One of the simplest methods of developing greater self-awareness is to allocate time regularly to revisit recent experiences and seek insights from them. A simple structure for this is the quartet of questions:
- How do I feel about the way that I think?
- How do I feel about the way that I feel?
- How do I think about the way that I feel?
- How do I think about the way that I think?
You can ask these in any order and typically you will find that insights from one perspective will lead you into another. When thinking about how you think, for example, you may recognise that the assumptions you make in assessing a situation are influenced by values that aren’t immediately obvious. When you think about how you feel, you may realise that you can choose the emotions you connect with an event. When you feel about how you feel, you may recognise that being sad about a loss can make you appreciate the memories more fully. When you feel about how you think, you may learn that your subconscious thoughts are at odds with the person you aspire to be.
Regularly reflecting in this way is an important component in becoming wiser, more self-compassionate and more accepting of others. For leaders trying to cope with increasing complexity and uncertainty, it is an essential skill. For coaches, who aspire to helping leaders become wiser, it is even more essential!