Four Steps to Meaningful Change: Step One
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

I have been thinking a lot about how 2021 will be different from 2020. Maybe it’s more accurate to say I have been thinking a lot about how I will make 2021 different. The truth is, I have no idea what 2021 will be like. What I do know is that I can meaningfully change myself; that will make 2021 a better year. This is the first of a four-part series that will take us through what I am calling Four Steps to Meaningful Change. Each week, we will take a few minutes to introduce the step. If you want to take a deeper dive into that step, join Marisa Norcross and me on The Next Page podcast, where we will discuss it in more detail. Let’s get started

Step One – Awareness

“It is far better to know where one is and realize that one does not know than to be certain one is in a place where one is not.”

That quote might take a few reads before you get the full impact of it, but it is so very true. It’s better to not have a clue and know it than to be certain about where you are and be completely wrong. What is even sadder is that most people who think they are the best at something are often the worst at it. It’s known as the Dunning-Krueger effect. People have a cognitive bias, which leaves them blind to how bad they really are. Each one of us is most vulnerable in the areas where we are most certain. Wow, now that’s scary. The things that I think I am best at might actually be my problem areas. We can call that the curse of confidence. A great way to double-check yourself is to see if you ask more questions in a specific area or give more answers. Those who are gifted in an area want to get better, so they continue to ask questions so they can grow.

The best tool for growing awareness is a 360-degree Assessment. You need to seek feedback from people who interact with you regularly. I know this sounds scary, but the only thing worse than hearing you have some issues is not hearing it and continuing down the wrong road thinking you are doing great. Lately, I have had the privilege of conducting several 360s, including a corporate 360, and the information you can learn is transformational.

Another great tool is the Closest Friend Assessment. With this assessment, you ask two of your closest friends what your greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses are. Brace yourself for this one. It can be tough to swallow, but the best medicine often is.

Remember, you need to know yourself to grow yourself. James Russel Lowell said it best, “No one can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself.” If you would like to hear more about this topic, join Marisa and me as we discuss awareness on Episode 184 of The Next Page podcast. Next week, we’ll look at Step Two – Vision.

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