Self-awareness is what makes human beings as a species fundamentally different to others.

It is self-awareness that allows us to go beyond simply doing; to reflect on what it is we are doing, how we are doing it and why we might be doing it. It is self-awareness that allows us to see the implications of our behaviours, both on ourselves and others. And it is self-awareness that allows us to recognise the influences and belief systems that shape our behaviours.

The pressures of busy home and work lives can often thrust us into ‘doing mode’. We can end-up moving from one activity to the next without being fully and wholeheartedly engaged. As innate as self-awareness is to the human condition, we can allow ourselves to forget this. We can fall out of the habit of being aware! It is then a habit we may have to re-cultivate.

Self-awareness is not about setting aside 10 minutes a day for reflection (although this may be a start). It is ultimately about a way of being. Indeed, I would say it is the single most important thing I support my coaching clients to develop.

Ask yourself the tough questions

Below are a few examples of awareness raising questions you could ask yourself, particularly when dealing with difficult organisational and personal issues:

  • How is my behaviour impacting me and others?
  • What are the recurring patterns in my behaviour?
  • How do I feel about my actions?
  • How do others feel about my actions?
  • Have I fully acknowledged the roles of others involved?
  • Have I been fully acknowledged by others?
  • What is within/beyond my control?
  • What lens am I viewing the situation/world through?
  • What are the belief systems/experiences that have shaped my lens?
  • What do I know about the lenses of others?
  • Why exactly am I doing what I am doing?

In the end, it is only through greater self-awareness that we can begin to more deeply understand ourselves and others. It is also the basis for creating lasting personal change. Without awareness we would truly be lost.