Self Awareness Feed

Me vs. Me: The Battlefield of the Mind

Have you ever felt as if you weren't normal because you seemed to fight with yourself all the time? For instance, you might battle between making a quick decision and wanting more data. Or you may be the life of the party and then later wish you hadn't been so trusting when you divulged all of those funny stories about yourself.

Worry no more about having a split personality.

There is nothing wrong with you, you just have inner or "Me-Me" conflict.

I often see conflicting behavioral and/or motivational styles on my clients' assessments and experience plenty of my own inner conflict between goal achievement (tasks) and relationship building (people).

The good news for the mindful conflicted soul is that inner conflict makes it easier to see things from a variety of perspectives.

Embrace your inner conflict as a strength that helps you adapt easier than others!

When it comes to personalities, with or without inner conflict, the most important thing is knowing ourselves inside and out so we can adapt our behavior when necessary to obtain the best outcomes. Self-knowledge is power, especially in the heat of the battle of life.

How well do you know your instinctive behavioral patterns? What are you doing with that knowledge to leverage who you are, where you are? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

If you want to learn more, a complimentary consultation might benefit either you or your team. What are you waiting for? Click the link below to schedule your consultation today.

Making a Change? Assess, Then Act

Self-knowledge plays a significant role in a leader's effectiveness. Knowing ourselves intimately so we can recognize our strengths, values and shortcomings enables us to lead authentically with confidence, and equips us to adapt swiftly to new roles.  

How well do you know what makes you "tick"? If a new job opportunity came your way, how sure would you be that it was the right job for you? How quickly would you be able to identify the skills you need to learn and the skills you need to "lose" that might hinder you in your new role?  

Following are three steps you can take to leverage knowledge about yourself and your situation in order to become more effective.  

1. Objectively assess yourself and your current situation. What would your perfect work environment be? What motivates you? What talents do you bring to the table?  

2. Identify the gaps between who you are and what your situation or new role requires. If your new situation could speak for itself, what would it say it needed from you? What would need to change with you to deliver on the situation's "request"?  

3. Create an action plan for closing any gaps between you and your new role/situation.  

Don't take change or new responsibilities lightly. Assess yourself and the situation before you take action. If you do, you'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run - for everyone. 

NOTE: To view the first post in this series, "Survive the Role Transition: Be Strategic", click here.

Need help identifying your strengths or getting started in a new role? Contact me today for a complimentary consultation to see how assessments or role transition coaching might help take your skills to the next level.


The Journey to Authentic Leadership: Examine Your Story

The difference with authentic leaders lies in the way they frame their stories.  Their life stories provide the context for their lives, and through them they find their passion and inspiration to to make an impact on the world. (Bill George, True North, p. 15)

Have you ever stopped to consider how your unique story has shaped and equipped you to impact those around you? No one has a story exactly the same as yours.  Our individual journeys, with their peaks and valleys, shape the way we live and lead. Both our personal and professional experiences develop our leadership gifts over time.

Each life experience teaches us about our passion to lead.

Today I'm going to share with you an exercise called the "Path of Life", that gave me tremendous insights into my own leadership style. Drawing the path of our lives enables us to examine the impact of our past upon our present and future. Are you ready to learn?

Take a piece of paper and start in the bottom left corner, labeling the starting point of the line "Birth".  Then draw the path of your life from there to the upper right corner.  Put some twists and turns on the page.  Be creative as you let your life story unfold before you.  Label the milestones - places you have lived, significant achievements, relationships, family, life-changing lessons learned... anything that is important to you.  Draw some pictures to represent the events on the timeline of your life.
When you are finished, look at your path and divide it into four or five chapters marked by significant events in your life.  Give each chapter a descriptive title and label the chapters on your path.  Your life story has made you into the person you are today. 

My life story has taught me to lead with more compassion and less judgment. What about yours? How can you better use it to impact your world tomorrow? Share with us in a comment by clicking the comment link below. 

