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The Crucial Role of Self-Awareness in Overcoming Your Personal Constraints

The Crucial Role of Self-Awareness in Overcoming Your Personal Constraints

By General Robert Van Antwerp

10 years ago





There we were, my boys and I, at a remote and rustic one room cabin in the hills with one of my best friends and his two boys.  It was a weekend away to strengthen relationships, get in touch with nature, and pass on a few survival skills.  We wore ourselves out hiking, fishing, chopping wood for the fire pit, and bathing in a freezing cold stream.  Brrrr!!

When we finally climbed into our sleeping bags after all that activity, a great fish dinner, and many exaggerated stories around the fire pit, I was looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

But it didn’t happen.

I’m a light sleeper (happens with age), and my friend snored like a freight train all night–I hardly slept a wink!  In the morning he said he slept like a baby and asked how I slept.  I told him I didn’t sleep a wink because of his snoring and asked how his wife could stand it.  He said, “I know I snored a little but didn’t realize it was that bad.”  We had a good laugh about it and I made some makeshift earplugs for the next night!

Often we are oblivious as to how our habits and behaviors affect others.  While I’ve taken many assessment tools that rely on self-assessment, I have found my greatest  insight comes from tools that ask others to describe how my behavior affects them.  In some cases, my self-awareness tracks pretty well but in other cases I’m as oblivious as my snoring friend.  In the Flippen Group, the Flippen 360 Profile provides a means of getting great feedback about your behavior and insights into what behaviors are holding you or the people you influence back–we say those behaviors are constraints.

Frankly, the #1 constraint of most leaders is that they rely on themselves for self-awareness and fail to get good feedback to get “others’ awareness.”

I love the quote from D.L. Moody, who when asked who was the toughest person to lead and the most troublesome, said immediately, “I’ve had more trouble with D.L. Moody than any man alive!”  Taking stock of your current behaviors from the other person’s point of view is foundational to changing for the better!  Go out there and get feedback!

General Robert Van Antwerp

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