Who Do You think You Are?
It’s the self awareness question virtually every person has faced. First at home – most likely in childhood – then in school, in society and even at work as an adult. Just who do you think you are?! Sounds demeaning? Colleta N Macharia explores why this could be one of the most important questions anyone will ever ask you.
I can still vividly see my mother standing before me, hands akimbo, her anger palpable and eyes narrowed as she spat out the words – ‘who do you think you are?’ My nine-year-old self knew, from experience that it was a rhetorical question, asked whenever she needed to elucidate that there was a boss in the house, and it wasn’t me. I’m sure very many of us can relate to this situation.
That question does its rounds to this day – from parent to child, teacher to student, boss to subordinate; and it is still meant to be rhetorical. I’m also very sure many of us can still relate to this happening through the various stages of life. I often reflect and think – what would happen if parents asked that question with a genuine desire to hear their child’s answer?
“Who do you think you” are is a
golden self awareness question.
It elicits defensive tendencies,
but on the flip side its answer can
provide you with a splendid
opportunity for self-discovery…
Here’s what I think; if we asked that question with a genuine desire to hear the answer, we would be inviting our children to one of the most important conversations in life…on the self awareness question; a conversation that would help parent and child look beyond the surface and perhaps understand the child’s fascination with bugs, stones, books or whatever else consumes them until they lose track of time. It would be a conversation that helps a parent and child connect the dots and open the door to self-awareness. A very important conversation – don’t you think?
What is self awareness?
Self-awareness is having a clear view of who we are, what we value, what we are passionate about, what motivates our behaviour and how we interact with others. It is this sense of self-awareness that helps us filter our decisions and choices such as what career to take, what forms of self-development to pursue and what relationships to engage in.
Other benefits of self-awareness include – developing skills that we need to become more effective, understanding and therefore managing our strengths and weaknesses, managing stress, developing intuitive decision making skills, increasing motivation and leading others.
Ask ourselves before we ask other people
‘Who do you think you are?’ is therefore a self awareness question we would do well to ask ourselves before we ask other people. It is very difficult to have a healthy appreciation of another person if we do not have the same appreciation of ourselves.
Do you know how you are wired? Do you know what psychological needs drive your behaviour? If you do, then you are self-aware or are well on your way to developing an understanding of yourself at different levels. You are in a position to leverage on your gifts, talents and strengths and to actively seek out, create and put yourself in an environment where you thrive. You are in a position to support your children who have been entrusted to you to connect their own dots and become self-aware.
Take a gentle look in the mirror, and ask yourself this important self awareness question
If you do not, it’s time to take a gentle look in the mirror, and with the kindest voice that you can muster, ask that wonderful person looking back at you this important self awareness question – who do you think you are?
Colleta N Macharia’s calling is to help people cultivate their inner resourcefulness to achieve personal and team success. She’s the founder and MD of Cogent Afrique Ltd that supports mobile professionals create opportunities for professional engagement after relocation, while managing transition and change. She is a life coach, writer, trainer and also a consultant with the Riverbend Group. A member of the International Coach Federation and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, Colleta has a master’s degree in coaching and mentoring from the University of Wales and a bachelor’s degree in applied accounting from Oxford Brookes University. [email protected] www.cogentafrique.com