A business, like a marriage, can fail at any stage or time. And also, the causes of failure can emanate from any angle, even the ones you least expect. Most often, the founders blind spot triggers behavior that greatly undermines the business, causing it to fail.
Self-doubt, for instance, will deprive you of the self-confidence needed to pursue and explore business opportunities. It causes you to sell yourself short, not knowing what you’re capable of. At the end you settle for the common and easy. You fail, in essence.
Successful entrepreneurs are always reading, listening, learning, and combing every possible source for any and all the insights that’ll keep them ahead of their game and abreast of developments in their areas of business.
In as much as we need technical knowledge to run our businesses effectively, a lot of what we need to learn are outside of what we read in books. The lack of adequate knowledge about three people: including yourself, your customers, and the competition; will kill your business in no time and for good. Unless you learn about these three people from every experience, pick up the pieces and begin again, each time more intelligently.
This article seeks to examine self-knowledge; its meaning and relevance to our successes as entrepreneurs.
Self-knowledge or self-awareness is the knowledge we gained about ourselves through the examination of our thoughts and their patterns, our habits and their patterns, our personality, likes and dislikes, and generally what makes us tick and what turns us off.
What I love so much about the subject of self-knowledge is the looking within that leaves us with little or no time to look without. In introspection, you’re preoccupied with your thoughts and shortcomings. Leaving you no mental space for finding faults in others, as your faults suffice you to mull over and work on.
The lack of self-knowledge will wreck untold havoc on your career, life, and more so, your business.
Here are the many ways self-knowledge is the most important knowledge you’ll ever acquire.
Clear thought and effective action
Self-knowledge enables you to think clearly, make the right decisions and to take the right course of action each time in your life and business.
The best leaders are the most self-aware and they’re better at communication than the rest of the people. They think clearly which enable them to communicate clearly, thereby getting everyone from investors, to partners, vendors, and employees to buy into their vision and ideas.
With self-knowledge, you become aware of the skills that make up your strengths, the areas where you need improvement, and where you need help or a partner to compliment you. This awareness provides the basis for stepping into the right career or business, and a reliable criterion for selecting partners or co-founders.
At best, personal growth without self-knowledge is ineffective, and at worst, impossible.
in letters from a stoic, Seneca wrote, “you must consider whether your nature is more suited to practical activity or to quiet study and reflection, and incline in the direction your natural faculty and disposition take you.”
Becoming a great leader and team player
Self-knowledge will help you spot the errors in your thinking and opinions, and help you correct them. This makes you a better team player knowing that there are times when the opinions and ideas of others are better than yours.
In a 2010 research that examined a number of executive interpersonal traits conducted by Green Peak Partners and Cornell’s school of industrial and Labour Relations, they concluded that “a high self-awareness score was the strongest predictor of overall success.” The research went further to assert that “executives who are aware of their weaknesses are often better able to hire subordinates who perform well in categories in which the leader lack acumen.”
Leading a happier life
Self-knowledge helps you cultivate the mindfulness that leads to a happy life and helps you dissect and tackle fears. It helps to navigate crisis. In a way, you read your thoughts and emotions, identify their origin, take control of them, and be able to choose an appropriate response each time. This skill is a key component of emotional intelligence which according to studies is ahead of technical capability in determining success.
Self-knowledge doesn’t come easy. You’ll need to exert efforts to understand the trajectories of your emotions, actions, and the underlay of your failings. Benjamin Franklin said “there are three things extremely hard, steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.”