Welcome back to the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast!
When you talk with a young child, especially one who loves to spend time imagining things, they will tell you what superpower they want – to fly, run really fast, have x-ray vision, or if they are older to know all of the answers on their school tests.
By the time we get to adulthood, that tendency to hope for superpowers diminishes to the point that sometimes when asked, we can’t even come up with our zone of genius. That thing that we are good at.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to cultivate your zone of genius, but even more importantly the skill of self-awareness. Your goal should be to make self-awareness your superpower.
If you trust me with a bit of your time, I think you’ll like where this episode is headed. But I’ll be honest, what follows is only for entrepreneurs who want to experience growth and thriving in their business.
If you want to thrive and have a powerful business, I’d like to invite you to stick around.
Importance of Awareness
You purchase a course, download the materials, start blindly following the plan and when you look up you notice that what you’ve created doesn’t really make sense, have flow, or represent you and your business.
We’ve all been there. Whether you’ve purchased a social media template kit that you just need to swap out your brand colors and post or you’ve purchased a course and tried to mimic exactly what the course taught, you’ve ended up with something that doesn’t represent your business.
Let me give you an example. I love sell from Stage Academy by Colin Boyd. He is truly a master of speaking and selling from live and virtual stages. In fact, if you have a chance to learn with Colin Boyd, absolutely take it up. He has templates. He has an easy process to follow. Everything’s organized in a step-by-step manner, which makes my organizer’s heart really happy, and it’s so organized that it’s easy to take it and just try to mimic it outright. And the first time I went through his program, I was intent on mirroring everything exactly the way he does it, because it worked for him. He has a proven method. I wanted to follow it as closely as possible.
And so I did. And first of all, it worked, but it felt just a little off because it wasn’t quite me. Now, Colin will tell you that as he was building his business, he was thinking to himself, I want to be a whale. He wants to be that big person in the room, the person that has the authority, who has the leadership that everyone looks to. And I’m sitting over here thinking, I want to be the sea turtle, not because I want to be smaller than a whale, but because to me, a sea turtle has longevity. It is something that has overcome so much.
You think about the baby sea turtles who have to claw their way out of the sand, make it the whole way to the ocean without getting lost or picked off by a bird. They’re just super, they are really good at working hard. Whales are too, but there stands a difference. If I just use Colin’s templates, his program, his way of talking, I’m going to end up sounding like the whale, and I want to be the sea turtle.
I know that’s silly, but that’s kind of the truth in that we have to know who we are, what we want, what that’s going to sound like and look like in our business in order to be able to put that forward out into the universe. And the way we do that, the way we get to know that, “hey, I don’t want to be the whale, I want to be the sea turtle”, is to raise our self-awareness.
And that is probably something that feels a little uncomfortable because when you start looking within, when you start looking internally, you notice some things that might need attention and you’re thinking, great. Another thing to add to the to-do list, what I want to do today is talk about some ways that you can work to raise your self-awareness that maybe aren’t so scary.
Maybe some of them are, but at least some of them should feel okay. So let’s talk through, I’ve got six ideas for you for raising your self-awareness and, and once we do that, we’ll talk through an action item and we’ll wrap up.
1. Understand Your Values and Priorities
Here’s our first way that we can start working to raise our self-awareness. And this one,I hope, of the simpler ones. It is to spend a little bit of time thinking about what your values are, what your priorities are, and this has two layers to it, two levels. You’ve heard me talk about this before, making sure that you know your personal values and priorities, and then making sure that you know your business values and priorities.
As entrepreneurs, we have to hold those core values and priorities close. We have to make sure that they are guiding the actions that we’re taking. It is going to help us make better decisions. Knowing our values and our priorities will help us to finally prioritize our tasks. And it will help us to allocate our resources a lot more effectively than if we just go out into the world and try and do something without tying it back to those values and priorities.
