Are you really aware of what’s happening
around you? Are you aware of your own emotions? How do you know when your fear and pride is getting in your way?
“Every human has four endowments (gifts) – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give the ultimate human freedom… the power to choose, to respond, to change.”
– Steven R. Covey
Effective people have a natural connection and affinity to others that helped them better understand their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of the people they led. That special quality is Awareness.
What Types of AWARENESS contribute to your effectiveness?
The types of awareness you’ll learn here include:
Self-awareness: Self-awareness looks at what’s going on inside you (your emotions, thoughts, feelings, intellect, instinct, and intuition).
Situational awareness: Situational awareness involves everything going on around you (other people, situations, things, places, and circumstances). This also includes an awareness of your subordinates, peers and your superiors, internal/external politics, social responsibility, community, and your external environment. Effectiveness demands an understanding of context, accurate assessments of the situation, and the ability to make sense of complex problems and overwhelming amounts of information.
Murphy’s Law on Awareness:
God gave you toes as a device for finding furniture in the dark.
Spiritual awareness: The realization that there is a power greater than you that created you and everything around you. There’s also a higher purpose for your life – you just need to find it.
What do you Really Control?
This simple prayer, which I learned during my recovery from alcoholism, changed my life for the better because it helped me finally answer this important question.
The Serenity Prayer
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to
change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.
From this simple prayer, I learned, for the first time in my life, what I could control and could not control. Prior to that, I was trying to control things that I could never control, but didn’t know it. The results left me frustrated, discouraged, and in constant distress and turmoil.
What can you Really Change?
In this life, you cannot change other people, places, things,
situations or circumstances. The only things you can
change are your thoughts, words, and deeds.
This may be a shocking epiphany for many of you because you’ve spent most of your life trying to control other people, places, things, and situations. However, until you learn to truly control that which you can control (your thoughts, words, and deeds); you won’t be able to influence others. This concept is so important to understand because effectiveness is about influencing others to consistently produce excellent results.
Additionally, most of your future struggles will involve trying to change things you can’t change (like other people, places, things, or situations). This ultimate struggle comes down to you trying to change things from the way things are – to the way you want them to be.
You’ll waste countless hours of time and energy every day trying to change (or control) things over which you cannot change (or control), until you first understand the real meaning and differences between change, control, responsibility, and influence.
This happens because you sometimes confuse the word control with the word responsibility. You think they’re the same and they’re not! Yes, you may be responsible for your family and your team members. However, you don’t control them. You can only influence them. And, you can only influence them after you’ve mastered yourself; your thoughts, words, and deeds. Thanks to their agency (freedom to choose), they control themselves (they just don’t know it yet).
As a result, you can only Control, and therefore Change your:
- Thoughts: Attitudes, values, confidence, knowledge, character, prejudices, purpose, passion, opinions, emotions, ideas, tolerations, mood, memory, expectations, faith, beliefs, concerns, likes, dislikes, choices, standards, ethics, focus, desires, aspirations, commitment, priorities, goals, perceptions, judgments, and stereotypes.
- Words: What you say (questions, word choice, following-up, praise, recognition, relationships, counseling, coaching, feedback, asking, persuading, courtesy, respect), how you say it (voice tonality, pause, inflection, tone, intensity, volume, pronunciation, emotion, enthusiasm, and pacing), and what you fail to say (thank you, congratulate, guidance, warnings, corrections = the Sin of Omission).
- Deeds: What you do (Actions, achievements, performance, behavior, skills, abilities, effort, experience, education, training, habits), your personal presence (handshake, movement, posture, eye contact, dress, hygiene, grooming, gestures, energy, enthusiasm, spirit), your personal space (desk, office, car, and home)), and what you fail to do (help, serve, give = the Sin of Omission).
The most important thing you control is how you treat others – even when they treat you badly. Do you treat everyone with dignity, respect, and kindness?
How can you become more Self-Aware?
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales
in comparison to what lies inside of you.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Effective people are self-aware and able to respond appropriately to people and situations.
Self-awareness is the ability to accept and proactively use feedback
about oneself to improve your effectiveness.
Self-awareness is the foundation of character, authenticity, transparency, trust, courage, and purpose. Self-awareness helps you understand your strengths and weaknesses and where you need help.
Here are a few suggestions on how to enhance your self-awareness.
Feedback provides the essential information needed to assess the gap between how you see yourself and how your behavior affects others. Feedback is one method of external appraisal necessary to help enhance your self-awareness through reflection and self-correction. All effective people have traits that others see, which they’re unable to see in themselves. Feedback is one way you can identify blind spots, breakout of fixed ways of thinking, and ingrained habits. Blind spots are best uncovered by seeking honest feedback from people you trust. Even Colin Powell, when he was Secretary of State, used to ask those around him, “How am I doing?”
Here are a few ways you can obtain feedback:
- Performance appraisals from your leader
- Conduct formal 360-degree multi-rater assessments with peers, superiors, and subordinates who can provide anonymous feedback on your behavior
- Gather informal feedback by asking questions of the people who know you well
To do this, pick five people you trust, including friends, family, peers, and your leader. Tell them you’re looking for honest feedback to help you become a better person.
