In today's hectic world, taking the time to ask yourself, "Who am I?" and even more so, "Who am I in relationship to those around me?" often gets put on the "do it tomorrow" short list.

Remember, everything you say and do, can affect those around you. Being self-aware, allows you to manage your actions and reactions and not be at the mercy of repeating nasty behavior patterns that get in the way of success.

Not a good idea to wait.

Those who win the long-term game of life, spend time in reflection. No, not days on a mountain (although that can be good, too). It would be more about spending a few minutes each day to practice the habit of self-awareness.

First, the quiz - next, we'll discuss 5 ways to help build your self-awareness habit.

Grab a piece of paper and answer the following 10 questions, scoring each with "0", "1", or "2" per the following key:

0 - Nope, not me

1 - Well, sorta

2 - Yup, that's me

  1. I see praising others as kissing-up.
  2. I don't hold back when I am upset.
  3. I prefer to ignore people I find annoying.
  4. I love to get people to agree with me.
  5. I use the voting technique to prove "they all" agree with me.
  6. I hold onto anger for days after the problem is discussed.
  7. I like to point out mistakes that others make, so they can learn from me.
  8. I listen to others without interrupting.
  9. I avoid conflict by changing the subject, or leaving the room.
  10. I love to get feedback without becoming defensive.

Start counting:

0-6: You have a good sense of self-awareness and are sensitive to the needs and wants of those around you. You have high emotional intelligence and good pattern awareness.

7-13: You are on the road and yet, need to stop and listen to yourself more often. Your edit button must be turned on all the time, especially when someone pushes you to emotional upset.

14+: Get a coach as fast as you can. You are going to shoot yourself in the foot and never realize it was you who pulled the trigger. You will miss the best that relationships offer by staying in the blame game, which is such a waste of time.

Now, here are 5 ways to help build your self-awareness muscles:

  • One thought each day: Start your morning with a commitment to do one, and only one thing, to shift to a new way of relating. For example, decide today you will give praise to those you talk with. Something small is fine. However, find something to say to whoever, on the train, plane, on the phone, through email or text. Even if you feel stupid or weird, do it anyway.
  • Speak from your "I": Practice talking about how YOU feel. No, this isn't' narcissistic (well, maybe just a bit). You're not talking about yourself to brag and prove how good you are (now, that's narcissistic), you are simply owning your own behavior. An example is, "I think I may have reacted too quickly and didn't listen clearly enough." Got it?
  • See opportunities, not obstacles: Practice talking about what you think can make things work better. No, not being a happiness addict, I mean, focus on what can be done, rather than what is constantly not working. Find ways to put words like 'hope' and 'possibility' in your sentences and especially, "How can I help?"
  • Decide what giving 100% means: Don't make yourself into a pretzel. You can't be self-aware if you're tied in "KNOTS" and "NOTS." Practice saying, "Yes, I can" and "no, I can't" and remember only you can decide what makes real sense to you.
  • Stay curious: Create rapport by asking people about their lives. I don't mean pry into their incomes or their sex lives, I mean find out what makes them want to get up in the morning, or as Simon Sinek so smartly asks, "What is your why?" Then give praise and start all over again.

All the great philosophers agree, being self-aware and how you affect those around you, is key to real growth and development. In ancient Egypt, above the entrance of each temple is inscribed, "Know Thyself." That thought has lasted thousands of years, so pay attention.