One of the characteristics that I have really leaned into this year for myself and my staff is the need for Self-Awareness. It is striking how many people truly lack a sense of self-awareness and specifically are completely out of touch with their present reality (strengths, weaknesses, constraints) when compared to the way that others (family, friends, co-workers, clients) perceive and evaluate them.
Self-Awareness is the silent killer because if not dealt with in a meaningful way, it destroys relationships, careers and ultimately ones sense of self-worth. This isn't to say that Self-Awareness can be boiled down to the simple "You are a B, thinking you are an A while often others perceive you as a C." It goes much deeper than this, so actual characteristics and weaknesses not being dealt with because they are being denied any daylight at all.
Joe is a hard working, salt of the earth guy that doesn't say much. He's a thinker, but keeps many of his opinions and thoughts to himself for fear that others will judge him if he's "wrong" or speaks out of turn.
Problem is, Joe's introspective nature often comes across to others as judging himself, condescending and passive aggressive. So while Joe thinks he's doing himself and others a favour by not engaging...he's hurting himself and his relationships.
In business we see this all the time...a leader that thinks he is a charismatic "people" person, but really is nothing more than a abrasive jerk or slimy snake oil salesman.
Our assessment of our skills and strengths is important...but can often become obsolete if not taken into context with our others perceive those skills and strengths.
A few years back, our leadership team worked with the Flippin Group to complete some 360 Profiles on ourselves individually to assess how we worked as a team in relation to each other and as individuals. It was amazing to see how close the results were with reality and how prescriptive the profiles were in ways for each team member to counter balance constraints with routines to ensure we were being perceived as we wanted to be and maintained a clear picture of our own reality.
So before the silent killer gets you...ask yourself:
What are my strengths and weaknesses?
How do others perceive me?
What is the gap between my self assessment and the assessment of those around me?