Ask them these questions:
- What are my strengths?
- What are my weaknesses?
- What do people say about me when I’m not in the room?
- How can I improve my people skills?
- What should I start doing and what should I stop doing?
Look for comments that can help you identify areas you need to improve.
Practice Reflection Everyday
Taking time to reflect on your actions and their results/consequences are critical to enhancing your self-awareness.
Reflection is the process of assessing your past experiences;
what happened, what you felt, what you did, and the consequences.
Self-awareness is developed when you reflect and record the personal interactions in your life.
It’s not about what happens to you that matters but how you react to it.
Reflecting on your behavior and emotional responses provide a rich source of personal development. The practice of daily reflection is one of the more powerful tools to help enhance your self-awareness on your way to becoming more effective tomorrow than you are today.
Keep a Journal
Another good way to enhance your self-awareness is by developing the habit of journaling. End every day by reflecting, recording, and learning from the day’s events, as you list your priorities for tomorrow. Be self-correcting.
Use these questions to help you:
- Did I treat everyone with dignity, respect, and kindness?
- What went well today?
- What did I learn today?
- What did I enjoy?
- What random act of kindness did I perform?
- Who did I help others?
- What am I grateful for?
You can also reflect by walking, driving, working out, or when taking a shower. We all have gaps in our day that we can use for reflection. Developing self-awareness is a daily practice. Effective people learn new things every day. Like a muscle, it grows over time with constant practice. The more you are aware of your motives, desires, and emotions, the faster you can increase your effectiveness.
Pray for Guidance
Sincere prayers are always answered. Sometimes we receive what we need, not necessarily what we asked for. These blessings are often referred to as Blessings-in-Disguise! It doesn’t matter. Just pray for guidance and listen for an answer. Sometimes other people will answer your prayers. Be open and humble enough to the truth of how your behavior affects others.
Overcome your Pride
“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
– Saint Augustine
Emotional roadblocks or negative emotions are the number one factor that has plagued great people since the dawn of time. Effective people know how important it is to know what to do before experiencing these negative emotions. Emotional roadblocks come in many sizes, shapes, and colors. But, they all have the same devastating effect. They routinely and uniformly prevent you from becoming all that you could be. They hinder you from achieving your true potential in life. Negative emotions prevent you from taking the action needed to move you closer to your goal.
They can cause you to become discouraged and quit, or never to get started! Know that the negative emotions that have stopped you in the past were created by your thoughts. And, since you control your thoughts, you can change them, as well as the resulting emotions that flow from these new thoughts. Important to understand here is that effective people are not immune to negative thoughts and emotions. They feel the same negative emotions you feel. The difference is that they don’t dwell on these negative emotions for long. They’ve learned how to move-on. They’re better able to recognize, process, accept, and quickly move-on to concentrate on the positive aspects of their life. They get emotionally down from time to time. However, they’ve learned how to bounce-back quickly after experiencing life’s tidal waves.
So, how do effective people do that?
Have you ever wondered what has held you back from achieving your true potential? Have you ever been stopped dead in your tracks? We’ve all faced these roadblocks, and the experience is quite humbling.
Emotions are neither right nor wrong. However, your actions, as a result of your emotions, often create undesirable consequences.
Stop and think, before acting when strong emotions rise. And, if you don’t understand what to do before experiencing these emotional roadblocks, you’ll be stopped (or slowed) – without even knowing it.
The first step is to moving-on is to let go of the wreckage from your past.
Your thoughts created the negative emotions that have stopped you from moving forward in your life. And, since you control your thoughts, you can change them, as well as the resulting emotions and actions that flow from these new thoughts. In most cases, forgiveness is the key. Forgive yourself for not being perfect and others who have offended you. Now, you’re free to move on with your life.
The second step to moving-on is to stop getting in your way.
Negative emotions prevent you from taking the necessary positive action that will move you closer to your goal. They can cause you to become discouraged and quit. Worse yet, they can cause you to never get started.
Get your fear and pride out of your way.
What are the most Devastating Emotional Roadblocks?
Anger, resentment, anxiety, regret, worry, apathy, jealousy, doubt, envy, indifference, complacency, hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, bitterness, hatred, and rage.
The cause of all these negative emotions is PRIDE and FEAR. Let’s address pride first.
What is PRIDE?
“In general, pride is at the bottom of all great mistakes.”
– John Ruskin
The voice of PRIDE says…
“I already know this stuff. It never works for me. I don’t need any help; I can do it on my own. I refuse to do this crap. I’ll do it my way.”
Pride can be a powerful force for good or evil. Pride can stop you from achieving your true potential and causes you to sit on the sidelines and watch your life pass. And, unfortunately, I see it happen to good people every day. Some people let their pride become an obstacle to their success.
“There are two kinds of Pride, both good and bad. ‘Good Pride ‘ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad Pride ‘ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”
– John C. Maxwell
What is Good Pride?
