“The first step towards change is awareness; the second step is acceptance.”- Nathaniel Branden
Awareness is the state of being conscious of something or an increase in knowledge needed to shift one’s perception. Leadership requires a conscious awareness of what’s happening around you, through you and within an organization. It’s being present in the daily unfolding of decisions, problems, and solutions that are generating throughout the day. Awareness allows you to pay more attention to the subtle shifts in your culture, your relationships, and most importantly, YOU.
A Leader who is aware, realizes his/her truths and becomes detached from labels, outcomes, and expectations. They know their strengths and weaknesses and are at peace within and with everything around them. Most importantly, they understand that one’s role as a leader is of influence rather than affluence.
Awareness is not just the acquisition of knowledge. Knowledge has a limited shelf life. Unless it’s both preserved and practiced, it becomes worthless. Samuel Johnson says, “Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he doesn’t possess.” Everyone needs change. Whether it be in our diets, our attitude, or the way we show up in this world. Change is required to become better stewards of our faculties, resources, and God-given potential. Frequently, it’s not that we are opposed to a new way of doing things, but instead, we resist the change because no one made a clear and compelling case as to why we need to.
Experiencing awareness is more important than trying to understand it on an intellectual level. It starts internally first. Awareness can be revealed in everyday living by a subtle shifting of one’s perceptions, by paying more attention, and by showing gratitude. As we advance in our personal growth, we become more aware and more connected to life and all its expressions. Awareness is like a ripple effect. It’s knowing what we do and think, affects the people around us, and their reactions, in turn, affect others. As a leader, the choices you make have far-reaching consequences which surpass the board room. Daily we should be intentional in both our actions, words, and decisions. As leaders, we should be aware that we are changing something or someone for the better or worse, one ripple at a time.