23 Jul An A-Z of change: K is for Knowledge
Knowledge is power, so the saying goes. So in this information age, with encyclopaedic knowledge at the click of a search engine, how come we aren’t ‘all-powerful’ beings?
The ability to find relevant information is part of the answer. Being able to refine your search, know which websites to start with, and link to a broad network of friends and colleagues can get you a long way.
But I would suggest that it’s the knowledge you can’t get from Google that is truly powerful. The knowledge about yourself (or perhaps ‘your self’) and about how you relate to the world and the people around you. As Aristotle put it,
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”.
You probably know from performance reviews, feedback, perhaps a psychometric test or two what some of your strengths are. That’s a good start. To increase your self-knowledge, it’s worth exploring your strengths more deeply – how exactly do you add value to others and energise your self? What do you know you are really good at?
And you probably also know what you need to work on. Not just new year’s resolution material, but also the sorts of situations and people you habitually avoid and the types of work that perennially sit lurking on the to-do list. This is tricky stuff and most of us apply the strategy of toddlers playing hide and seek – just cover the eyes, don’t look and magically everything goes away. But of course it doesn’t. It sits preying on the mind, draining our mental power and constraining our action. Thankfully, knowledge again comes to the rescue.
For example, do you know how to apply your strengths in different ways or in different circumstances in order to help you tackle challenges? As an introvert, I used to avoid saying anything in meetings until I realised I could use my preparation skills to sketch out my contribution and my listening skills to choose the most impactful time to speak. You can also use other forms of self-knowledge to good effect. Do you know how what works for you in building better habits? What are the best times in your day to tackle a tricky task or hold an important conversation? This kind of knowledge unlocks yet another level of power to change.
Perhaps that well-worn saying should be changed to “Self-knowledge is power”. What can you learn about yourself today that will help you tackle the challenges you face?
If you need some thinking time and support to deepen your knowledge and awareness, please get in touch. I can offer one-off coaching sessions or a series of conversations to help you sustain the change you seek.