Healthy Beginnings

Self-awareness is your door to transformative self-development

Residents participate in a recent Awareness Through Movement class at Reno Feldenkrais Integrative Movement. Photo: Carole Bucher

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series from Carole Bucher about benefits of self-awareness in business. Look to www.hbmag.com in the coming weeks for part 2.

Are you self-aware? Most of us think we are, but are you sure? In this article, we explore self-awareness in a business setting. Here are 2 short definitions of self-awareness to get you started:

  1. Knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources and intuitions. (Daniel Goleman, from “Emotional Intelligence”).
  2. Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives and desires. (Google definition search).

Business executives say self-awareness is the No. 1 critical capability needed to become an effective leader. Yet, in a recent, large worldwide study, only a small percentage of business people interviewed demonstrated self-awareness in the workplace — 19 percent of women and 4 percent of men. Interestingly, the higher the individual’s rank, the more self-awareness was correlated.

Studies also show that employee awareness has a major impact on the bottom line: from absenteeism/turnover; successful product launches; implementing business strategies and transitions; up- or downgrading systems; to identifying and overcoming business obstacles.

Imagine conflict resolution, constructive feedback processes, performance improvement, or creative problem solving without people being able to manage themselves! Leadership and management skills begin first with SELF-leadership and SELF-management replacing ego-driven behavior.

So how to begin? Generally, people who adopt a mindfulness practice work actively to listen to others and check in with themselves/their bodies frequently are much more self-aware.

Here are some specific steps to start the process:

  1. Sincerely explore your strengths and weaknesses, who you are. Make lists. Ask a candid trusted friend for feedback. Prepare for surprises, additions, deletions.
  2. Identify what you care about, what you value; your long- and short-term goals.
  3. Notice what feelings lie underneath memories and thoughts about these values, strengths and weaknesses; where do these feelings appear in our bodies.
  4. Learn how hidden emotions can color our strengths and weaknesses, where arrogance, anger, self-doubt sneak in; what blocks your inspiration and concern for others.
  5. Use your body to uncover your feelings: start to LOCATE the physical expression of emotions in your body. E.g., stress/impatience may appear in the chest, diaphragm, breath, fingers; anger in the muscles of the jaw/face, arms, hands, chest; disappointment/sadness in the throat, head, sinuses.

Our bodies are very reliable early warning systems. Becoming alert to the distinct physical sensations of our emotions means we can deal with complex and confusing issues more quickly, effectively and easily. We can navigate difficulties better, even learn skillfully to recognize and side-step situations that trigger us.

In challenging business meetings or negotiations, feel your tension and adjust your breathing downward, through the nose. Sense your feet on the ground, your bottom on your chair. Don’t listen to the voice in your head. Regain your insight and physical connection, your open-mindedness and open-heartedness, your intuitive wisdom.

Being more conscious and present in your body gives you the ability to manage and improve business outcomes from a new place in yourself. Our bodies are an untapped gold mine of self-awareness information; our key to a higher level of competency in every moment.

You can use this insight to bring new energy/life to your business dealings and relationships. And you’ve already got what it takes to do it!

If you want to learn more about Awareness Through Movement classes or the Feldenkrais Method, contact me at renofeldenkrais@gmail.com or 775-240-7882, or use my contact form at renofeldenkrais.blogspot.com.

Carole Bucher, BA, is a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais practitioner/teacher and owner of Reno Feldenkrais Integrative Movement. Visit renofeldenkrais.blogspot.com to learn more.