Perception, connection, and self-awareness, oh my!
Do others perceive you the same way that you perceive yourself? If your answer is yes, how are you sure? If your answer is no, why not? Either way, have you thought about how this may be costing you? How it may be holding you back? Or what it may be doing to you professionally and personally?
As a success coach leading a consulting and training business, one of the most common questions I get asked is, “What things differentiate the most Successful people from others?”
Recently, I was asked this again during a speaking engagement on leadership. Ironically, it made me smile since this area is where we invest great amounts of time with clients. There are many answers to that question – however, the single most common one is self-awareness. – this is one of the things that clearly differentiates Successful People from those who are not as Successful.
Perception vs. reality
So, how does self-awareness fit into success, and why is it important? Have you ever met someone who says, “I am a great listener,” then talks non-stop for 20 minutes about how great of a listener they are?
Most people would agree that this person is not self-aware. However, this is only an example of the most obvious challenges people have with Self-Awareness. It is an extremely common issue that tends to hold many people back.
To ensure we are on the same page, let’s define self-awareness. It is the true understanding of your strengths, your weaknesses, and the gaps between them, as well as at least a basic concept of how this may be holding you back.
This definition often frightens people when they read and begin to understand it. Each of these areas is an issue for many individuals. Many people believe they have a grasp on their strengths, but I would disagree.
Think of the “I am a great listener” example above. As we get to weaknesses (I prefer to call them opportunities for improvement), we typically see where self-awareness breaks down. The gap between these and the concept of how this is costing you or holding you back is completely foreign to most people.
So why is this so important? It all boils down to this – others connect with us, or not – based on what THEY see as our strengths, weaknesses, and gaps – not on what we see in ourselves. How we perceive ourselves is not important in this equation – UNLESS it is exactly the same as they perceive us – which ties right back to self-awareness.
Investing in self-awareness
If you have yet to spend some time studying and investing in your own self-awareness, you are likely on the losing end of this issue. There are many resources to help you with this, and each of them starts with you doing something. Buy a book, re-read this column, ask others (you trust) to share what they see in you, take some behavioral assessments, or hire a coach. Those are just a few that come to mind.
If you do not – you will be the same as the person who said, “I am a great listener,” but wasn’t.
So let me ask – how dialed into your self-awareness are you? How sure are you of the way other people perceive you? How much is that gap costing you? If you do not know or do not like your answers – you should find a business growth consultant who can support you in elevating your performance.
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About Mike Crandall
Mike Crandall lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and Author focused on the Subconscious Psychology of Human Interaction and Motivation. His firm specializes in Elevating Leadership, Management, & Sales Performance for Proactive Business Growth. Mike is based in Oklahoma and serves Visionary Clients across the United States. He can be reached at (405) 844-1700.