March 2023

Move over emotional intelligence, self awareness is the new buzzword!

Reading the majority of websites promoting staff/ personal advancement its clear that awareness is the new trend. The reason – whereas emotional intelligence (Daniel Goleman) is actually quite complex to navigate, with lots of loopholes, on the face of it self awareness is pretty obvious. Not so!? Actually, it isn’t as easy as it looks, which reminds me of my mother’s words: “…anything that looks easy is probably not worth it!” I think understanding the concept of self awareness is really important, mostly because once you do it properly it makes a host of difference. I have seen this in my own life.

So what is it? According to Eurich there are two dimensions to self awareness: an internal and external element. Internal self-awareness represents how clearly you see your own values, passions and your impact on others. A person with strong internal self-awareness has an understanding of their strengths, weaknesses, motivations and emotions. This first type of self-awareness is linked with increased job and relationship satisfaction. I believe it is also a strong motivator for people to want to develop action plans for the future and to work towards this vision. The second type, external self-awareness, is defined as the ability to understand how others see you and to incorporate these views into your own evaluation of yourself. External self-awareness is associated with greater levels of empathy and understanding others’ perspectives. 

As I write this newsletter I am mindful of so much going on around me. We have politicians promising things they almost certainly cannot deliver; discussions with our family as to where we should live and what we should do to enjoy our retirement. How does this relate to self awareness? I believe that politicians who are not self aware are ticking time bombs! They don’t know what people around them think about them; and they don’t have the empathy to understand how to relate to the normal person. As I relate to the questions about my future, I need to be self aware to the point of knowing what decisions will be right for me and my wife.

So where do you stand? Are you struggling to find meaning in your life? Have you lost sense of purpose? I ask you these questions because it seems that those of us who have spent 40 years in a career, often place “meaning” in our jobs, struggle to find life satisfaction once we retire. We need to consider who we are and what we stand for, since we are much more than simply a career. For those of you who remain in a career, and who have found significance in this, make sure you know who you are broadly so that you can enrich the elements of life that are outside work. It will be those elements that make you who you are when you eventually retire! But it is also those aspects that will broaden your life and make living worthwhile.

Let me finish with the question I think is the trigger for digging deeper: what gives your life meaning? I hope that you can delve deeply into life’s experience and come up with answers to this question. Living satisfied life’s depend on it.

May this month see better weather, and the start of spring!

Blessings to all of you, Peter Craighead

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