And I’ll add that you want to make sure your business values and priorities support your life values and priorities. We talked about this with Kerry Ann Powell, so you’ll want to check out that interview if you have not already. Okay? So first up, really think into your values and priorities, both at the personal level and the business level.
If you are not quite sure of what your business values are, that’s okay, especially if you’re just getting started, you might be thinking, oh my gosh, that seems so kind of meta. Well, it’s okay. There are lots of tools out there, and I’ll link some in the show notes for you.
You can use a values card sort, which is one of my favorite things as a coach to use with clients, and it will help you kind of identify what’s really important to you. And you can do this on a personal level, but you can also do it at that business level. So I’ll link a values card sort for you if you’re having trouble just coming up with the words, you know, deepen your gut, what your values are, but putting words to them is a different experience, and it will raise your self-awareness.
2. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Number two, know your strengths and those areas where you feel a little bit weaker, those areas for improvement. When you know your strengths and those areas for improvement, you can start making the most of your abilities and you can better delegate the stuff that lies outside your strengths.
You are going to also know where to concentrate your learning efforts, your growth efforts on those areas that need a little bit more love. Now, I’ll tell you something funny. I know my strengths, my top five strengths. If you use something like the Clifton Strengths finder, they’re all strategic strengths. Every single one of my top five strengths is strategic in nature.
So that tells you that when it comes to things outside of strategy, I have to work a little bit harder. But because I know that I also know when to ask for a little bit more help, I know when to delegate something or I know that I have to, to schedule a little bit more time to get through the tasks that aren’t strategic in nature.
I’ll let you in a secret if you haven’t figured it out. My top strength is learning. I love to learn, so it works well. As a college professor, I like to learn so fantastic, right? But I know that the things outside of strategy are not necessarily my top strengths as an entrepreneur, and I can delegate those. I can ask my husband to help me with the technology or with building the website out and thinking through the process of what that needs to look like.
I can do the strategy, but even understanding the concepts behind, well, how does this workflow actually appear on the computer? Let’s think about user interface. Let’s think about these things. So he helps guide me in those conversations. So number two, know your strengths and your weaknesses or those areas for improvement. We all have ’em. Being aware of them makes us much more effective because now you know what to do.
If you’re not sure of your strengths, I will post a link in the show notes so that you can check out some of your top strengths. And of course, I always recommend that you pay attention to them and cultivate your strengths even further. And then cultivate those areas where you can grow and improve.
3. Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence
Number three, mindfulness and emotional intelligence. How do these play into self-awareness? Okay, first of all, mindfulness. That ability to be present in the moment, that ability to step away from the noise of life, the phone that’s binging and dinging and yelling at you all the time and being present in the conversation that you’re having. Maybe right now as you’re listening to this podcast, you’re thinking about eight other things.
I would ask you to pull your mind back to this. Be in the moment, think about your self-awareness. Think about what these concepts that I’m sharing with you have in common with your self-awareness journey. Okay? So mindfulness is being in the present moment, but then we also have this concept of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is something that is near and dear to my heart. It is what I did my PhD dissertation on. And to kind of simplify it, put it all down to one little statement. It’s really about knowing and understanding how to use yours and other people’s emotions in a situation. It’s about being in tune with how you’re interpreting emotions, reacting to them, and also how you’re using your emotions to convey information, to convey a feeling, to convey an intent or purpose in conversation, in interactions in the products that you’re creating and selling, even in something like putting a podcast out, we’re writing that email to your list or creating a free lead magnet to help serve your potential clients even before they come into your world and start giving you a credit card.
Understanding your emotions, understanding, being in the moment will automatically, you have to work really hard. Okay? So maybe not automatically. You would have to work really hard for it not to be impactful. Being aware of your emotions and other people’s emotions. Being aware and being in the moment is going to help you notice new things. It’s going to help you notice how X impacts y, how your email impacted your potential client.
That’s self-awareness, and you can see how it’s going to impact your business. The more aware you are of these things, the more in the moment you are, the more genuine and authentic you become in your interactions in the things that you create and what you’re putting out into the world, and you get to do more good when you’re authentic.
