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The Art of Knowing Yourself

We need to do a better job at knowing ourselves!

Here’s an interesting statistic; you have a 600% possibility of derailing if you’re a CEO who doesn’t practice self-reflection!

It’s a good thing to challenge your entrenched Cognitive Biases which limit your thinking as you get stuck in your own belief systems, ignoring opposing viewpoints. Most leaders find themselves experiencing 360’s quite frequently, where themes emerge and direction provided on what you’d benefit from working on. Having a mirror held to your behaviour is important, as the chances are you just aren’t seeing some things!

It’s an acquired art to practice daily self-awareness, so that you can better understand your ‘emotional contagion’. Emotions spread like the flu, and your mood infects your whole team within a very short space of time.

We judge ourselves on our intention, and we judge others on their behaviour. When you grow the art of knowing yourself, you’re more willing to challenge your own behaviours and patterns of showing up with others. A good CEO is constantly asking for feedback, taking the responses on board without any defensiveness – and demonstrating positive change in their behaviours.

I love the Ernest Hemingway quote: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.”

Which brings to mind the beautiful Japanese art of Kintsugi and the implications it has for inspired self-reflective leadership.

Kintsugi is the Japanese mending practice of putting thing/artefacts back together using powdered gold. The resultant artwork becomes even more beautiful than it was before being broken.

There is much you can learn as a leader from the art of Kintsugi:

  • Feedback can be tough to receive as you feel in some way ‘broken’. Perhaps a dent in your ego, a bruise to your reputation, a perceived loss in a relationship, the necessity to drop your armoury
  • Recognise the possibility in the challenge as you open yourself up to honest and vulnerable self-reflection
  • Look for the cracks and find the powdered gold – what do you need to work on? What conversations should you be having? How are you navigating your emotions – is there a better way? What relationship bridges need mending? How can you live more into your values more each day? How are you bringing empathy into your leadership and considering others’ points of view? How well are you listening? In what ways are you role-modelling presence and a healthy life balance?

Think about what your leadership will look like when you’re stronger in the broken places.

I encourage you not to wait for the 360 moments for this kind of reflection. It should be a daily personal leadership practice – as you shine up the Art of Knowing Yourself.

It may be useful for you to use these Daily Reflection Sheet questions:

  • How did I take care of my health today?
  • How did I impact the environment positively today?
  • How did I bring laughter and fun into someone’s life today?
  • What random/conscious act of kindness did I do today?
  • How did I practice humility today?
  • Did I work on my Optimism today?
  • How did Empathy show up in my relationships today?

Cheers Alison


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