Interviews

3 Strategies for Becoming More Self-Aware from Tasha Eurich

Do you know who you really are? Can you envision how others see you, or what their opinions of you are? We all like to point fingers at other people for their lack of self-awareness, but how often do we reflect on ourselves? How much insight do you have when it comes to your own life, relationships, and surroundings?

Dr. Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist, researcher, and New York Times best-selling author, has thoroughly studied the science of self-awareness through extensive research, and has helped thousands of people improve their efficacy through greater self-awareness. Tasha believes that heightening self-awareness is essential for success in today’s society, as gains in self-understanding can positively affect work performance, career satisfaction, leadership potential, relationships, and more. She discusses how and why it’s important to see yourself more clearly in her newest book, Insight, and provides readers with a survival guide to being aware in an unaware world.

Watch Tasha Eurich in the video below to learn how to become more self-aware by making three life adjustments: deciding to learn the truth, getting more feedback, and asking what you can do to make a change in every situation.

Transcription of Tasha Eurich on how to become more self-aware:

So what are three techniques or strategies to help someone become more self-aware? In the course of researching my book Insight, one of the things we did was very exhaustively examine these people that we called unicorns. Now unicorns are people that did not start out as highly self-aware as adults, and made absolutely transformational improvements in their level of self-awareness. And based on the things they taught me, I can suggest three things.

The first is really a mindset. It’s to make the decision that I want to know the truth. That’s one of the things in my book that I call braver, but wiser. Number two is simply to get more feedback. One of the things we see over and over again in the research on this is that other people can usually see us far more objectively than we see ourselves.

The third tool is a little bit counter-intuitive. A lot of times when people try to become more self-aware, they ask themselves why– why did I do this? Why do I want that? But what my research has found, pretty shockingly, is that those questions don’t result in any more insight. So the tool I recommend is called what, not why. So instead of asking, for example, why did I say something so mean to my husband, you might say, what do I want to do to change our relationship?

One person that’s a great anecdote of what happens when you improve your self-awareness is an executive I worked with a few years back. Let’s call him Steve. And although Steve thought he was pretty amazing, he was doing a terrible job of leading that function.

His people were intimidated by him. He would start yelling and screaming at them with the slightest provocation. And he clearly had absolutely no idea how he was coming across. And once we went through that process of getting feedback from his team, understanding the things he needed to work on– things like asking questions, showing empathy, being compassionate– things that he had completely missed in his career to date, Steve was able to completely turn around not just his own performance, and not just his team’s performance, but the way his function was performing, from both a work attitude and a morale standpoint, and also, probably more importantly, bottom line business results.