Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Beginning of All Wisdom!

Weekly in our business, we have a planned time to get together with our teammates for a 1hr staff meeting to discuss various topics. What may range from a guest speaker, to a professional development topic, to a team-building theme, we utilize the one-hour to the most of our abilities knowing that we only have one hour together.

With new teammates recently added to our organization today we thought it would be timely to explore elements of both self-awareness and areas of personal development. In a non-judgmental & planned environment we delivered supportive feedback for each and every teammate – an action to stop doing, an action to start doing, and an action to continue to do. In essence, every teammate provided those three areas of feedback for each of their respective teammate so by the end of the meeting every teammate received 16 pieces of feedback on 3 different areas.

Eye-opening? Not particularly. Excellent? Yes.

Why was it not eye-opening? Well, the feedback (for the most part) should have acted more of a reminder for people. If we understand ourselves at any capacity, we should have an understanding of what we do well & what we don’t. And if we don’t – chances are we aren’t secure enough in ourselves to admit it. However, today’s exercise allowed others to provide it – which forced us to go to a deeper level of understanding our behavior!

Which leads us to the topic of self-awareness.

According to Aristotle, "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom."

Why is this so important?  Numerous studies indicate that individuals who score high in self-awareness are happier and achieve greater success than those who lack it.  Self-awareness enables people to build their lives around their strengths and better manage their challenges.

As people become more self-aware, they are usually amazed at the abilities of the conscious mind to choose, handle situations with deliberation, and behave appropriately for different occasions.

On the flip side, the unconscious mind is a powerful force driving our behavior. Within our unconscious lie veiled assumptions and beliefs that formulate what is called default behavior. The dictionary defines default as the “failure to perform a task or fulfill an obligation,” which means that default behaviors are reactive responses that occur when we fail to consider the appropriate response.  

Becoming aware of our personal reactive tendencies is crucial if we want to make sense of our toxic behaviors, understand why we have permitted these gremlins to continue, and develop a plan for taming them.  

Our attitudes are choices, some of the most important choices we will ever make. Attitudes are reflections of what goes on inside our heads. They affect everything we do—positively or negatively. A negative attitude acts like the accelerator of a car. When we put our pedal to the metal, we learn very quickly that driving can indeed be dangerous to our health and to our career aspirations. Default behaviors occur when we decide not to act, but to react. And default behaviors may not represent our best side or our ideal self.

Becoming aware of the effect our personality and default tendencies have on the people in our lives helps us engineer better communication and leadership styles.  The four quadrants of the brain generally correspond to specific behavioral patterns.  Our brain's hardwiring drives how we think, feel and act, which in turn defines who we are!

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