Improving your personal effectiveness through greater self-awareness - Leadership Development Blog | The Mindful Leader

The benefits of mindfulness are transformative and are often part of an interconnected web of personal growth. While it’s impossible to truly measure these benefits, over a prolonged period of incorporating mindfulness values into your life, you will be able to recognise a change in yourself. 

Personal effectiveness is your ability to use the tools, both internal and external, that are at your disposal to achieve your goals more effectively and successfully. Self-awareness, on a related note, is about your understanding of your beliefs, motivations, thoughts, and emotions. They each lean on the other but are two, distinct qualities that can be cultivated through mindfulness. 

I’m a firm believer that by understanding yourself, you have a better understanding of the best ways to lead the life you want to lead and become the person you want to be. I always challenge myself to recognise my strengths and my weaknesses and build on this knowledge to better myself. 

Recent circumstances made this difficult for me. One aspect of mindfulness is about focussing your attention on one activity at a time – eliminating multitasking. When I first started working from home, this style of mindful working, which I had grown so accustomed to, became a challenge.

I lost my workspace and my personal and professional lives existed in the same space. I had my children at home who needed to be cared for, household tasks, and the pandemic outside that overturned our daily life. 

These times were stressful and I found myself feeling overwhelmed on numerous occasions. I had to come up with a new system in order to improve my personal effectiveness in this unfamiliar territory.

I began to try to take control of the aspects of my life that I could control. The pandemic wasn’t going anywhere, the stress of the situation was real and I had to be more forgiving with myself about that. I already knew that I wasn’t a good multitasker, but current circumstances meant that my priorities had to shift. 

The bottom line was that I still had to be a leader to my team. I also had to be a role model at home for my children, who were contending with the pandemic and the changes this had made to their lives. 

So, I made myself a schedule that factored in all my priorities as equally important parts of my day. I set realistic goals for myself and I valued the progress I made. I got through work from home in a way that let me continue to feel worthy of my responsibilities, and the roles that I played in the lives of those around me. 

This was in no way an easy task that immediately made everything better overnight. But it was a method that I knew would help me handle these circumstances, and it did!

It even became a joke in the family, where we would try to come up with activities to do indoors during what my children referred to as, “the blanks”. These were the gaps in my schedule; a schedule that also helped my children retain some sense of normalcy and routine during those trying times.

In order to achieve a calmer state of mind, I had to use my self-awareness to rebuild my personal effectiveness during a time of great uncertainty. 

The advantages of personal effectiveness include determination, self-confidence, optimism, stress management, persistence, problem-solving, time management, planning, and self-motivation; advantages that are made possible the more you develop self-awareness. 

The best way to become more self-aware and increase your personal effectiveness is through mindfulness.


Mindfulness exercises that improve your personal effectiveness

Mindfulness sharpens your focus and helps you perceive things more clearly and achieve greater self-awareness. Without self-awareness, it’s impossible to recognise your goals and ambitions and the traits you possess that will lead you to them. 

Mindfulness exercises can help you reach these goals.


Meditate daily

Meditation is one of the main methods of mindfulness development. When you take a couple of minutes every day to meditate and clear your mind, you will be able to gain clarity about your goals and priorities. You will also be able to avoid feeling overwhelmed. 


Improve your focus

Focus is necessary when it comes to achieving your goals and recognising the best ways to get to them. The mindfulness practice of paying close attention to your sensory experience of the external environment (such as the scratching of a pen on paper or the way your keyboard feels on your fingertips, for example) will help you develop this focus.


Stay organised 

Being organised is the key to personal effectiveness. Maintaining a clear mind and setting clear goals will help you develop self-awareness-driven working practices that help you reap the benefits of personal effectiveness.

Being organised will also help you recognise your progress, strengths, and weaknesses and facilitate continuous improvement.