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5 steps to improving your self-awareness

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Anne George | Mar 8, 2018 | Photograph by: unknown

Being self-aware can have a positive impact on every part of your life – from your relationships, to your confidence and contentment, to your ability to shine in your career. If you really know what you’re good at, you’ll be clear about the type of job that will best suit your personality and skills.

The greatest leaders claim that being in touch with themselves and knowing their strengths and limitations have been core to their success.

Of course, you can probably immediately think of people in your life or workplace who seem to be sincerely lacking in this area. If you’ve observed the things that certain people do and say you might wonder how they could be so short-sighted! You’ve doubtless seen the effect their behaviour has on people, or the eye rolling that is going on behind their backs, and are amazed that they’re so unaware.

So, how can you avoid this and become more self-aware? Here are 5 tips to help you know yourself better.


1. Develop emotional intelligence

These days, many people will tell you that your emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than your IQ. If you truly know yourself and the effect you’re having on other people, this will definitely improve the quality of your relationships.

Try to identify what your emotional triggers are. For example, what makes you lose your temper on a regular basis, or when do you often find yourself feeling defeated and wanting to give up? Recognising your emotions and how they affect your behaviour is hugely important in developing strong self-awareness.


2. Get control of your emotions

The better you understand yourself, the more you can change your responses. This is empowering, because you won’t simply respond in a knee-jerk way to what happens to you, but will have control over your emotions and will be able to make more informed choices.

If you’re truly self-aware and know that you react a certain way in a specific situation, you can prepare yourself or protect yourself by trying to avoid those circumstances.


3. Take stock of what’s important to you – know your barriers

This is the type of advice that most parents tend to give their children! When you know what you stand for, what your values are, and what is important to you, you’re well on the road to becoming self-aware. This means that you’ll make conscious choices that are in line with how you feel and, most important, are true to your authentic self. This might take some practice, but it’s a vital part of developing self-knowledge and maintaining your self-esteem.


4. Take time to reflect

In an ever busier world, it’s vital to take time to stop and think. Meditating is a great way to make time to breathe and connect deeply with who you really are – what your goals, aspirations, fears etc are. This links in with being authentic and understanding what motivates you.


5. Be open to feedback

This is probably the most important step you can take. Almost everyone has their blind spots. Fortunately, your blind spots are hidden only to you – while others can see what you’re unaware of. What this means is that there are people around you who have advice to help you become more self-aware.

When you’re stuck in certain mindsets and behaviours, it can be incredibly helpful to have people help by pointing out some of the patterns that are limiting your progress. A crucial aspect of this is to assess how you receive feedback. If you’re the type of person who reacts defensively to constructive criticism and truly hates hearing anything negative, be assured that people are unlikely to risk your wrath by telling you what you need to hear.

Generally, self-awareness means being in close touch with your personality, your emotions, your values, and so on. Building self-awareness is not something that is ‘done’ – it’s usually a life-long effort. Take time to really know yourself and you’ll find that you manage your stress more effectively, can motivate yourself and others, and improve your decision making. It’s really worth making the effort.




Natalie Hughes founded Miss Independent in 2017, to educate and mentor women and help them make their best career and business decisions. Natalie is an experienced business woman and non-executive company director focused on organisational design, strategy, growth and innovation. Her goal is to help you think differently, work differently and feel in control of your own destiny.

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