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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin

๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—น๐—ณ-๐—”๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐˜๐—ผ ๐—Ÿ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

Self-awareness has been demonstrated to lead effectively.* While powerful leadership is often defined in visible terms โ€“ charismatic, determined, energetic โ€“ the internal nature of self-awareness can truly determine the path to success.

As a founder, you will face a variety of challenges where self-awareness helps:

Dealing with Pressure - As pressures build (both with success and failure), awareness helps focus our mind and our behaviors. Understanding our emotions allows us to respond on our terms and timeline.

Working Relationships - Building a business requires meaningful, long-term relationships often more engaging than our personal ones. Self-awareness helps us relate productively with others by knowing what we bring to the interaction.

Better Decisions โ€“ Facing countless choices daily, knowing your approach to solutions yields them faster. Iโ€™ve worked with enough founders to know that we often get in our own way. Awareness can eliminate hidden obstacles.

Uncertainty - Dealing with life and business flowing constantly, self-awareness creates an anchor when needed. Knowing yourself allows you to build on your strengths and to augment your weaknesses. For instance, a logical founder may partner with a charismatic manager. A visionary leader may want an operationally-minded counterpart.

โ€œ๐™„๐™› ๐™ฌ๐™š ๐™™๐™ค ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™™๐™š๐™ซ๐™š๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฅ ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™ฃ ๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™›-๐™–๐™ฌ๐™–๐™ง๐™š๐™ฃ๐™š๐™จ๐™จ, ๐™ฌ๐™š ๐™š๐™ข๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฌ๐™š๐™ง ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™๐™š๐™ง ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ค๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™š ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™˜๐™ž๐™ง๐™˜๐™ช๐™ข๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™˜๐™š๐™จ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™จ๐™๐™–๐™ฅ๐™š ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ก๐™ž๐™ซ๐™š๐™จ ๐™—๐™ฎ ๐™™๐™š๐™›๐™–๐™ช๐™ก๐™ฉ.โ€ โ€“ ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ฅ๐™๐™š๐™ฃ ๐˜พ๐™ค๐™ซ๐™š๐™ฎ

Being self-aware allows us to perform better. Here are some ways to achieve it: Writing โ€“ Identify what drives your behaviors, their result, and how they impacted others. Some people swear by recording their thoughts every day. Journaling daily can be tough, so another approach is to note challenges as they arise and then review solutions you tried. Accountability โ€“ List your key plans and track your progress. In addition to the results, make connections between your behaviors and the subsequent outcomes. Also note which experiences make you proud. Focus on learning from mistakes, not suffering them.

Feedback โ€“ Solicit 3-5 supportive yet critical people in your life. Also, consider anonymous reviews (scary but rewarding). Ask mostly open-ended questions (e.g. โ€œWhatโ€™s one way I could improve on that project?โ€) and push for a response.

Counter-arguments โ€“ Embrace how others handle their lives Understand why they make different decisions and what outcomes occur. Another way to gain perspective is visiting new places and observing how they operate and evaluate success.

Mindfulness โ€“ Try meditation or rely on mundane tasks (e.g. laundry) to clear your mind and think through issues. Another approach is to compare your problems now to similar past experiences and notice how you persevered and learned then.

Mentor yourself - While working with advisors is meaningful, you can also make progress posing tough questions to yourself, both during tough times and successful periods:

  • How are my core values being challenged?

  • What am I doing that is working and what actions hinder my success?

  • When others annoy me, could this reflect something in me I dislike?

  • What is my proudest accomplishment this year and why?

Growth requires change which requires knowledge. Hopefully, self-awareness improves your leadership and even deepens resilience as you know all challenges will pass.


* A study by Green Peak Partners and Cornell's School of Industrial and Labor Relations found self-awareness to be the strongest predictor of overall success and an article in the MIT Sloan Management Review โ€œHow To Become a Better Leaderโ€ cited self-awareness as the most important capability for leaders to develop.

Photograph by Dodji Djibom who can be found here:

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