This fourth post is about quite a difficult topic: self awareness. Though it is generally applicable to everyone: to be self aware, and next having the ability to act upon that, is a great habit to bring in as coach and scrum master.
When I started my agile journey, I initially grasped all the information on internet available around scrum (and a bit later about agile as well), so I could apply the gathered knowledge immediately in my work environment. In the beginning I was very busy with that, since many challenges crossed my path, and the organisation was not (yet) ready to embrace agility.
After some time – still collecting a lot of information – I discovered that it is really important to be genuine. Being a father at the same time, I discovered that actually people in a work environment do not behave quite differently compared to children and people intuitively know if you are the person who you present to be, or if you are just playing a role. So people started to tell me that “I am agile” rather than “I do agile”.
During multiple years, I learned to trust my “gut feeling”, since my intuition is much faster and most times more accurate than I can logically think. In order to trust yourself, a lot of self awareness is needed, since you need to understand your own limitations and biases as well. We all have them, so being able to understand them, helps in understanding our view of the world and with that understanding the view of other people better as well.
During my journey toward CTC (Certified Team Coach), I actually deepened this awareness since it is needed to be able to coach (professionally) and doing my job as a agile coach better. Self mastery is for a reason put in the middle of the agile coach growth wheel. Based on this self awareness, it becomes much easier to improve or enhance yourself.
So, a good question is how to get there? First of all, you need to be honest with yourself. Nobody is perfect and each human being has his strengths and weaknesses. I simply learnt to accept that. I know quite exactly who I am and in the last few years, I simply accepted some of the drawbacks of simply being me. That brings me the joy and happiness of being me as well, though I still struggle to keep that in place when someone else tries to change me.
This awareness helps me on a daily basis, since I do not have to think about how to show up and how to be authentic. And instead of challenging myself if that behaviour is (mis)interpreted by someone, I can now more easily accept that other people have different views. That results into thinking about how I can help those people how they could understand me better, rather than trying to move away from who I am and who I want to be. All this creates a kind of zen mode, which leads to show a more relaxed attitude and contributes to creating a more safe space where (other) people can thrive and become better versions of themselves.
Of course, this comes not easy. And to be very honest, I regularly run into situations where I feel threatened where I cannot maintain that mode for myself. I have discovered that my intuition is becoming even better in determining these threats. Most times even quite instantaneously when I meet people for the first time. We as humans are different for a reason. It helps us to use collaboration as a way to collectively becoming (even) stronger or better. And not all people have a strong sense of the self awareness to ensure that we maximize the value for all.
So be it.
What do you do to achieve a higher level of self awareness?
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