Capitalize on Your Pain

No one likes to suffer loss or face troubling circumstances, yet painful times produce the most fertile learning soil. Think about it. When we are happy, we don't often ask "why" and desire things to change. We want things to stay as they are. We think quite the opposite when things don't go our way.
Pain is an opportunity for positive change. I'm often heard saying to my clients, "If you are in a terrible situation, you might as well use it as opportunity to learn something." What pain might you learn from today?
The next time you find yourself wondering "why me?", instead ask yourself the following questions and take time to write out your answers:

  • What was my part in the situation?
  • What does my response to the situation say about who I am? Do I need to change?
  • How might this circumstance be used to prepare me for future endeavors?
  • What core beliefs or values of mine are being challenged?
  • How might what I believe need to change to more accurately reflect reality?

True transformation requires changing who you are so you can change what you do, and produces significant, lasting change. Transformation happens when we embrace what we don't enjoy and instead use those times as inner growth opportunities. 

To what life circumstance might you apply the above questions to today? What works for you? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Making Choices: Thoughtful Thursday

None of us will ever have time to do all that we want to do or need to do when we want to do everything. That's why it is so important to have a process in place to enable us to make the best choices for what to do.

Today's quote for Thoughtful Thursday will challenge you to be thoughtful about doing. To best do, we must stop doing. Here's the quote:

You have more to do than you can possibly do.You just need to feel good about your choices.- David Allen

Think on these questions today and share your thoughts if you like. We are all in this together!

  • How do you decide what to do next?
  • How often do you say "yes" to the good choice rather than the BEST choice?
  • How could your decision making process be refined so you do more of the BEST?

Time Management 101: Start with Reality

No one has enough time to do all the things they want to do. No one. Don't believe me? Take a few minutes to list all the things on your mind you want to do or have to do. Think about your list and consider the fact that your list will grow today and tomorrow and the next day. Your list is a snapshot, not a movie.

Great leaders know the importance of time, that every moment in time is unrepeatable.

Time doesn't stop for us to complete our lists and once it is gone we can never get it back. Yet, time is fair. Each of us get the same amount of time to work with - 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. Do you know where your time goes? Are you investing or spending it?  

Today I'd like to challenge you to participate in an exercise I propose to nearly all of my clients interested in better time management.  Excellent time management starts with a harsh examination of reality.

Step #1. Monitor your time in 10 minute increments for a two week period.

Step #2. Summarize your findings. Create a list of categories that describe your daily activities.

Step #3. Assess your results. What did you discover about yourself? What would you like to change? How does the way you spend your time align with your core values or top priorities?

Once you honestly complete this exercise you will know your current reality. It is what it is. Then you can diagnose inefficiencies in your schedule and make changes to open up space for what really matters most to you. This could be the start of something amazing in your life. Are you ready for it?

If you try the exercise, come back and share your findings with us. If you've done this before, feel free to share your experiences in a comment. We love to hear from you!


Self Leadership: Lead yourself to success

Great leadership starts with self leadership. If we can't conduct our own lives effectively, we can't effectively lead others. Think about this. How inspired are you to follow someone who:

  • Never completes a project or achieves a goal
  • Always has an excuse for everything
  • Lives in continual disarray, or
  • Displays poor interpersonal skills?

Most likely, you've cringed at some or all of the above statements. What person in your life comes to mind right now? How effective are you in the skills that would prevent such words from describing you?

Self leadership starts with knowing yourself intimately, commonly known in the coaching world as self awareness. Interestingly enough, self awareness is one of the most lacking skills in leaders today. Most of us tend to see the world through our own dirty glasses, not realizing how we really stack up to true greatness.

Once you know yourself - your strengths, weaknesses, behavior tendencies and motivators - you can begin to lead yourself to success. Following are some ways to become more self aware:

  • Take some behavioral/personality/skills assessments from a reputable provider/coach and develop some action steps based on what learn about yourself.
  • Ask for honest feedback from a trusted adviser, peers or subordinates on specific strategic areas you need to succeed. (Note: A 360 degree assessment can provide this for you and guarantee anonymity for your reviewers) 
  • Get serious about writing that personal mission or life purpose statement. 

Finally, live life with an open mind and remember that oftentimes other people know you better than you know yourself. Listen to what they are really saying about you and then lead yourself to become what you were created to be.

What will you do today to know yourself better? What tools have worked for you in the past?  As always, we'd love to hear from you in a comment!

