The Importance of Knowing Yourself

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Ashley Buenger Ashley Buenger
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A Common Scenario

You walk out of the meeting, shaking your head. You feel overwhelmed and frustrated, but you're not sure why. You just know that you're tired of these meetings always making you feel the same way: angry.


So, what could've happened here?


Any number of things. Maybe some of these resonate with you:


  • You were given a list of arbitrary tasks that don't seem to have an order.
  • There was no plan, or if there was, someone didn't follow it. And so, it felt like nothing was accomplished.
  • You didn't receive clear expectations.
  • You were asked to do something that you weren't expecting to be asked to do.
  • You had a significant accomplishment that wasn't recognized.


And the list goes on.


These are ordinary, annoying things that happen to most people in meetings. So naturally, they cause frustration, but what if you could pinpoint what made you feel that way and why?


What if you could figure out why you keep hitting your head against a brick wall in these meetings while other co-workers seem fine or may even be responding positively?


You can.


Know Thyself 

Self-awareness is the ability to see outside oneself. It's like watching yourself interact with others, like sitting in a theater watching a movie. You see yourself behaving a certain way, and then you stop and ask yourself, why did I do that? Or what caused me to feel that way?


Let's take the list from above and pinpoint some possible reasons these things frustrated you:


  • You like to prioritize and make sure that the most crucial thing is addressed first.
  • You value your time and don't like when it feels wasted.
  • Without clear expectations, you feel like you risk failure.
  • You already divvied out your day according to your task list. As a result, you don't have the additional time and energy for tasks you weren't expecting.
  • You feel valued when people notice the work that you're doing.


These may seem simple, but knowing and understanding ourselves and why we respond the way we do has a massive impact on how we work with others. And how well we lead others.


If your co-workers know that you like to operate from a clearly ordered task list, they can be mindful of that when they assign tasks to you.

Likewise, suppose you know that you don't have enough energy for an additional assignment. In that case, you can ask if anyone else might have the capacity to take it on. Or request a deadline that allows you the space you need.


Start Here

So how do we start to see ourselves from the outside vantage point? 


Here are a couple of ways to get going:


  1. Take time to note when you feel frustrated, afraid, or anxious, and begin writing down why that might be. Is this a pattern that you've noticed?
  2. Talk to someone close to you that you trust. A great question to start with is, how are you experiencing me?
  3. Consider meeting with a Life Coach. With a coach, you will have space to talk through what you're experiencing and begin to pinpoint things you notice about yourself.
  4. Seek personality tools that give you language for your behavior. My favorite by far is the Enneagram which highlights both the good and the complex parts about a person's personality and what motivates a person.


In some cases, the more you learn about yourself, the more you'll find yourself interested in knowing other people.

(Why does he seem so frustrated when he leaves these meetings?)

You start to ask questions and begin working on a culture that considers who each person is and what they need before assigning the work.


Then more things get done and get done well.

And maybe, just maybe, you even start to enjoy those meetings.


Need more? 

Read about IOL’s 1st guest contributor Ashley Buenger

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