The Challenge of Self-Awareness

About a week ago I went in for a mentoring session provided by a local education program. Forty minutes later, I left the meeting devasted, dejected and crushed.

I had entered the meeting confident and all too eager to hear how good I was going to do. I had a brand new business idea. I knew it could work. Even if the two that had failed so spectacularly.

In the time it takes someone to eat a nice dinner, two people, whom I had never met before, keenly diagnosed two problems I’ve battled against for years. Two issues I didn’t even know I had.

1. Focus.
2. People Skills.

What makes this story even better is that I thought I was self-aware. If you had asked me the day before who I was, I would proudly exclaim all the positive attributes about myself. Most of which are still true, but it’s a shocking realization to learn how little you know about yourself.

Self-awareness is challenging. Confidence tricks us into thinking were know who we are. I was confident after all. Heck, I even thought I was a great software developer. A cut above the rest. But would other people have said this about me? That is the real test of self-awareness.

Self-awareness is the alignment of your perception of yourself and another person’s perception.

If you think you’re self-aware, then test it. Find ten people you have known for a long time. Ask them what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. Ensure you both are in an environment that feels safe and ask them kindly to be blunt.

But make sure you’re prepared for the truth. It can hurt.