Is one of your goals this year to become a more impactful leader? Awareness is the gateway to more effective, conscious leadership. In fact it’s the first step in ORCA’s Four A’s of Conscious Leadership.
Yet many of our clients ask, “Where do I begin?”
We’ve put together a list of 10 activities to do to increase your self-awareness every day. Remember, awareness is a continual process of learning. Our team at ORCA uses these techniques to further grow and develop.
1. Meditate and practice mindfulness.
One company’s study showed consistent employee meditation increased productivity by 120%. With meditation rising to the same level of popularity as yoga in the U.S. alone, it’s easy to find resources to help with this critical tool for self-awareness and success.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes, close your eyes and notice what comes up.
- Headspace and Calm are great tools to use for guided meditations.
- These mindfulness tips may seem easy enough, but in practice self-awareness is a process of constant learning. Therefore, ORCA and WithPause have put together a detailed guidebook that you can use throughout your day for self-inquiry: 7 Daily Micro-Practices to Shift Your Experience.
2. Learn something new.
From a physiological perspective, learning something new is good for you. When you learn something new, you are exercising your brain—helping to improve cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and problem solving.
- Find an interest that you enjoy, ideally something that brings you joy and gets you out of your comfort zone. Through trying something new, you’ll gain greater self-awareness and confidence.
3. Use self-assessment instruments.
Understanding behavioral style and preferences to environmental factors impact how you lead and work as a team.
- These can include assessments such as DISC and EQ to learn more about yourself and increase your awareness. Get your free DISC Engagement Report here.
- You can also use CliftonStrengths (formerly StrengthsFinder) to dive deeper into what are your strengths and how to capitalize on them. Contact us to learn more.
Journaling is one of the most accessible tools available to increase your self-awareness—especially as patterns in thought can appear when you journal over a span of time. All you need is a pen and paper (or blank document on your laptop).
- Consistency is key here. Notice what thoughts you have when you first wake up and write them down. Use the prompts below to guide your journal entries.
5. Create a personal values statement.
A personal values statement shows you what’s most important, which is incredibly effective in prioritizing your time and goals.
- What is important to you? What guides your actions?
6. Challenge your fixed mindset.
A growth mindset thrives on challenge, unlike a fixed mindset, which assumes we can’t change in a meaningful way.
- Example: Instead of “I need to control.” (a fixed quality that feels unchangeable) try “I am learning how to let go be a better listener and allow others to take the lead.” (this creates a path forward)
- Kristin Neff’s 5-minute Self Compassion Break is a great tool to guide you forward when you feel stuck in your fixed mindset.
7. Identify the sensations in your body in connection with your emotion.
Recognizing how our mind and body react to situations and emotions—whether in tandem or separately—can illuminate areas we want to alleviate tension.
- Notice what situations or stimuli trigger you and cause you to have certain reactions or feelings. Example: What is happening in your body when you feel angry?
- Set a reminder on your phone that says “Name 3 emotions you are experiencing right now.” Set it to repeat at a specific time every day.
8. Examine and poke holes in your own level of thinking.
As leaders, we know that making assumptions isn’t the best practice. Your own thinking is no different.
- Play your own devil’s advocate.
- Be open to asking those around you what I am missing in my thinking about this problem.
9. Know your strengths and weaknesses/growth edge.
SWOT analysis may be second nature for your business, but knowing your own strengths, weaknesses, and growth edge present an opportunity for greater self-awareness and direction.
- In what areas would you like to improve? What things come naturally and easily to you? What is something you would like to do, but are afraid to try?
10. Pay attention to your intuition.
Paying attention to your intuition—and trusting where it leads—can bring self-recognition and information you can then act on.
- Where do you feel naturally inclined to go? Be curious and listen beyond what your rational mind might be telling you.
Our favorite tools and resources include: