Season 2 Episode 2: Self Awareness DONE DONE DONE
Welcome back to the integrated leader podcast. We are on a mission to help you transform into a more effective, empathetic, and impactful leader. Both professionally and personally. I'm your host, Lauren Marie, an executive coach, passionate about helping you unlock your potential.
We have another impactful episode. Today in our series on emotional intelligence. Where we deep dive into the elements that make us more effective in both our personal and professional lives. Today's topic. Self-awareness and invaluable facet of emotional intelligence and the cornerstone for being an effective leader. So let's dig in. It's rare to find a topic that brings together neuroscience, psychology, and even ancient wisdom to provide us with insightful perspectives. Well self-awareness is exactly that intersection. It's not merely an exercise in self-reflection or introspection, but a critical skill backed by science and philosophy. Richard Rohr. A thought leader in spirituality has beautifully captured the essence of self-awareness when he said we do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. This aligns perfectly with the scientific understanding of meta awareness. Being conscious of how our brains function enable us to act effectively and connect empathetically with others. Self-awareness is often misunderstood or reduced to trendy buzzwords. But let's demystify it. At its core self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your own emotional landscape. Your strengths and weaknesses. And your internal motivations. Why does this matter so much? Because the way you perceive and interpret the world around you is influenced by these internal factors. Your decision-making your emotional responses and your interpersonal relationships are all shaped by your level of self-awareness.
Now picture this. You're leading a team. But you're completely unaware of your own bias. Weaknesses or emotional state.
Likely a boss you've had. Creating a chaotic and unproductive environment. Effective leadership. Isn't just about strategic thinking or problem solving. It starts with a deep understanding of oneself. The Dalai Lama encapsulated this sentiment by saying to lead others. Lead yourself first. Before you can inspire guide or empathize with others. You must first know who you are.
Soon. I'll be sharing an insightful conversation I had with therapists, Kaleb Mitchell. He's not just an expert in his field, but also a dear friend and colleague. Our dialogue centers around the impact of self-awareness on various aspects of our lives, including work, personal relationships and emotional wellbeing. We'll explore how honing this crucial skill can drastically improve your leadership capabilities and your relationships with yourself and others. Before we jump into that discussion. Let's pause and reflect on why this topic should matter to you. And an ever changing world filled with complexities and challenges. Having a strong sense of self can serve as your compass, your self-awareness impacts, not just you. But the community you belong to and the people you lead. So without further ado, let's move on to the conversation. . Listen in.
Caleb, thank you for joining me again as we discuss self-awareness in the Integrated Leader Podcast. , Thanks for having me, Lauren
If you're just joining us. Caleb is a friend and therapist for over 20 years. He's the co-founder of the Phoenix counseling collective, a local practice here in Phoenix and also the co-owner of the wellness collaborative. A place for wellness providers to find support Community. and office space. He's here to help articulate and flesh out the ideas around emotional intelligence.
And help us put it into practice. Can you elaborate on the role of self-awareness
self-awareness is the first step in emotional intelligence because we are the lens that we see the world through and interact with the world if we're not aware of who we are and our impact on the world mm-hmm. Then we've lost any perspective on emotional intelligence or engagement with other people
self-awareness to me is a little bit, I don't know why I always picture it this way, but I picture sword in the stone cartoon where it's medieval times, there's these tents all around and there's this really heavy sword that someone's trying to hold. And at times I like to think of us as the sword. are we aware of the. Power that we have. Are we aware of what we can actually accomplish and do, but can we humble ourselves and become an expert in who we are so that we can interact better, not only with ourselves, but with each other?
What I like about that analogy is that it has the awareness that we actually are. The tool that gets wielded. And it's not just our intelligence. It's not just what we can do, what we can produce. Mm-hmm. But it's actually our entire person that is in the room. there's this misconception that if we just have enough expertise or we have enough knowledge or we have enough skill that that's all that's needed In the business world. And the reality is, that is only half of it. How we come across, how we share that, how we integrate that with the rest of the team and what's going on in a larger scope is just as important as our hard skills.
. I've heard it said that CEOs are hired for their skills and they're fired for their emotional intelligence.
Goldman says that. And that's some research that they've actually done. that is the primary reason that leaders get fired. It's not because of their skillset, it's because of the kind of chaos that they have created with their staff.
So how do you develop self-awareness? How do you become the eye that sees yourself? I think a starting point is to, cut yourself some slack you're struggling with emotional intelligence, realize that it's a learned skill. and if you don't know how to do this well, it's probably cuz you just weren't taught.
