The Importance of Self-Awareness



Over the past few weeks, I have begun to work with new clients; we have had thoughtful conversations around my coaching method. When asked about my approach to coaching or what to expect as we engage in coaching, I begin with discussing the importance of self-awareness.
It makes sense; to define what we want to achieve or tackle the challenges or opportunities ahead of us, we need to understand who we are and where we are starting from. I promised you more photography analogies in the year ahead, so here we go.
It is all about asking questions that encourage you to look at your life through different lenses and angles.

Consider these when trying to become more self-aware:

My New Focus and Angles for 2022

I am blessed to be part of a growing community of coaches that I meet up with for virtual and real coffee throughout the year. I enjoy these conversations because they leave me feeling reenergized and challenge me to think differently. For example, after a recent call with a colleague, I began to think about the last two questions above.
There was one particular discussion that I was struck by on values and what is important to me. So much so that I forgot to close the call after the conclusion, and it took a few minutes to realize I was staring at my reflection on the screen.
With a smile on my face, I looked into the virtual mirror; I thought about those questions and watched my reflection as I thought about the answers.
I had been incredibly busy, and a bit distracted at the end of the year. As I was working with clients, exploring a new opportunity to grow as a coach, and dealing with the uncertainty of a health issue, I just needed some time to slow down and reflect.
As I shut off the camera, I realized that despite all the talk about self-awareness, I needed to figure out who the image on the screen had evolved into and what comes next?

Zoom Out / Zoom In

One of my favorite lenses is the 24mm – 105mm, as it allows me to look at a scene from a wide perspective and then zoom into a portion of the landscape to take a closer look at the elements of greater interest. The wide-angle view for me was to think about my values and what is most important to me.
As I began to think about my values, I realized that at the core, my values had remained the same throughout my adult life…
What has changed, however, is the meaning of these values, coupled with why they are important and how I apply them.
So, as I zoomed in on each of my values and looked at them more closely from different angles, I became informed in a new way. The clearest example would be my role as a father.
When Stephanie and Barry were young, my role was to support, nurture, and protect them from harm. As they grew older, it was about teaching them about making good decisions as their lives became more complicated. There was a strong desire to protect them from making “bad” decisions.
Now, as they enter their late 20’s / early 30’s, it is about listening to their concerns and challenges and providing advice only when asked vs. offering it to them as if they were still teenagers.
As I applied the same exercise to all of my values, I have developed an updated level of self-awareness to keep me focused in the year ahead.

My Self-Awareness Landscape

My intention in the year ahead is to be curious about opportunities to learn and grow and focus on activities and opportunities that are of the most significant interest to me. From a coaching perspective, I plan to expand my capabilities in the areas of Emotional Intelligence and in helping my clients gain clarity around their careers by answering the question of Where to Next?
These topics are critical to me and interrelated. By gaining greater insight into who we are and how we impact others around us, we can better explore what motivates and drives us personally and professionally. Meeting clients where they are and having these discussions is something I am excited about.
As for my priorities, I plan to listen with compassion and empathy. Resist the temptation to tell family and friends what to do and instead offer my support. Concerning my photography, my goal is simply to get out of my comfort zone and share more images.

A Closing Thought

As I talk to more and more people about their experiences over the past two years, I am sensing a fair amount of restlessness and curiosity around why they are where they are and what they want to do next.
Does this sound like anyone you know?
If so, I would be more than happy to have a conversation with the goal of helping you (or them) start down the path of exploration.
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