If you would like to learn more about yourself through assessments and develop some skills from what you learn, that's what I help people do. Call me for a complimentary consultation today at 913-219-7844! 

Character Growth Through Introspection

Leadership starts with yourself, with who you are...your character. What we are on the inside eventually makes its way to the "outside" for all the world to see and react to, affecting our effectiveness in influencing others. How often do you take the time to reflect on integrity of your character? Today I will share some questions to help you evaluate who you really are.

Several years ago, I participated in a leadership development program focusing on becoming a person of influence. Within one of the lessons was a set of questions to be used in daily reflection as a self exam for exemplary character. I've not found a better list since.

Be warned, these questions pack quite a punch if you take them seriously! If you are up to the challenge, read on and then consider using these questions daily to take your character "pulse".

Questions for Daily Introspection*

  1. Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I hypocrite?
  2. Am I honest in all my acts and words, or do I exaggerate?
  3. Do I confidentially pass on to another what was told to me in confidence?
  4. Can I be trusted?
  5. Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
  6. Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
  7. Did I live out my faith or my core values today?
  8. When did I last encourage someone?
  9. Did I get to bed on time and get up on time?
  10. Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
  11. Am I defeated in any part of my life?
  12. Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
  13. Is the way I'm spending my spare time contributing to my overall life purpose?
  14. Am I proud? Would other people see me as proud or arrogant?
  15. Am I thankful I am not like other people (an indicator of pride)?
  16. Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard? If so, what I am I doing about it?
  17. Do I grumble or complain constantly?

Character counts. The better people we are the better our people can become.

Now I'd like to know what you thought of these questions. How would you make the list better? Share your thoughts in a comment!

*Source: Adapted from John Wesley's Holy Club, Introspective questions

Leadership and Management: The Balancing Act

What if everyone around you thrived on creating new ideas, initiating change and forging ahead to greater heights with reckless abandon? To the contrary, what if everyone was complacent and comfortable in the status quo? Can you picture the scene?

My guess is that in the former, everyone would on the verge of cardiac arrest from the chaotic environment, while in the latter, it would be Siesta time, all the time. Neither hypothesis would be very profitable or sustainable in the long term, demonstrating that both skills of leading and managing contribute to the success of any organization.

Simply stated, if everyone leads, no one will manage. If everyone manages, no one will lead. Great leaders know when and how to lead AND manage.

Both leaders and managers are important in their own ways. Without the leadership skills of casting vision and initiating change, forward progress stalls. Without the management skills of implementation and administration, great ideas go nowhere. Great teams have a blend of all types of behavior styles, with each person operating in their strengths for the greater good of the whole.

"To lead or to manage?", that is the question. The answer is "Yes". Know the situation. Know yourself. Know your team. Balance your people knowledge with an understanding of your organizational mission and you'll have a recipe for success!

How do you balance the strengths and weakness of your team? How well do you know your own strengths and weaknesses? What one step will you take today to increase your effectiveness? Share your goals and ideas with us in a comment so we can learn from each other.

If you would like help in identifying your strengths/weakness and modifying your behavior to enhance your communication/leadership influence, coaching with some assessment tools may be for you. Contact me today for a complimentary consultation.

How Thick Is Your Lense of Self?

Just because we can physically see doesn't mean we can't also be blind. While most clients agree that the assessments I use are at least 85% accurate, each time I coach someone a behavior or strengths assessment, at some point in the debrief, I still hear the comment, "I don't think I'm really like this". The stark reality is that other people often see our behaviors better than we do!

In today's fast-paced culture, most of us don't take the time to intentionally get to know ourselves and how our behavior impacts other people. We tend to look at the world through the fog of self, living on autopilot and assuming that everyone automatically thinks the same way we do. When others behave in ways we personally would not act, we deem them irrational or ignorant, resulting in more internal frustration and outward conflict than necessary.

The good news is that clarity trumps emotion. With a little education and observation, we gain an understanding of ourselves and others. We learn that different isn't bad or "stupid", just different. Better communication ensues and much of the conflict melts away. Finally, we see things as they truly are.

How well do you konw yourself? How do you react when someone tells you something about your behavior that you don't want to hear? The next time it happens, ask yourself "How could that be me?" and you might just learn something new about yourself.