“If you know yourself, then you will not be harmed by what is said about you.” Arabian Proverb
It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are not. How well do you really know yourself? We are all aware of the things that society, people and our families want us to be and do. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in projections of who we are while losing touch with our core values, needs, and desires. And if you don’t know yourself very well, it’s difficult to choose a life path that makes you feel happy and fulfilled. You may also find yourself getting into relationships that don’t really suit you, or you may feel lonely because no one knows the ‘real’ you.
Knowing yourself is all about self-awareness. Increased self-awareness has wide ranging benefits, one of them being the increased emotional intelligence. Self-awareness helps you choose better suited life path and relevant opportunities for you. Self-awareness leads to increased emotional intelligence. When you are more emotionally intelligent, you’re better able to identify and manage your feelings as they come up without repressing them nor being lost in them. Emotionally intelligent people are also more at peace with who they really are, focusing on meeting their own standards then the standards set by others. Self-awareness and high emotional intelligence are also correlated with high levels of success. I’ve been asked a number of times, on different platforms on what success means, well, to me, success means the ability to win yourself over from chaos, noise and other people’s opinions of you. This means being fully aware of who you are, your core values as well as your beliefs and why they are. This to me is a big success because it then unlocks your other successes – financial, physical, health, spiritual, emotional, social, mental, etc. I had to win myself over from my past and other people’s opinions of me to be the person I am now. I studied and practised mechanical engineering, project management and in addition to those, I acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in management science with statistics and operations research as my majors. These additional qualifications helped me climbed the corporate ladder and go into senior management levels.
Increasing my self-awareness level helped me realized that I had natural abilities in inspiring people through speaking, writing and coaching and I was more passionate about human behaviour in general. This led me to enrol for courses in Life coaching, NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and public speaking. I further immersed myself in Neuroscience and other human sciences where I’m learning so much about why we human beings behave the way we do, which by the way is my passion. This freed me from a career I had studied for to become what I was born to be, my calling. Knowing yourself, helps you understand and become conscious of yourself. It’s so easy to be swallowed in by qualifications and relationships that you are not passionate about and in this case, you’ll never be the best at what you do. Now, I truly understand what Socrates meant when he said, “Know thyself”.
Please, don’t let your past, your academic qualifications, position of power confine and restrict you from discovering the person you are meant to be. Here’s how to embark on a self-awareness journey which will lead you to self-mastery:
- Get To Know Your Personality – what traits do you feel define you? Give some thought to the major decisions you’ve made in life, both good and regrettable. Why did you make these decisions/choices? Which were authentic expressions of who you are? Which were made under pressure from others? Which were made based on pure ignorance?
- Get To Know Your Core-Values. Psychologists often suggest that most of us have around eight core values and that these play the biggest role in motivating our choices at work, home, relationships and in everyday life. Make a list of the eight values that you think guide you. Honesty, compassion, open-mindedness, learning, diverse experiences, etc.
- Have a life mission and vision. What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? Where do you see yourself in two years, ten years and twenty years? Keep in mind that a life’s mission doesn’t need to be dramatic, or world-changing. Think of your mission as being defined by what makes you feel authentic, excited and passionate. Meanwhile, give some thought to how this mission might help others, even on a small scale.
I am pretty certain that this will help you get started on your journey to increasing your self-awareness level and help you unleash your greatness that you have within you, Enjoy the journey!
Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of three books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org , www.velindaba.com or +27 83 304 9773