Mm-hmm. If we think about this developmentally emotional language has to be taught to a child. A child doesn't just come out of the womb knowing how to talk about their emotions. It has to be something that their parents begin or some other caregiver begins to teach them that's one of the things that I would tell leaders is if you don't understand your emotional self, then you might need a coach to begin to help you. Someone who's safe, who's on your team, who's there for your good and for your growth
that could be a coach, that could be a therapist, but somebody who's gonna help you along the way. I would also say that you need other safe places to process, what's going on, even in your business context. this is why you and I are starting to run the. Emotionally intelligent leadership stuff because we want to provide a safe place for leaders who are trying to figure out how to grow that is outside of their employment context, where it feels sort of dangerous and missteps are misunderstood.
Mm-hmm. And so we're there to help come alongside them as they're beginning to learn, okay, this is who I am in this context it's finding those places , where you can explore and learn and grow that are safe.
How can leaders identify their own blind spots when it comes to self-awareness?
I think they need to listen. the leaders should know what their teams think of them, and if they're getting negative feedback, then they need to listen to that. If they don't know what they're. Teams think of them, then they need to start asking. I often tell clients at the beginning of, therapy, as I try to explain what the process is, I ask them to just suspend reality and to pretend like there's no such thing as a mirror .
and that their face.. Which they are born with. They grow up with people, know them by, changes over time. , they go to sleep with, they wake up with, they don't know what it looks like. And it's kind of an eerie thought, but it's true. We often don't know what we look like in a room. We also don't know how we come across
And so we need other people to mirror back to us. And tell us, Hey, this is what this felt like. And if we're not open to that feedback, then we're gonna be in our own, feedback loop of what we think about ourselves. And that can go in either direction. We can think way too highly of ourself, or we can think too poorly of ourself.
Mm-hmm. In either direction. We don't have a clear picture and so we don't know what's happening in the room. So we're in meetings. We're in one-to-ones. We're, in, large group meetings and we don't know how we're coming across and we're doing it sort of blind. So I think the first thing for them to do is to listen.
I think they also need to listen to themselves. There's that whisper. Where we just, if we were able to stay still and quiet enough and actually listen to that part of ourselves that speaks to us, and the ability to listen to the wisdom or the fear or whatever that voice actually tells us, , can be super helpful.
But that's a scary vulnerable. Experience.
I feel like Mr. Rogers was really that person for me. Hmm. I know that seems a little silly, but PBS.
Yep, around five o'clock. Mr. Rogers normalized big feelings that it was okay to have and that they were part of who I was. And it created safety for me to be like, oh, I don't have to just be happy all the time. Right. That is what it is to be human, to have emotions. Right.
You mentioned vulnerability, uh, and creating safe places to develop this because if we don't know how to do it, it's because we weren't taught that. so are there practical ways to. Cultivate our own vulnerability or share that, or what is appropriate to share.
I've had the instinct to pretend they're not there, then I don't have to deal with them. And if I don't have to deal with them, then we can move on and turns out. Caleb, they don't leave. There they are. Uh, so how does that connect to vulnerability and self-awareness
I think that it may sound really trite at first, but the ability to accept oneself and to realize that you can't get away from yourself, and that you're just gonna have to be with yourself. Mm-hmm. And figure out how best to do that. It can be a really freeing experience. There's that song of, if you can't find the one you love, honey, love the one you're with.
And I, I think that that is so practical that we have this ideal of who we want to be and who we think we ought to be. But that is usually not who we are. And so the ability to be oneself, not in some sort of trite love yourself. Accept yourself. A way that feels sort of narcissistic or empty.
It is instead this sober realization of I'm going to try and do the best I can with what I have and where I'm at in life.
Yeah. When you said empty, I thought of the word hyped, a hyped version of ourselves. can we be done hyping ourselves up? Right. Can we just be here? Yeah. With my ugly and my good and. The creativity and the shit that I produce, it's all here. Can I be okay with that? Yeah. Cuz if you, if you aren't okay with that, then there's no way that you can be self-aware.
Hmm. Because you're always living into some ideal of who you are or into some. Belief that you're kind of this piece of crap. And so you're not really living in reality. You're not bringing yourself into the room. You're bringing these ideas of who you are into the room, and so you're, living through projections of yourself.
Holograms. Holograms, , that's exactly the word I was thinking. And so instead of being fully present and human and, solid, In the room, you're just kind of wispy air. Hmm.
I think that's a profound. Image. Are we able to enter the room as a solid human aware of our flaws or shortcomings or strengths? Or are we entering the room as a projection? Of who we think we ought to be yeah. So I think I'd like to end this conversation here,
Hey, thanks for talking to us about self-awareness and your perspectives. It's really a pleasure to be with you . It's always fun hanging out with you, Lauren. Thanks.
next episode, we will be talking about. Self-regulation. So, what do we do with all the emotions? Once we are aware that they exist, join us next time
. Remember. Business is personal. So let's be good at it.