplaces would be so different if we could have these powerful and limitless conversations. Do you have such a mentor. If not, the first step to becoming more self-aware, is finding one such mentor.

To sum up, dear friends, listen to yourself, look into your own eyes, do a pulse check on your confidence levels in various situations, find people who can be truthful and kind to you and find a mentor, today, now as of this minute…


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