Board Converting News, August 30, 2021

Does It Help To Be Self-Aware? BY MARK NEELY


One of the most interesting repeated discussions I’ve had over the thirty-something years during which I’ve been in-


volved in Training, Sales Manage- ment and Consulting relates to the subject of self-awareness. The basic question is, “Does having greater self-awareness add value or not?” There are very good argu- ments to justify both sides of that debate. Personally, I have consis-

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Mark Neely

tently tried to develop a greater degree of self-knowledge throughout my life but I’ve never been able to completely shake the doubt from the eaves of my consciousness re- garding this topic. As I am a firm believer in a life’s dedica- tion to growth, I typically land on the side of defending the pursuit of greater self-awareness as, without it, you never know where you are starting and so can never really be certain where you want to go, let alone plan a route to getting there. On the other hand, I have to admit that my relentless pursuit of a greater awareness of me has often led some others to find me tiresome. My favorite bit of feedback on this point was from a long-ago girlfriend who was break- ing up with me. When I asked her, “Why?” she quickly re- sponded, “Because being with you is like being in a room with all the lights on all the time!” I had to admit that that sounded pretty annoying. As she was walking away, down my driveway to her car, I called out in one last attempt to salvage the relationship, “I’ll let you know when I find the dimmer!” Sadly, for that relationship, I never did find the dimmer but since then I have tried to temper my pursuit of self-consciousness with greater awareness of others. So, for this article, I will try to lay out the two sides and see what they look like in comparison. To start, according to The Harvard Business Review , there are two types of self-awareness: Internal Self-Aware- ness, and External Self-Awareness. Internal Self-Aware- ness is determined by ourselves and is a self-assessment of what is going on inside of us; our thoughts, feelings, and how we perceive ourselves. Importantly, it also involves how well we know our own strengths, weaknesses, core values, priorities, passions, and desires. With a high de- gree of Internal Self-Awareness we are more likely to un- derstand who we are in relation to the world around us, grounding us while giving us stability and a centered ap- proach to tasks and people. External Self-Awareness has to do with how well we are aware of how others perceive us. This is very import- ant in dealing with relationships with others at home and at work. Typically, someone with high External Self-Aware- ness demonstrates greater empathy while also encour-


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August 30, 2021

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