Self Awareness Is Critical to Success

Written by RefWriter Published in

self-a·ware

(sĕlf′ə-wâr′)

Aware of oneself, including one’s traits, feelings, and behaviors

I am a girl.  I wear emotions on my shoulders.  I multi-task.  I am able to take in a lot of information at once. I love hot pink, bling and accessories. I love life and live with a smile. I am… I am.. I am…

I am a lot of things and one of my best qualities is that I am self aware.  Self aware to also know that I am bossy, demanding, and sometimes unapethic.  Though I can talk to anyone, I am not a good small talker.  I love kids but I dont have kids and that comes with some prejudices.   I know that sometimes my behaviors and traits prevent my advancement in the boys club.  I am aware.

Today, as part of a two day seminar in my mentorship through the Women's Initiative of the George W. Bush Institute, we are discussing self awareness. What I am hearing is easily transferable to every one of us.  One very true indicator of a businesses's predictability to grow is the leader's ability to objectively assess herself and her value proposition to the market.

One thing Charity told us today is that when she first moved from California to Washington D.C., she learned really quickly that her cute pink scarves and the cute pink heels simply prevented her from being taken seriously.  She didn’t have to be told, per say, but she was getting the gist.  If she wanted to be taken seriously on the Hill – the pink had to go!

Hot Pink in DC

Hot Pink in DC

Similarly, at a young age, I was told I smiled too often and was having “too much fun” at the job, which implied a lack of seriousness.  But I am a smiley person.  I am a happy person. So, at a crossroads, I had to ask myself, “How do I remain authentic in my personality and yet drop all the smiliness?” This was not a question I really wanted to answer.  I actually was having fun working and I was happy to be there and the competition of winning does make me smile.  So dang it, why should I have to quit smiling?  And really what does smiling have to do with my ability to do my job?

At age 22, 24, or 25 this seemed like a big compromise to, not smile.  But in true self awareness I adjusted.  I took the less smiley approach.  I appeared more serious in the meeting or presentation.  

And as we all know – their perception is their reality.  And after some time, some of those folks much older than me or more senior than me began to take me more serious.  They began to trust and like me – and I didn’t even smile at them.  :-)

So going into this new career or venture – are you seeing yourself as others see you?  Are you really self aware?  And if you are told you are too smiley or too frumpy or too expensive too broad based or too narrowly focuses or too whatever, are you going to make a change in behavior to help your company or yourself?  

Or will you do as you have done in years past and make excuses as to why that shouldn’t really matter?  Will you continue to sell your product to the PR person when everone tells you you should sell it to the advertising department instead?  

This year is your year to improve.  This is your year to make those tweaks and changes in your business to advance into the next level.

And now, after having spent a decade (or more) proving I am serious, focused and intense, I have built relationships with partners, co-workers, and clients and now we laugh alot!!!  I am my smiley, bling – loving, girley self more often in the business world now that I have been in the trenches and proven I am a serious, client-focused, calm when the going gets tough kind of partner, I have earned my smile back.

What trait or quality do you need to adjust to advance?  I would love to hear stories of your self evaluation.

 

Rachael is an advertising business executive in New York City, and she owns a retail business and a residential construction company. 
She also serves as mentor in the George W. Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative to a young business woman of Tunisia. She is also the President of Shawnee Community Foundation and a guest blogger for Refwriter.com.

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