How to Use Self-Awareness to Level Up in Your Career

When was the last time you took a good hard look at your skills and life goals? What you’re good at, how you can apply those skills for success, and where you may have some room for improvement? Unfortunately, for many individuals, this isn’t a common practice. It’s sometimes only given attention around annual review time, if then. But, to truly grow and thrive in your career and life, you need to build the most critical soft skill there is—self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the ability to be conscious about your abilities, values, dreams, goals, etc. Self-awareness is often the difference between a good leader and an ineffective leader in the workplace. It’s often the difference between those who get the promotion and those that don’t. Why? Because when you know what you want, what you’re good at, and where you need to be intentional about development, you’re able to take the steps necessary to make things happen.

So, how do you develop self-awareness? And what do you do once you’re able to start thinking about yourself and your abilities a little more critically? We have a few tips.

Tools to Help You Develop Greater Self-Awareness

Online Strength & Personality Tests

Who doesn’t love a good quiz? Especially when the outcome will allow you to build more confidence and capability! Online quizzes and personality tests will help you identify skills gaps, advanced skills, learning styles, personality type, and communication style, which is invaluable for growth and development.

Here are a few we love: For those who want to uncover what motivates and inspires them: Enneagram Personality Test
For those who want to identify weaknesses and skills gaps for development: CliftonStrengths by Gallup
For those who wish to discover what they’re naturally good at: High 5 Test
For aspiring entrepreneurs who want to learn their growth style: Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck

And this is just a handful. If you search Google for personality tests, self-awareness assessments, or skills tests, you’ll find various free and paid options that will help you discover more about yourself to use for future growth.

Journaling & Mindfulness Practices

Many times, self-awareness is sparked by questions asked and your answers. Or perhaps thoughts analyzed after a long day. So how do you open that stream of consciousness? Start or end your day with meditation or journaling.

Grab a journal that gives daily or weekly prompts to help with self-awareness, like Heart Talk: The Journal by Cleo Wade. You could also use whatever notebook you have on hand or open a document on your computer and find questions and topic prompts to help you let the ideas and thoughts flow (like this career-specific list of prompts from The Muse).

A New Hobby or Activity

Exposing yourself to new scenarios is a perfect opportunity to learn about yourself, such as your instinctive reactions or your adaptability. Pick up horseback riding or painting, something you may not have envisioned yourself trying. Then pay attention to what happens when you step outside your comfort zone!

What feelings arise?
How do you react to the unknown?
Are you able to solve problems and answer your questions through observation?

Finally, and maybe most important: Where did you fall short in trying this new activity?

Maybe you got frustrated due to lack of knowledge, or didn’t listen to instructions and ended up in an unfavorable scenario. This is how you identify areas you can work on—the ultimate self-awareness practice.

Not only is this a good self-awareness exercise, as well as a lot of potential fun, but you could even pick up a new skill along the way.

Diverse Feedback

Sometimes, the first step to developing self-awareness is asking others their opinion on your skills. This may seem counterintuitive since you should know yourself best,but more often than not, it’s hard for individuals to be reflective about areas they may be lacking. It may be hard to ask friends, family, or colleagues to give their opinions on your skills gaps or accept praise for your strengths. However, it’s one of the most significant ways to get to the next level and become self-aware. You can’t work on things you didn’t know you needed to work on! Conversely, you also can’t capitalize on strengths you aren’t willing to accept or share.

Suppose you don’t necessarily feel comfortable asking these questions of friends and family. In that case, it could be good to work with a coach who will help you tackle these challenging but essential situations!

So, after you try one or more of these strategies, it’s time to make a game plan.

What You Can Do After You Identify Areas for Growth

The most critical part of building self-awareness as a soft skill is taking action on your discoveries.

First, you’re going to want to start a new journal just for the growth you can achieve from practicing this self-awareness! In that journal, take a look at the outcomes from all of the activities you tried. Make a two-column list. In one column, jot down your strengths. On the other, jot down your weaknesses.

Then, take it a step further.

Those who write their goals or initiatives down are 42% more likely to achieve them. So, keep writing!

Ask yourself how you can practice and apply your strengths in your world of work? Then, write the answer down in the form of a goal.

Next, ask yourself what three skills you need to develop will you focus on first? How will you develop them? This could be through training, personalized coaching, one-on-ones with your boss or a mentor, etc.

Finally, create your action plan with concrete steps and goals.

Once it’s written down, continue to track your progress with weekly check-ins. This way, you’ll have new skills developed in no time and can start to work on the next! It’s a never-ending process. We are all human, and we all have things we can work on! The key is always being self-aware.

Need Help Developing Self-Awareness? NimblyWise Can Help.

Self-awareness is the greatest skill you can build to be an effective leader, manager, and teammate. But self-awareness can be difficult to work on alone. Ironic, isn’t it? Touching base daily with a third-party coach who helps individuals tackle self-awareness and identify areas for growth can help. Our NimblyWise programs are uniquely designed to help individuals at all stages of life and career.

Want to discuss how we may be able to help you reach that next level of consciousness and learn more about yourself to manifest long-term success? Let’s chat.