Knowing yourself, warts and all, can propel your business to new heights.
Knowing yourself, warts and all, can propel your business to new heights. Author and transformational coach Kuumba Nia offers some helpful tips on how to do it.
When it comes to personal development, there’s nothing quite like running your own business to push you to your limits and accelerate your personal growth, as any entrepreneur will tell you.
Struggles with time management, erratic cash flow and the challenges presented by people in that business regularly conspire in ways that force you to take a long, hard look at yourself.
And believe it or not, that’s a good thing – because the key to your business success is ultimately your level of self-awareness.
Whether you’re a solopreneur, a small team of three or four or a rapidly growing SME, your self-awareness, or lack of it, has the power to drastically impact your productivity, sabotage your performance and dramatically hit your bottom line.
What is self-awareness and why is it so important? In a nutshell, it’s the ability to know yourself: your strengths, your weaknesses, how you will or won’t behave in certain situations and why.
It’s the capacity to be introspective and to adjust your perspective as a consequence and it’s one of the most fundamental aspects of your success as an entrepreneur and business.
It’s what Tasha Eurich, author of Insight: The Power of Self Awareness in a Self-Deluded World, calls “the most important skill in the 21st century to be successful at work”.
Where your real power lies
The reason it’s so crucial is that when you truly know yourself, you’re immediately in control, personally and professionally. Issues of procrastination, conflict avoidance and miscommunication are some of the most common disruptors in the workplace. If you as a leader have no awareness of what is going on within you and why you’re resistant to addressing them, the result can be chaos.
The clarity that comes from self-awareness is where your real power lies. With it, you can lead your business in the right direction and get the results that you want – because you know what to do and that you’re capable of doing it.
So, how self-aware are you? When you’re struggling with deadlines, avoiding difficult conversations and not saying what you mean, do you understand why? When you feel tense, irritated or in physical discomfort, do you notice when it starts? Are you aware of when you’re lost in your thoughts, ‘zoned out’ or not paying attention?
All these issues can have an impact on your performance, your productivity and the profitability of your business. Consequently, developing a greater sense of self-awareness can benefit you and those around you.
Here are four simple ways to achieve that:
Spend time alone in stillness to soothe your mind and increase your clarity.
Endless to-do lists, electronic devices screaming for your attention and a lack of time out make it impossible for you to get a real sense of yourself, or to notice some of your thoughts and feelings.
Admit to weaknesses as well as strengths.
By considering the people in your personal and professional circles, a simple exercise called the Circle of One will help you appreciate how others see you. Ask yourself who you’re finding challenging and what irritates you about them. You can be pretty sure you’re guilty of the same faults, so be honest and resolve to change.
Clarify your personal values so you know what you stand for and who you are.
Write your own personal values statement. Reflect on what’s important to you. What is your code of honour? If your stated values differ from your lived values, think about what you can do to reconcile them.
Be aware of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs and behaviours and check that they support your personal values. Notice the things that you say and do, how you feel and what you believe. Are these things true for you now or simply a matter of habit?
Take the time to know who you are. That’s the key to your success.