Self-awareness is one of the most important abilities. When you are self-aware you can make more informed decisions, you are able to reflect on your experiences from different perspectives and see what went well and why. You know what your strengths are and what you are not so good at.
Your strengths are your natural talents; you do these things brilliantly without even thinking about them. When you do them you feel in the ‘zone’ and time passes by without being noticed. In addition, it is your strengths that bring joy and satisfaction to your life when you use them. Therefore, when you have a job where you use your strengths you feel happy.
Before setting up my own business and becoming a coach, for four years I led a Personal and Professional development programme for students at Goldsmiths, University of London called the Gold Award. It is a one-year programme focused on increasing students’ self-awareness and self-confidence. It was an experience that taught me a lot and gave me an opportunity to be creative and witness growth of so many young people. They moved the boundaries of what they thought was doable and what they could do. Through written, verbal and creative ways of reflecting on their development and setting goals to achieve they became more self-aware and through that they started to use their potential more. It was a valuable learning for life.
Any programme that helps students at universities or employees at work to be more self-aware is vital for contributing to their satisfaction and happiness in their life. It is something that adds a valuable practical element to the curriculum at universities and employee development programmes at organisations. Through self-awareness you explore opportunities and discover what works for you. Ken Robinson in his brilliant book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything says that the Element is ‘the place where the things you love to do and the things that you are good at come together’. We can all find our Element.
As for the weaknesses – it’s good to know them because if you know that you need a particular skill for a role you can always learn it and improve. But don’t just focus on your weaknesses and improve only these and totally forget about what you are good at. When you do what you are good at you shine. If you are not sure about your strengths think back about your experiences – at school, university, the jobs you did, sports you practiced, all personal and professional experiences when things felt right. When did you feel you are doing something great? What do you enjoy doing most?
Once you reflect on this make a list of three skills, activities or abilities which when you do you feel to be in your element. Are you doing them on your job?