Life Coach: Self-awareness is Step One to Success

In order to successfully navigate life and achieve our goals, we usually have expectations of ourself along with the task in mind. Many times, we may blame our lack of success on external reasons.

Rightfully so, external conditions do play an important role in our ability to achieve goals. Take for example how difficult owning a blog would be without the existence of the internet. The nearest thing to a blog back 30 years ago is a news journal article. Today, some 86% of Americans use the internet, up 36% just since the year 2000. More than 45% of people 12-18 years old read blogs and more than 10% of them work on their personal blog!

According to the theory of social influence, one person can influence the way another person thinks, feels, or behaves. Someone suggesting owning a blog is ludicrous can influence another to believe this is true. Based on three principles of conformity, complacency, or obedience our need to belong or identify with others members of the human race similar to us can present a stumbling block for achieving our goals. Whatever values we hold about ourselves will determine the strength of influence effect from others. In other words, a negative self-reflection or unrealistic expectation of ourselves can equally hinder our progress.

Nearly everyone has some level of anxiety when approaching an unfamiliar environment or task. For example, Julie’s boss informed her department of a necessary meeting next week where she is to brief board members on current program strengths and weaknesses. Julie usually works independently most of the time, but she now must stand before people that may form an opinion of her work. She immediately feels anxious, but she soon gains self-confidence in the idea that if anyone can give an accurate summary; that would be her. Julie’s immediate reaction stems from unfamiliarity with some of the board members yet she realistically regains her ground from basing her future performance on the familiarity of her work.

Had Julie felt she is not very effective on her job, she may spend the next week toiling over the outcome of the meeting. Yet, Julie’s motivation comes from simply giving her best, which she feels is the best she has to offer the company. Had Julie unrealistic expectations of herself, she may give up before ever giving herself a chance at success. Sometimes, we may blame our lack of success on unrealistic goals others expect us to fulfill. Within reason, any goal an employer expects is usually based on others past performance. If we are authentically aware of our strengths and weaknesses and function under realistic expectations of ourselves, we can reasonably achieve success.

Most successful people follow some plan for their success and measure their performance. Not many people achieve success overnight. Each person we deem as successful at one time or other set realistic goals for success. Sure, some people start out with seemingly big goals in mind, but they realistically acknowledge success takes time and they maintain an objective self-reflection of their strengths and weakensses. Very few successful people admit their strengths without acknowledging current weaknesses they are working on in life or accept in themselves. The point learned here is our weaknesses is not what hinders us from acheiving our goals, but our opinion of our weaknesses can hinder us. Self-criticism does not help anyone move forward in life or acheive their goals.

Sometimes, we may not be aware of unconscious self-criticism. In order to be successful in life, we must be aware of our strengths and weaknesses as well as have an attitude of acceptance toward our weaknesses. In other words, we cannot improve or accept our weaknesses if we are not aware of those weaknesses. If we are aware of our inabilities and self-critical of those inabilities, we become stuck and unable to move forward. The first step towards success, regardless of the goal, is to take into account the necessary steps to obtain those goals as well as individual strengths and weaknesses. In taking account of our strengths and weaknesses, we must be objectively accepting of any weaknesses; especially unchangeable ones.