Self Awareness

The world is made up of two types of people. Those who like brussel sprouts, or as I like to call them, “the scourge of the earth”, and those who hate brussel sprouts or more accurately “the decent folks”. At the risk of sounding trite, my experience has shown me that this is pretty well the only way to segment the world.

Before you go all “Gallop Poll” on me for my lack of perspective or insight, allow me to gallop up to the trough of life. My attempt to use gallop as a pun here has failed miserably, but let’s just applaud the effort. We all have our peculiar quirks that shape the form of the interesting people we are attempting to be.

Who you think you are and who you really are can deliberately conflict with your purpose of being at an hourly rate.  An ounce of perception is worth a pound of pure… awareness.  Ignorance is bliss, but so are weekends without the children, but you never fool yourself into the fairy tale that your kids will not return.  So why do we do this with are own inaccurate definition of who we are?

There is a secret conversation taking place these days in the offices of executives, where perplexed leaders grumble at the lack of employee engagement who are resisting the brilliant culture their well paid consultants are recommending. There is another conversation taking place at the coffee stations of office buildings where staff are dismissing the directives from top management as phrases like “He’s such a liar” or “I don’t trust a word she says” echo through the halls.  The consultants view this as a little lack of alignment. They then perform one on one interviews with random staff and conclude a general lack of awareness with most of the staff. HR supports this conclusion and more consultants are hired. This murky idea of advocating self-awareness is a little too lofty a goal in places where unvarnished truth is quelled by varnished truth.

My grandmother use to say, “Never ask anyone to do what you wouldn’t do yourself“. My grandmother also use to say, “Would you like more biscuits?” She said this because of my tendency to use far too much gravy to enhance her slightly overcooked beef.

As a model of leadership, I will attempt to do an exercise that I suggest all should do before imposing Self-Awareness as a requirement for the journey of personal growth in your organization.  If you struggle with populating your list, just ask your spouse and you will receive fourteen pages of yellow legal paper filled with suggestions. This makes your exercise much easier as it is more of an editing task than an introspective endeavour.

To help create the proper mood for my self discovery project, I selected Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror as the background music during my this exercise.

What I am pretty good at:


Pretending to listen.

Forgetting people’s names.

Inability to learn from my own mistakes.

Dressing myself and then changing when my wife makes that face.

Tying my own shoe laces and offering to help others with this unappreciated skill. This is how I acquired the nickname “Mr. Benevolent”.

Leaning against things to look cool.

Pointing out the flaws of other’s driving capabilities.

Pointing out flaws of other’s parenting skills.

Point out flaws in other’s decision making.

Let me just conclude I am exceptional at exposing other people’s flaws.

Correcting other’s grammar.

I am always the 9th funniest guy in the room… even in a room with 8 people. (for the math majors remember there is always somebody twice as funny as everyone else in a room).

Using my call display feature to rarely answer the phone.

Feign interest in other people’s hobbies.

Finding paper towels very quickly, when I spill stuff.

Reminding others of my impending birthday long before this important event.

Returning clothes to retailers that have barely been worn.

Faking Turrets Syndrome to Park in handicap spots while Christmas shopping.

Luring people for a coffee to talk about AmWay.

Picking the slowest checkout line at Costco.

Changing lanes without signalling.

Calling City Hall anonymously to expose neighbour’s bylaw violations.

Cleverly manoeuver conversations to things that actually interest me.

Bragging about how much money I make.

Starting renovation projects without completion.

Getting elevators to close when I see people running towards it.

Promise to pay people back.

When things don’t turn out as I hope, I blame my parents.

Making surprising musical sounds with my body after a good meal.

Suggesting ideas in business meetings that are impossible to realistically apply.

Say things about others that I would never share to their face.

Injecting sports themed conversations at funeral homes

Dismissing contrary opinions as that would take empathy.

Not listening to any music written after 1978

Saying yes when your host offers more dessert.

When people call me oblivious, interpreting this as a compliment.

What I am not good at:

Receiving coaching

Applying coaching

Accepting feedback: Feedback is not a gift, it’s an insult.

Well that’s it, my painful exercise to elevate my self awareness is complete.  It was a little easier exercise to do than I anticipated. I wish all of you the very best with your attempt to introspect. One interesting discovery occurred upon reflection of this important project. My current resume reflects the exact opposite descriptors of the preceding list.  I suppose that suggests slight edits to my CV.  Of course I won’t do this as I believe It is the interviewer’s job to discover the accuracy of a resume, not the interviewee.   Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Cue the Blong:  Ghosts in the Mirror. Maybe not my best song, but you have to admit it’s a pretty cool title.  It is a march and I release it early to allow local marching bands to practise for their upcoming Santa Claus parades.

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