Mark Twain is one of my favorite philosophers. And other than Bobby Kennedy he is one of my favorite ‘go to’ persons for wisdom of the ages.

“I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”
– Mark Twain

And it is his quote above that fueled my search for wisdom specific to the understanding of self aka self awareness.

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
– Socrates

But why is the understanding of self important for each of us … and especially us as leaders and as coaches?

“The man that wars with and judges others is eternally lost. The man that wars with and judges himself is eternally found.”
– Jason Versey

According to Chinwe Esimai in her piece Great Leadership Starts With Self-Awareness for Forbes:

“Self-awareness has been cited as the most important capability for leaders to develop, according to the authors of “How To Become a Better Leader,” (which was published in the MIT Sloan Management Review). Successful leaders know where their natural inclinations lie and use this knowledge to boost those inclinations or compensate for them.”

Esimai goes on to reinforce that self awareness is in limited supply.



In her piece Why Self-Awareness is Vital to Leadership and why there is no objective reality,  references a study by the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations (2010) which found:

“…self-awareness to be the strongest predictor of overall success. Awareness of one’s own weaknesses enables executives to work with others who have differing strengths to them, they are more easily able to accept the idea that someone else may have better ideas or abilities than their own and therefore benefit from that. A lack of self-awareness can potentially alienate others, through misunderstanding the impact of your actions on them.

Price continues:

  • Self-awareness is an ongoing process.
  • It is not something gained by a one-off personality assessment that categorizes you as fitting into a box or as a series of letters.
  • It is a process of reflection that takes place over years.
  • It is a continual checking back in with the self to see where you are at. How you are perceived by others and what your current strengths and weaknesses are.
  • It is a striving to improve and to understand where you are at and how your thinking and actions are influenced by your experiences. Where do your biases lie and how can you overcome these so the world can be viewed in a more realistic way?


190521 Coaching Tip - Heinsohn


Want to improve your organization’s ability to achieve its mission while living its values?

Want to improve your company’s bottomline?

Want to continuously improve performance of self and others?

Want to win a basketball game?


First (and most important) Step:

Look in the mirror critically and lovingly.


190521 courage to take the step.jpg





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