Just what is self-awareness? Being self-aware is having a clear perception of one’s personality, including strengths and weaknesses. However, being self-aware is deeper as it also includes our thoughts, beliefs, motivations, and emotions. Being self-aware allows us to understand other people and how they perceive you, but it also allows us to understand our attitudes and our responses to situations and other people’s reactions.

With all that foundational perspective, have you ever had someone tell you that you were trying too hard? What is it about trying too hard to succeed that just doesn't seem to work?

Understand, I would be the last one to say that it is wrong to put all your energy into something, or that you shouldn't try at all. However, there is a point at which you can try too hard, and when that happens it appears that you tend to get in your own way.

Why do you suppose that is? My thought is that all of us have a self-image or self-awareness—our idea or perception of what we are like. Given this perception of self-awareness, we don't really have to think about behaving like the person we believe ourselves to be. It is just something we do effortlessly.

A person who is outgoing, for example, doesn’t have to work at being outgoing. They make friends easily and always seem to the life of the party. It just happens naturally. However, if you believe yourself to be shy and introverted, you don't have to be reminded to be shy when you are in a group. This also happens naturally.

What happens when you try to behave in a way that contradicts your self-awareness or self-image? Even if it’s a positive change, you think "that's not like me." The typical tendency is to go back to behaving like what the "real" person you believe yourself to be. How can this reversal be prevented?

The first thing is to realize that all meaningful and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out! Therefore, if you want to be different than the way you are now, you must work on changing your self-awareness. You can use positive affirmations and visualizations to help, and once your self-awareness changes, you don't have to work so hard to behave differently and success will come easier.

Think about it…