In the midst of a crisis, the most valuable skill you can have, one that will greatly serve your business, your wellbeing, and your relationships is self-awareness.
So let’s start by understanding the true definition of self-awareness:
'It's the conscious knowledge and intimate understanding of our character, feelings and behaviours and the patterns by which we operate.'
The keyword here is patterns.
Self-awareness is the ability to know your patterns so well that you can be response-able and consciously respond instead of unconsciously react.
Ready for a surprising fact?
According to a study done by organisational psychologist Tasha Eurich, 95% of us believe we're self-aware when in reality the number is closer to 10-15%.
Wow! That's a staggering misjudgment that is both scary and exciting.
It’s scary because self-awareness underpins our ability to see clearly. Without the self-awareness to see what's holding us back, we can’t move forward.
On the flip side, it’s exciting because it shows just how much potential is available to us, waiting for us to claim.
Lack of self-awareness is like trying to clean your windows in the dark. You know they’re dirty, but you have no idea where to start. On the other hand, self-awareness shines a light on exactly the areas we need to clean up.
Here are 3 steps for cultivating self-awareness to move you from surviving to thriving during a crisis:
Step 1: Full Body Awareness
We are often painfully unaware of our bodies. Which means we often think our bodies as merely a vehicle that moves us from here to there. But our bodies are powerful guides that can help us if we tune in to them. When you encounter a triggering event (more bad news, an argument with your spouse, a child's tantrum when you're already late for work), take a moment to bring your attention inward to notice what’s happening in your body. Maybe your neck feels tight or you're breathing more rapidly. Full body awareness takes us out of knee-jerk response mode and into a more resourceful state where we are acting from our power instead of our fear.
Step 2: Notice Your Thoughts
What are the dominant thoughts that arise when a stressful incident triggers you? Notice the quality of your thoughts and the old familiar rabbit holes you jump down. Examine the inner dialogue. Have you heard those words, stories, thoughts before? Chances are, you have. What words or phrases frequently reappear? It’s important not to judge yourself but be a witness to it so next time you can consciously choose different thoughts.
Step 3: Notice your Reactions
Most of us have a similar response or series of reactions when we're triggered. Perhaps you overeat and binge on sugar, pour yourself a strong one and numb yourself by watching too much TV. Or maybe you distract yourself with excessive shopping or over-exercising. Notice what your "go-to" reactions are when you're triggered and then name it.
It’s not about judging yourself! Awareness doesn't judge; it just is. It’s simply about noticing so you can choose new responses.
Self-judgment is harsh. Self-awareness is neutral. And it’s that neutrality that allows you to look at yourself openly, recognising your limitations with compassion. It’s a powerful practice!
During this time, a journaling and mindfulness practice like Dailygreatness is a powerful way to utilise positive psychology methods to alleviate overwhelm, stress and anxiety -- while giving you much needed ‘timeout’ from your devices.
When you ignite a willingness to explore your inner world and practice this 3-step process, you can more easily let go of fear and courageously navigate this crisis.