Self-Awareness is the first step towards building emotional intelligence. It refers to our ability to recognize our own emotions and how they affect us and others.
As a leader people always expect you to have all the answers, right? You might also expect this from yourself. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were being positively criticized, but rather than using this feedback to grow and improve yourself, you opted for creating excuses and not admitting to your mistakes? Well, that is a sign of a lack-of self-awareness. Great leadership starts with self-awareness! Great leaders are not afraid of admitting their mistakes because they understand that they will learn from them.
“The easiest person to deceive is one's own self” - Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton
Self-awareness is your personal knowledge of who you are, how you behave, your capabilities and characteristics. Developing self-awareness as a leader is often the first step to developing Emotional Intelligence, which has proven to be an extremely valuable leadership skill. Self-awareness can be extremely useful, especially in climate change and environmental leadership. The global population is still quite far removed from the reality of climate change and the global shift towards sustainability. As a climate change or environmental leader, your self-awareness about how your actions can negatively impact the environment can inspire the people around you to become self-aware as well.
Signs of Low Self-Awareness
The main challenge for people that are not self-aware, is that they are not aware of their lack of self-awareness. We’ll discuss a few signs of low self-awareness below. The first sign is not being able to admit to your mistakes! Being unwilling to admit your mistakes is a sign of deep insecurity and emotional immaturity. If you feel the need to constantly criticize other people to feel better about yourself, that means you are low in self-awareness. If you are constantly trying to feel good about yourself then you do not have the time to learn about yourself. Indecisiveness indicates a lack of self-awareness. Self-aware people tend to do a lot of psychological experimenting and they are confident in their knowledge of self, leading to them be confident in the decisions they make. Another sign of a lack of self-awareness is shutting people off when they have opposing views. Most people agree to disagree on politics and religion, but not wanting to listen to the other persons views may is a sign of low self-awareness.
Benefits of Practicing Self-Awareness
How to Improve your Self-Awareness
To become an effective advocate of the natural world, you must develop self-awareness about yourself and regarding your place in the ecosystem. Here are a few tips to improve your self-awareness:
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is about being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and surroundings. Mindfulness is allowing yourself to observe and acknowledge your negative thoughts and feelings, then come up with ways to deal with them.
2. Ask for Feedback from your Friends and Work Colleagues
A great way to help you become more self-aware, is to ask those around you about what they think of your character and skills. You might get surprising responses that will encourage introspection.
3. Try Journaling
Journaling is the act of writing down your thoughts and feelings to better comprehend them. Journaling encourages mindfulness and allows you to study yourself, increasing self-awareness.
4. Learn to recognize and name your emotions
Your emotional state influences your quality of work. Being able to recognize and name your emotions enables you to better understand yourself and know how to deal with your emotions.
The Self-Awareness Theory is based on the idea that you are not your thoughts, but the entity observing your thoughts; you are the thinker, separate and apart from your thoughts (Duval & Wicklund, 1972).
Long-term sustainable solutions to climate change and environmental degradation require commitment from all stakeholders involved. Leaders that will be able to address climate change and sustainability challenges need to take bold action and inspire others. There has never been a better time than now to cultivate self-awareness to become a better climate change leader and future custodian of South Africa’s natural heritage.
Environmental Youth for the Future!