I love this quote by Aristotle, it really sets the tone for this post:
‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
As lawyers, we know how important it is to obtain an understanding of our clients and their businesses, in order to provide meaningful and applicable advice. In fact, I would say that knowing your client and what drives them, is one of the key factors of being a successful lawyer.
But there is another crucial element to your success as a lawyer – knowing yourself.
How well do you really know yourself?
- What motivates you?
- What inspires you?
- Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
- What are your core values and beliefs?
- What are your strengths?
- What makes you unique?
- How do you make decisions?
When we know and understand ourselves, we have a stronger awareness of our decision-making framework and have the capability to make better informed choices under pressure. Which is crucial when working in an industry such as ours.
I believe there are at least six benefits to knowing yourself.
1) Flexibility: People who understand themselves have a lot more flexibility, which is crucial in this age of constant change. If you are agile, you have more options available to you because you are more willing to explore and accept different solutions, as well as being able to practice non-attachment in stressful situations.
2) Leverage your strengths: Awareness of your own personality gives you insights about how to stretch and expand the choices that you have in your behaviour. These insights can help you make adjustments whilst interacting with others, which in turn helps you leverage your strengths.
3) Understand others: When you understand your own traits, you will have a better awareness of others. Personality traits operate along a continuum, with varying degrees of behaviour profiles across a spectrum. Understanding yourself helps you to better appreciate people who may sit on the opposite side to your own personality type. By knowing your own personality type, you will have a better understanding of your colleagues, clients, friends and family too.
4) Improved communication & better relationships: Once you understand your own personality traits, you can be adaptive in the way you communicate with people who may not have the same strengths as you. We all know that improved communication leads to better relationships.
5) Effective leadership: When you get to know yourself, you become a lot more self-aware. Self-awareness leads to higher emotional intelligence, and studies show that this will assist you in becoming a better leader.
6) Appreciating yourself: Knowing yourself allows you to appreciate yourself – warts and all. When you appreciate and respect yourself, you give others the opportunity to appreciate and respect you for who you are.
Whether it’s for better job satisfaction, greater performance, more meaningful relationships, or just getting to appreciate yourself a little more – it all starts with getting to know yourself.
I challenge you to start your journey of getting to know yourself. Why not start by spending just 2 minutes a day tuning into you, and how you are feeling, and getting an appreciation of what works for you and what doesn’t.