And why you are the best person to improve it
Some believe that self-awareness is the most important skill when it comes to building a successful professional career and others may tell you that self-awareness is somewhat superficial, and you need to have a solid education and professional skills to make it in the world of work.
Even though there is an increasing number of articles and sources that provide you with information about self-awareness, it still might be slightly challenging to grasp the true meaning of it.
Finding a definition is quite easy but to understand how self-awareness works and more importantly how it helps your career progress may be a challenge.
Why is it a challenge?
I believe it is because understanding any concept is only the first step. Applying the knowledge and integrating habits that help self-growth can then follow.
First, let’s see what self-awareness is.
According to the Oxford Dictionaries, it is a “Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.”
After reading this definition, it is easier to understand how self-awareness affects career and career progress. Think about the time when you started your career and be very honest.
- How much was your first job a conscious choice?
- How much did you consider your strengths and weaknesses when you sent out your job applications for the first time?
Majority of young people try to grab a job opportunity as soon as they can to start their career. So, don’t feel bad if you were not super conscious about your career choices back then.
I think I am right to assume though that, with time, your choices have been more about taking advantage of your skills and talent, and as you matured, you focused on building a career that gave you the opportunity to expand either vertically or horizontally. Whenever you switched jobs, you were looking for something else, a new challenge.
You listened to your motives and desires and shaped your job search accordingly.
While this was undoubtedly your self-awareness in motion, you may ask yourself a question whether there were or there are other areas where your self-awareness could give you a competitive edge. And the answer to this question is a definite yes.
Regardless of the industry you are working in, or your professional field, no work can be done alone without the support of and contribution from others. To get that, you need to have social skills and the foundation of all success in any social environment is self-awareness.
Let’s just see a couple of examples, think about your work environment and job.
- What makes you feel stressed?
- What leaves you feeling depleted?
- How do you respond to authority?
- With what type of leadership style do you work best together?
- How do you deal with criticism?
- What is your number one conflict resolution tactic?
From the above questions you can see that without being self-aware you are not able to answer such questions, furthermore, without being self-aware, your choices around which company or team to join may leave you with disappointment.
Just by answering these questions, you will have a clear picture of what environment you would like to work in or what type of work gives you inspiration and satisfaction. No one else can make these choices for you And although getting paid is great but getting paid for a job you don’t enjoy may be miserable.
So, even if you think self-awareness is not the most important thing when building your career, I am sure you agree that it has such a high impact that you cannot ignore developing it.