Self awareness is a nebulous concept but it seems to be generally agreed that it correlates with a few desirable aspects of life.
For example Daniel Goleman sees self awareness as the key cornerstone to emotional intelligence, because without an awareness of what you are feeling and experiencing there is no possibility of changing or managing it.
A study that examined 72 executives, whose company revenue was between $50 million and $5 billion, found that a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.
So self awareness is essential to emotional literacy and being able to respond rather than only react. It is also clearly a significant aspect of good leadership, because blind spots, especially about ourselves, can easily lead to disaster.
Self awareness also allows us to see our contribution to situations and outcomes and enables us to know what and how we might change our thoughts and actions.
So if we agree it is a good thing, the next obvious question is: how do we increase or improve or develop our self awareness?
Yep, you guessed it, storytelling! There are of course a number of others ways, but reflective meaning making is right up there as one of the best, and the most enjoyable, useful way I know to engage in reflective meaning making is through finding, crafting and sharing or performing our stories.
It is in the extra step beyond simple reflection, to craft our stories to be shared face to face, that pushes us to process and work through our experiences and emotions to settle into ourselves and share what we believe and why. We come away with a renewed appreciation and awareness of who we are.
It takes time, understanding the storytelling process, reflection and practice, but the benefits are totally worth it.
When you do this, you build your confidence and self awareness, you also make peace with your past and deepen your sense of self. You also build trust and connection with listeners through your emotional expression, the weaving of message with story and your powerful and engaging presentation, which is grounded in a deeper connection to your history. Finally, you also create a legacy of who you are and what you believe, that is more powerful than any photo, CV or list of achievements.