Self-Awareness On Steroids

Self-awareness is not just reflecting, journaling, introspection, it’s much more. Who knew?

Me, Myself, & I

I’ve been hooked on self-awareness for quite sometime.

The 1st third of my life, I was absolutely sure of myself — who I was, what I believed, what people thought of me, etc.

The 2nd third, I began to see how absolutely unaware I could be.

This current third is a mixed bag … it’s growth, it’s stabilizing, and sometimes it’s still a mystery.

Things to Know About Self-Awareness

  1. Thinking about ourselves does not equal knowing ourselves
  2. Introspection does not equal self-awareness And can lead to poorer well-being
  3. Introspection gets us caught in the ‘Why’,  when the ‘What’ is more helpful.  The ‘What’  takes us from victimhood to growth

Self-Awareness is a Critical Skill in Nursing

We heard about this skill in school.  Remember personal knowledge as one of the fundamental ‘ways of knowing’ ?  Regardless, we all pretty much know that self-awareness is important in nursing … and in life.  But have we been doing it right?

New Evidence on Just How Important Self-Awareness Is In Our Lives

…  from Tasha Eurich in her book Insight

Emotional intelligence, empathy, influence, persuasion, communications and collaboration — all stem from self-awareness.  Self-awareness is at the core of all relationship building— even the smallest gain has a big pay-off.

“Self-awareness is the meta-skill of the 21st century.”

There’s strong evidence that people who know themselves and how others see them are happier.

Self-aware people make smarter decisions.  They have better personal and professional relationships.  They raise more mature children.   They’re:

  • smarter students who choose better careers
  • more creative, more confident, and better communicators
  • less aggressive and less likely to cheat, lie and steal
  • better performers at work and get more promotions
  • more effective leaders with more enthusiastic employees
  • leaders of more profitable companies

Our success at work— regardless of what stage we’re at in our careers— depends on understanding  who we are and how we come across to our bosses, clients, customer, employees and peers.

What Self-Awareness Is and Isn’t.  Balanced Self-Awareness is the Goal.

Up until Eurich’s research, self-awareness sources led us to believe that self-awareness was based mainly on our own observations, reflections and perceptions.  Yes, 360 degree feedback is a worthy exercise to reveal blind spots, but it’s set up to fail.

It takes ongoing, intentional feedback from a trusted loving critic for us to reach balanced self-awareness.  

Until then we’re just navel-gazing.

Here are a few of Eurich’s Suggestions in How to Get Real Feedback 

Right person.  Search carefully for the right person to be your trusted loving critic.  One who has knowledge about you and access to observe you.  Explain the purpose of the feedback and how it will help you. This critic has to be willing to be brutally honest for this exercise to be meaningful.

Right questions.  Craft 1-2 specific questions around 1-2 hypotheses you have about how others see you in specific situations.  Ask your trusted loving critic to observe you.  Note- you may have different critics for different questions / hypotheses.

Right process.   Observations. Conversations. Follow-up.

The author advises to go slow.  Give yourself space to honor the process and to absorb and benefit.

This is just a snapshot. The book is intriguing and worth reading, especially for nurses.  

One thing we’ve always known is that the journey of self-awareness never ends …. and this book takes the process deeper. 

Eurich, T. 2018. Insight. New York: Currency.
image courtesy of

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