All right, so we’ve talked about a few things so far. Quick recap. Values and priorities. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and keep in mind the concepts of mindfulness and emotional intelligence.
4. Time management and productivity
Now, the last three concepts. Let’s talk about those one at a time. So the next one up is time management and productivity.
As entrepreneurs, we have to-do lists that are a mile long, 18,000 sticky notes, a planner that is full of tasks each and every day, and only so much time to do them. Most of you know if you’ve been listening for a while, if you’re new, let me tell you, I am a college professor. I am a homeschooling mama, and I have my business.
I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a business owner. Time is not something that is infinite in my life. It’s not infinite in anyone’s life, but I have a very finite amount of time that I can work on each of those things, which means I have to be really good at managing my time, being very productive.
If you are aware of the time that you have, if you’re aware of what tasks take you a long time to do, what tasks are lickety split quick, you can prioritize. You can use your time effectively so that you can get the most important things done. Avoid distractions, avoid procrastination, and then use the leftover time to tackle the tasks that are further down on your list. Time management and productivity require self-awareness.
They require discipline to not go down the bunny hole, the squirrel hole, whatever it is, the squirrel trail, bunny trail. You have to stay focused, stay in the moment, which goes back to our concept of mindfulness and knowing your strengths and weaknesses and knowing values and priorities. Can you tell, I like concepts that scaffold or build on one another?
5. Understand Your Personal Motivation
The fifth thing to think about in raising your self-awareness is to understand your personal motivation. As a psych professor, here’s the long and the short of it. Motivation comes in a couple of different flavors. You can have intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic is motivation that comes from within. It is something that the outside world has no say in. It’s what’s in your gut. It is what drives you just personally without the external world making noise.
But then we have the extrinsic motivators. These are the things that happen outside in the world. Things like, I need to be financially stable. I want that financial freedom. I want to be able to pay off the credit card bills. I want to make sure that people see me as an authority, whereas internally we are saying, I have a real passion for my industry. I have a passion to do good in the world and see my business as a way to make that happen. I am creative and love to be able to build a business, build out that idea, implement it, and see that creativity and it doesn’t matter what people think. I love the creative process.
So we’ve got intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Understanding your extrinsic and your intrinsic motivation is eye-opening. It really lets you know what’s driving your choices, your activities, the decisions you make in your business, but also in your personal life. At the beginning of every semester, I ask my students to spend some time reflecting on this, and I let them know that if they’re in my class and their only motivation is to make an A, that’s okay. I understand. I’ve been there, and had plenty of years of college.
Sometimes the motivation is to just get a good grade, but oftentimes when they sit down and think about it, they realize that they have those intrinsic motivators that are causing them to spend more time studying or to delve into a topic deeper because it’s deeply satisfying to them.
If this concept of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is new to you, don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. I have a great brief article on extrinsic and intrinsic motivation that I will pop into the notes so that you can learn just a little bit more and explore your own intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.
6. Seeking Feedback and Growth Opportunities
All right, now, if you’ve been counting with me, we are up to number six, and I promised you six ways to help raise your self-awareness. So here we are at number six. Strange number, right? I know usually I like 3’s and 5’s, but I came up with six. So here it is. This is the hardest one for me, I’ll be honest. And we can talk about seeking feedback and growth opportunities.
Now, I like the growth opportunities, but as an entrepreneur, you have to be really open to seeking feedback and knowing that sometimes that feedback means you’re going to have to make changes, means that someone’s going to tell you what you’ve done, what you’ve put your blood, sweat and tears into isn’t great. As a type A recovering perfectionist, this makes my heart stop and makes me sweat.
I get that pit in my stomach. I don’t know about you, but asking for feedback on something that you have put your blood, sweat, and tears into is scary. So here’s the thing, seeking feedback is going to raise your awareness. It is going to get you in tune with what you’re doing, why you’ve done something, why the choices you’ve made are the choices you’ve made.
