A Coaching Power Tool created by Yatin Samant
(Executive Coach, INDIA)
Acting without being aware is like taking medication without diagnosing a medical condition.
Self awareness is enlightenment – it’s like operating under floodlights, which helps one see path to destination vividly. Awareness is important in goal attainment process to establish :
(i) Who am I ,
(ii) Where am I currently
(iii) What do I want to do ,
(iv) How would I like to go about it
Awareness has an inward focus, not outward. Awareness is knowing our self more, knowing the patterns that we have in our everyday life — knowing our beliefs, our mind, our spirit, and our body. Awareness is understanding our connection to the universe. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in a way represents different levels of awareness in ascending order. It has total awareness as self-actualization; the highest level in the hierarchy. Another way of looking at awareness is through exploring the ancient teachings of the chakras which originated four thousand years ago. There are seven chakras and each chakra represents steps to pass through in the aim of achieving ever-expanding state of consciousness.
Having awareness can be described as having a learning pathway for one’s life. Learning more about self is part of growing up. It we choose not to gain self awareness we would stagnate in life. Creating awareness also supports us in identifying the areas of our life that work for us and the ones that don’t.
A test of self awareness
- One is self aware when one can see issues separate from oneself , when one is able to separate reason from emotion , one is able to work with emotion rather than under its influence . More importantly when one is able to view self from ‘ outside ‘ as a person not as a special ‘ me ‘
- It is self awareness when one can ascertain what (including which of one’s underlying beliefs) helps, what doesn’t.
- When one starts taking responsibility of own life and deeds, one is self-aware; it is when one carries only learning, not regrets from the past. Regrets immerse you in the past, learning will take you forwards.
Self-deception `is living in illusions, denying what is and believing what is not. While some times it can be a conscious act, in most cases one is not conscious of one’s deceptions – it’s the very lack of awareness. Self-deception is a passive state of unconscious incompetence which needs to move to conscious incompetence (awareness) in order to move to active state of taking action.
- Self-deception can happen to best of performers -- It’s not about insincerity of intent or efforts but about inability to see what the real problem is.
- Given a challenging situation not of one’s making, not of one’s liking, there are possible 4 ways in which one can react:
- Deny or defy existence of the situation & pretend as if nothing has happened.
- Evade / escape. Run away from the situation , assuming that the farther you run , the lesser is your obligation to face it
- Submerge / immerse yourself into the ensuing grief, be self critical / penalize self or use external means of temporarily ‘forgetting ‘the grief’s existence.
- Face the challenge
First 3 of above options are in the mode of self deception à inaction / ill action. The last one is a self awareness stage leading to action. It follows that:
I don’t like the situation, I wish it hadn’t happened to me, though I recognize that it’s there, & now that it is, I’d face it the best way I can.
An instance of self-deception will be like this :
An infant who’s just learnt to crawl, in an attempt to find her way around the house, gets below furniture. Gets stuck, panics, tries hard to push around to get out. Starts crying & banging her head against the underside of the furniture She knows she is stuck & she hates it. Does only thing she can think of to get out – to push harder; as a result the situation worsens.
If this infant can talk, who would she blame for her problem — the furniture of course? After all she’s tried to do ‘everything possible ‘to get out of the problem. If she’s more lenient, she’d blame her luck for it. In effect problem is everything except herself.