top of page

Self-Awareness at Work

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

As we go through life in our various leadership roles, it pays to be aware of ourselves

…at least all of the time.

- Daphne Scott

Want to be a thought leader?

Get promotions?

Exude executive presence?

It's critical to be mindful of your thoughts and emotions before they become actions. It sounds simple enough. Self-awareness means you recognize and understand your thoughts and emotions so you can impact a situation in the most impactful, productive and healthy way.

Being self-aware is about being an active participant in the world around you.

We are all empowered leaders collectively driving towards a common goal with the greater good in mind. Each person has shared radical personal responsibility for identifying issues and generating solutions.

This means, when you see an opportunity to make a process better; do it. When you see an opportunity to introduce people who could benefit from the relationship; you schedule that meeting. When you see that something isn’t ethical (legality aside), you call it out and find a way to make it right. Companies are not these inanimate objects; they are made up of individuals that can cause pain and suffering to many, or positively impact the world around them.

Self-awareness helps you understand when to flex your “muscle” to get things done.

For instance, your boss gives you a "promotion" without a raise. Maybe he/she even gives you a condescending response when you ask for it.

This makes you want to put him/her in their place or quit your job.

But what would that get you in this moment? It would make you look like a child having a tantrum. And that’s not going to make an impact or create influence.

Taking that pause before you react is key.

How can you best react in that moment that helps you move the conversation and future actions in a positive manner?

You hold the power.

You have a choice on how you respond.

Because let’s face it, it could be a non “woke” boss, traffic or a cranky customer – none of these situations you can control… but you do control your reaction and that’s the beauty of self-awareness.

Many people live in victim mode and believe (at work) that what they do, their intentions and how they show up doesn’t really matter.

Most of the time we can’t change situations that come our way. Shit Happens.

True, things will happen that we don’t like.

But, and here’s a big BUT, it’s our opportunity to take responsibility for our reactions. Because our reactions shape the world around you – the one you have to deal with or that you leave for others to handle.

We can’t fall into the victim mode, the habit of accepting the world around us. Especially when that world isn’t serving us… or even, all of us.

Self-awareness is not a self-assessment, a Buzz-feed quiz, Facebook test or a 360 report. It’s also not about avoiding feelings or emotions. It’s about being aware of your feelings, taking a moment to process them and choosing the most appropriate action.

Sadly, this is not how most of us operate today.

It is increasingly difficult to be our best selves when we are stressed and distracted.

So what is one simple thing you can do to grow your self awareness throughout the day?

Take Action: Performance Breaks

1. Put your phone down. Have specific hours during your day when you put your phone away, thus training your brain that it is NOT always on-call.

2. Take performance breaks. Take short bursts of time where you focus on the now. Breathe in deeply, focusing on your breath. Focus on the room around you, the colors, the smells, the sounds. Breathe out as if you were blowing through a straw. Clear your lungs, and clear your head.

It is increasingly difficult to be our best selves when we are stressed and distracted.

Self- awareness is a power tool, use performance breaks to become more aware of the present moment... and how you show up.

Want to learn more, read Chapter Two from my book, Out of the Grind and Into the Flow.


bottom of page