And you can take that feedback and reflect on what you do need to change and what you’re going to say. You know what? I appreciate that feedback. I made this choice very, very intentionally, and it stays true for me. So I need to keep that. Seeking feedback is tough. It is one of my big 2023 goals that I am working toward and working on every single day.
In fact, I’m part of a program this year where I have an opportunity to submit something for review, for feedback every single Monday. And let me tell you, I’ve been doing it for a while now, and it’s still that moment when I hit submit on the form still makes me go, Ooh, but am I really ready? Is it really ready?
Should I really submit for feedback? And the answer is always yes, because without feedback, you can’t grow and learn and implement new things. Feedback is essential. Let me give you a quick example. When you have, if you have kids, you, you’ll understand this, if you don’t, you’ve probably seen a baby who’s just learning to walk. They start taking steps and they fall down.
That fall is feedback. And what they realize, you know, they don’t go through this thought process very intentionally, right? It just happens. But they’re walking, they’re walking, they fall, they get back up, they think, huh, what I was doing did not work. I wonder what I need to adjust. Maybe I need to adjust my center of gravity.
Maybe I need to not walk on my tippy toes, but on the middle of my foot. Now, they’re not actually thinking in those exact words, but the process is there. And so each time they fall, they get up, their body makes an adjustment, their brain helps them make that adjustment, and they try again. And what happens is they get tons of feedback in the beginning because they fall a lot.
And then they incorporate feedback, incorporate feedback, incorporate feedback. And before you know it, you have a toddler who is off to the races the moment you turn your back. But without all of that feedback, they wouldn’t have gotten to that point. So as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, you can’t get to being off to the races without getting feedback knowing that what you’re creating, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does need that outside thought. We are often too close to what we’re doing to see the flaws or the confusion that it might create. So get out there and think about who you can ask for feedback. So those are six ways to raise self-awareness.
Here we are at my favorite part of the episode, the action item for the week. If you are new to the podcast, each week I like to share one action item to help you implement what we’ve discussed. My goal is always to help you move forward in your business, not just be a consumer of information.
This week, I’d like to ask you to seek feedback. As you heard me share, this was a bug-a-boo for me as a Type A recovering perfectionist. So take the opportunity to put yourself and your work out there. Ask someone for feedback. Now, usually I’d tell you to go do this now, but in the case of this week’s action item, I’m going to suggest that you wait until Thursday’s special guest episode because you’ll learn more about who to ask for feedback. A bit more about that in a minute.
As we wrap up for today, let’s touch on the key points once again. The overarching concept of our conversation is to develop the superpower of self-awareness. When we are self-aware as entrepreneurs it opens doors for growth, change, and progress. In essence, it is the foundation for thriving.
There are a lot of ways to promote and deepen your self-awareness. You can:
- Get to the root of your core values and priorities
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
- Be mindful of the moment
- Treat time management as a requirement not an option
- Understand your personal motivation
- Seek feedback and growth opportunities
Self-awareness is not something that happens over night. In fact, it is a lifelong practice that we must cultivate. To take you further into this concept of self-awareness and the concepts we’ve discussed here today, I’ve invited expert, Kevin Palmieri of Next Level University to share his wisdom and insights in a special Thursday episode.
Before we leave today, I’d like to ask you to take a minute or two to scroll down to the review section of this podcast and share your thoughts. Not quite sure what to write in a review? I hear ya! Here are just a few ideas that work for any podcast host you’d like to thank with a written comment. You can share what resonated, how the concepts shared will change your life/business, what action you will take because of the episode, or how the energy of the podcast helped you take the next step forward?
Thanks as always for listening! I’ll see you back here on Thursday for another episode of the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast, where a focus on mentoring, community, and implementation removes the overwhelm of building your thriving and profitable business and adds in a dose of momentum.
Until next time, have a healthy, safe, and happy week!
- Values Card Sort:
- Strengths Assessment