Leveraging Self-Awareness to Make Wiser Decisions

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Derive better leadership decision-making through heightened self-awareness. Learn tools like the 'Would I Tell Everyone?' technique for aligning choices with your deepest values.

The Importance of Awareness in Decision-Making

Awareness is imperative for arriving at wise decisions. Being far more aware of what’s going on around and within us opens doors to fresh insights, greater clarity, and helps us make wiser decisions — all while reducing stress.

As we bring together our awareness of varied aspects of our situations; as we notice what we feel and sense about what we’ve become aware of; and as we measure all of that against our values, we can start to assess the wisdom of any choices we make.

Understanding Our Blindspots and Subtle Drivers

Quoto: Checking whether we're in integrity requires us to be in truth about what's driving us — the unspun truth.

One of the most prominent impediments to wise decision-making is our blindspots. Blindspots prevent us from seeing the whole of what drives us as we deliberate, some of which are very subtle.

And quite often, those subtle drivers arise out of a part of us that just wants more…and more…and more.

A Tool for Reflection and Alignment

An effective tool we can use to shine light on our drivers and whether our decisions are aligned with our stated values is to ask ourselves:
“Would I feel great telling my closest friends, my family, people with high integrity who I most respect — the unvarnished truth about this choice?"

By unvarnished truth, I mean that we wouldn’t omit or embellish any aspects of the decision or situation in an attempt to manipulate others to perceive us in a positive light. Using what’s really going on in any situation offers us a genuine opportunity to reflect upon how we really feel about the path down which we’re traveling.

The Pitfalls of Ignoring Our Values

Life is full of opportunities to sweep our awareness of our values and feelings under the rug in service of making money or getting ahead. We’re very creative beings who can easily find ways to justify ignoring the needs of other people if it means we can get our needs met. And we can be quite effective at blinding ourselves to the truth of doing that.

But if we worship money, power and control over our living in alignment with our values, we’ll suffer in the long run. It truly does haunt us and bring stress to our lives.

This process of telling (or even imagining telling) the naked, unspun truth to those whose view of us matters most, helps us to see what we’re doing by putting a magnifying glass on our words, choices, and actions.

Not because we’re designing our lives to be based on what others think about us — that’s not healthy at all — but rather, to make use of that reflection to enhance our awareness of what’s driving us and assess whether our impending choice aligns with our values.

The Role of External and Internal Awareness

Quoto: Many people beat themselves up about their negative behaviors. This never helps. It's just a different type of negative behavior.

Remember, the goal here is to become far more aware of what is going on externally and internally.

External awareness informs and confronts us about how our decisions might impact our lives, the lives of those around us, the broader range of stakeholders we serve, the environment, etc.

Internal awareness sensitizes us to how we feel about these potential impacts. It reveals whether our choices are in alignment with our values. It brings to light whether going down this path feels right to us and is in integrity. And with our hearts engaged, we can sense how caring this decision is for those affected by it.

The “Would I Tell Everyone?” Technique

The point of this process is to raise our awareness, not to get sucked into getting down on ourselves. We’re all human and get caught up in unhealthy patterns from time to time. The key is to notice what needs drive us out of integrity and out of alignment with our values — and to see which unhealthy strategies we use to achieve that. Then, we can make course corrections.

Our mission in this is to see where we’re out of alignment; learn from that; clean up any messes we’ve made; then become more aware as we move forward in a more conscious way.

Take a moment and recall a situation in which you took advantage of someone — a situation in which if a spotlight was shining on you at the time for all to see, you would not have felt good.

Imagine telling those whose respect is important to you, free of any spin doctoring. If you have children, picture telling them about how you handled that situation, asking yourself, “Do I really want to model this behavior for my children? Is this what I really want to teach them?”

Looking at the situation, what do you remember thinking and feeling? Can you see what was driving you to say or do what you did? What unmet needs were in play and driving you?

Can you see if you blinded or numbed or distracted yourself so that you could do what you did, and if so, how? Essentially, what can you learn about how you got yourself to behave in that way that didn’t feel right?

The Journey to More Conscious Decision-Making

Quoto: We're endeavoring to lead more consciously, be better human beings. To do that, we must examine where we’re insufficiently aware, insufficiently kind — so that we know what we need to clean up and what we need to heal.

Remember, we’re endeavoring to learn to be more conscious leaders, better human beings. To do that, we must examine where we are insufficiently aware.

Some people will have a habit of beating themselves up about their negative behaviors. This does not help. It’s just a different type of negative behavior.

Raising awareness around what drives us when we operate at less than at our best is part of the healing process. It allows us to learn how to better meet those internal needs in a healthier way, easing the unnecessary stress and pressure we all too often place upon ourselves.

This makes it far less likely that we’ll get “taken over” by those unhealthy and negatively impactful drivers.

Regardless of how long ago this took place, there are many opportunities to clean up after ourselves. I know quite a few CEOs who have, years later, reached out to former partners and employees to apologize for words said or actions taken.

While that may not always be received well, it often is. No matter. What’s cleansing is the owning it, the learning and the initiative to heal, grow, learn, evolve.

Moving Forward, Aware

Utilizing this process with any decision can support us in checking out whether we’re in integrity and in alignment with our values.

If we discover that we’re not in alignment, we can assess which course corrections can be made so that our decision is aligned, wise and in integrity.

Unleash your Brilliance as a Conscious Leader

It's my mission to support people in leading with unyielding integrity, clarity, and authenticity. If you'd like to tap into your deeper insight and practical wisdom to lead more powerfully and effectively, feel free to reach out at connect@evolvingceo.com to set up a time to connect.

To see what others have to say about the work we do together, please check out the testimonials here. I look forward to connecting.

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