Self-Awareness Is Essential to Career Success

Individual wearing eyeglasses and professional clothing looks at her reflection in a mirror

Editor’s note: Solid self-awareness is the basis for finding a career that complements you and for maintaining employment. The following blog on self-awareness has been updated as of July 2023.

If career success is likened to a well-built building, thorough self-awareness is the foundation. In engineering, it should be noted that the taller the architectural structure, the deeper the required foundation.

To thrive and progress in our careers, we’ll need a careful understanding of the following:

  • Our strengths and how to leverage them on the job
  • Our limitations and how to work around them on the job, including utilizing specific job accommodations
  • Our weaknesses and how to work around them or improve them with training
  • Our interests so we can hone our careers accordingly
  • Our values so we can work in fields and workplaces that uphold them
  • Our personalities so we are aware of the lenses through which we see the world
  • Our personal and work-related goals so we can work toward them
  • Our temperaments so we can set up safeguards
  • Our motivation so we can plan accordingly to be prepared for the long-haul
  • Our comfort levels interacting with others so we can work towards connecting with others who are very different from ourselves
  • Our pet peeves/ frustrations so we aren’t caught off guard and can implement a plan of action instead of a reaction
  • Our personal boundaries so we don’t frequently say “Yes” when we should have said “No”
  • Our communication style so we can work towards being assertive instead of passive or aggressive
  • Our attitude when our expectations aren’t met so we can rehearse a plan for calming down and deciding on a plan of action
  • Our ability to problem-solve at work so we can improve it

Lastly, we should recognize that having a wholly accurate view of ourselves is impossible. We have to invite others to provide constructive criticism, and we have to apply it. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary for sound, level foundations on which we can build our careers.