I believe a big reason that gives purpose to our lives is to help others. This helps us connect, strengthens bonds and communities. It is at the core of the human spirit. However, if we are to help and connect with others we must first help and connect with “I”, ourselves.

In doing so, we develop as an individual and lead ourselves to a higher version through greater self-awareness and understanding. This is not selfish, but a form of self-assertion. You become a healthier performer for those around you once you serve behaviours and patterns that enrich your life and recognise those that do not. We can gain an understanding of these through achieving clarity on our typology. This, perhaps may be done using a personality test, by no-means am I saying that’s the only way. I have found particularly useful on my own journey of development, the Enneargram test. (www.enneargraminstitute.com). It highlights wonderfully your dominant modus operandi. Opportunity has risen from understanding my results in such that I can test what I say I want, need, look for and how I act out in my day to day life. Do they align? This awareness has served as a useful reference for the other areas crucial to grasping a hold of understanding the self. Those are our why,vision,meaning and are we the author of those. Do we have control of our destiny or are we victim or subject to the environment?

Other areas that greater self-awareness (SA) can impact performance are:

Skill development – Projects often begin with an assessment of the gap between current situation and desired future situation. Often SA will reveal a skill gap.

Acknowledgement of strengths and weaknesses – Exploit your strengths and cope with weakness. Surround yourself with individuals who compliment any deficits. For example, collaboration of big picture thinkers with detailed thinkers to help execute a strategy.

Develop intuitive decision-making skills – Leaders with well-developed SA are more effective intuitive descion makers. When large amounts of information are unstructured and ambiguous, leaders often rely on the limbic system or their gut instinct to choose an appropriate course of action. High SA leads to better interpretation of these feelings.

Stress – Jobs that don’t suit your personality tend to give more stress than those which do. This is not to say all stress should be avoided or we shouldn’t challenge ourselves in conflict. However, you should carry awareness of the required extra work and focus to gain a level that may be attained in an environment more suited to your typology.

Motivation – When you don’t know what behaviours to change to improve your performance, you can feel helpless. SA is empowering as can reveal where performance problems are and what can be done to improve. Motivation can be enhanced through understanding psychological need, that is to understand and seek out rewards that are truly of value to you such as a sense of fulfilment, more responsibility or more flexible work schedule.

Leadership – When we have an understanding of what makes us tick, gets us out of bed in the morning and what dominant patterns of behaviour we exhibit, we also gain a greater depth of understanding to what makes it so for others.

As mentioned earlier knowing how to lead yourself is tantamount in knowing how to lead others.

For further reading visit www.enneargraminstitute.com and the book Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Yours with Force and Grace.