Let’s face it, we all think we know who we are. We know what we love, dislike, and despise. We have our dreams, goals, and everyday needs. But, the question that’s worth asking is: Do you truly know YOU? Do you have a good sense of YOU (Your Own Understanding)?

Why YOU matters.

Without a strong sense of who you are, it is impossible to develop a credible personal brand. So much of your personal brand comes from leveraging your inner strengths and bringing them to life in your daily interactions with others. If you don’t know yourself, this can be tough.

It’s also important to have an understanding of yourself because it helps you be a more effective communicator. If you dread giving speeches/presentations, feel tongue-tied in conversations, and get nervous asking questions, part of your challenge comes from not knowing how to most effectively present yourself.

Having a strong sense of self can also make you a better negotiator, both inside and outside the office. Whether it is a contract negotiation with a customer, salary conversation with your boss, or dispute with a board member, realizing your strengths will help you develop more effective techniques for successfully navigating these stressful situations.

Discovering YOUrself.

With the importance of knowing YOUrself being so evident, the logical question to ask is: How can I develop a realistic understanding of myself? Start by asking yourself a couple of these questions:What matters the most to me?

1. What matters the most to me?

2. What are my personal assets?

3. Which three words best describe me?

4. What are the three things I love most about my personality?

5. What are the three things I dislike most about my personality?

6. How would my best friend describe me?

7. What do I think people say about me when I am not in the room?

8. What worries me the most?

9. What is one thing that I would like to stop doing every day? How can I make that happen?

10. What types of situations are stressful to me?

11. What types of situations are exciting to me?

12. What motivates or inspires me?

13. What keeps me awake at night?

14. What’s the biggest challenged I recently faced? How did I overcome it? What did I learn from it?

15. How much do I I trust my instincts? Do I listen to them or suppress them?

16. What important needs do I have that aren’t getting addressed? What can I do to change that?

17. Are my friends my supporters or my critics? How does that make me feel?

18. If there was one thing I could change about my life, what would it be and why?

19. What is my vision of my best self? What is prohibiting me from achieving it?

20. What are the three words that motivate me the most?

Understanding YOUrself makes a difference.

After answering some or all of these questions, look at your responses. Think about situations at work or in your personal life that didn’t go the way that you wanted. If you had thought about these questions earlier, would you have handled these situations any differently? What would you have said differently? How could you have adjusted the tone of the meeting or conversation?

Realizing our inner strengths and the situations in which we thrive can be pivotal in helping us be more successful in every aspect of our life.  It can also make us feel comfortable and subsequently more confident.

By understanding the situations and personalities that motivate us, we can more effectively choose the people we want to associate with and the scenarios we want to operate in. If we are motivated by the people, places, and things around us, we are likely to be more successful. In addition, if we understand the people, places, and environments that intimidate us, we can avoid situations that might stifle our success.

The greater the understanding you have of YOU, the more satisfied and successful you will be!

This article was originally published on Ellevate.

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