Good pride is a reasonable or justifiable self-respect and is normally manifest by feelings of joy and delight, the happiness of heart, and peace of mind. It’s perfectly normal and expected to take pride in your accomplishments, family, organization, behavior, and appearance. Good pride is what drives you to show up at the right place, at the right time, with the right plan to do what you’re trained to do. However, when you start comparing yourself to others, this is where you’re about to cross-the-line into bad pride.
Then, what’s Bad Pride?
Bad pride, on the other hand, comes from the Sin of Comparison or the Sin of the Self-Righteousness.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
– Proverbs 16:18 (KJV)
When you think you’re better than others in some way, you’ve crossed-the-line! The greatest problem caused by your bad pride is that you’re no longer teachable-because you already know it all. You can’t or won’t apologize. You won’t ask for help. and you’re blinded to your weaknesses.
Bad pride is any unreasonable conceit of your superiority in talents, wealth, rank, or position. Bad pride is most often manifest by arrogance, haughtiness, rudeness, conceited, presumptuous, and boasting.
Get humble or be humbled – your choice!
In my life I learned that if you don’t humble yourself, someone else will.
Here are the most obvious signs that your Bad Pride is holding you back:
- When you know you’re right and don’t care what others think
- When you try to change other people, places, things, and situations
- When you can’t say you’re sorry
- When you refuse to do something because so-and-so will be there
- When you’re certain the stock market will reverse and come back up, and it doesn’t
- When you must do things your way, not open to suggestions
How can you overcome Bad Pride?
The opposite of bad pride is humility. A good dose of humility can and will save you from the inevitable. Forgive yourself and others to set yourself free.
It takes Strength to be Kind.
“Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.
It’s the strong that lend a hand.
The tough who make a stand.
Know showing love isn’t weak.
They don’t break, unless it’s sweat.
They don’t crack Humble in victory.
Gracious in Defeat.
Building others up.
Tearing walls down.
The real ones, unless it’s a smile.
They shine and make others look good.
They get better – not bitter.
It takes strength to be kind.
It takes heart to earn respect.
There is kindness in us all.
But, it’s the strong who choose to use it.”
– Kevin Durant
In this life, and the next, you’ll be judged not by how you treated the best among you, but by how you treated the worst.
Those who are humble respect their limits, admit their mistakes, practice more forgiveness, understand, and feel compassion, are less judgmental, cease being self-righteous, live their lives in the present, forget about re-living the past, trust more, let go more easily, are more patient, and are more human.
The key to becoming more effective tomorrow than you are today is to treat others with dignity, respect, and kindness, which requires humility. Humbleness helps you better understand the human condition of those around you. Just because you think you’re right doesn’t make you superior or better. Rejoice in your existence, count your blessings, be grateful for the gift of life, and be thankful for winning the Lottery-being born in America, rather than Somalia.
To be continued: If you’d like to learn more about enhancing your awareness, you can do so by adding this book to your professional library, today!
YOUR GUIDE TO BETTER AWARENESS
Here’s what you’ll learn:
Chapter 2: Why Serenity?
Chapter 3: Emotional Road Blocks
Chapter 4: Your Comfort Zone
Chapter 5: Responding to Emotions
Chapter 6: Unlocking the Power of Your Mind
Chapter 7: Why Affirmations and Visualizations?
Chapter 8: Dealing With Your Tolerations
Chapter 9: Unlocking Your Spiritual Awareness
You now have the chance to enhance your career by learning how to become more effective tomorrow than you are today.
Or, you can take advantage of our Special Offer below.
To SAVE 75%, purchase The Effectiveness Guide, which contains all 10 Volumes, instead of buying each volume separately.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
CHAPTER 1: BY BECOMING A BETTER FOLLOWER
CHAPTER 2: BY BECOMING A BETTER DELEGATOR
CHAPTER 3: BY BECOMING A BETTER PLANNER
CHAPTER 4: BY BECOMING A BETTER ORGANIZER
CHAPTER 5: BY BECOMING A BETTER COMMUNICATOR
CHAPTER 6: BY BECOMING A BETTER PROBLEM SOLVER
CHAPTER 7: BY ENHANCING YOUR AWARENESS
CHAPTER 8: BY BECOMING A BETTER TRAINER
CHAPTER 9: BY ENHANCING YOUR ABILITY TO MOTIVATE
CHAPTER 10: BY ENHANCING YOUR CHARACTER
APPENDIX A: PLAN OF ACTION EXAMPLE
APPENDIX B: REAL WORLD PROBLEM SOLVING EXAMPLE
APPENDIX C: ADVANCE PROBLEM SOLVING WITH VUCA
APPENDIX D: CAREER ADVICE
APPENDIX E: CREATING MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS
The Effectiveness Guide is the best investment you’ll ever make in your career.
Also, if you feel this information could help someone else, please take a few moments to let them know. If it turns out to make a difference in their life, they’ll be forever grateful to you – as will I.
Let’s make a difference together – one person at a time!
All the best!
Founder of TheCAREERMaker.com
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The 10 Core Competencies of Effectiveness
Followership | Delegating | Planning | Organizing | Communicating
Problem-Solving | Awareness | Training | Motivating | Character