Self-Awareness for the Win

(Publisher’s Note: Today’s post is the first in a three-part series this week, all written by Hannah Morris, Director of Assessment & Advancement at The Latimer Group. In this series, Hannah will take us through an examination of how we learn and grow, and how self-reflection can become a critical component in our personal and professional development. Hannah examines the topic from a variety of angles, and how we can harness its power to create a higher level of success and personal satisfaction. Enjoy!)

Self-awareness happens all the time. We all have a constant opportunity to learn new things about ourselves and develop new understanding of those things we already knew. But we have to be paying attention and take the time to process.

Last night I learned something amazing about myself. It is not an amazing thing per se, it was the outcome of the learning that felt amazing.

This “thing” actually happened 18 years ago when I suddenly and inexplicably lost the ability to throw a ball. I was playing for an adult softball team at the time and coaching a high school team, and every time I threw, the ball would either hit the dirt or soar over someone’s head. Something no longer worked in my arm – or maybe it was my brain. I felt embarrassed and confused and immensely frustrated. And I have never regained the ability.

Then last night, I read an article about the “yips”. I learned that many people – including professional athletes – had documented cases of a sudden inability to perform a specific skill, such as hitting a golf ball, tossing a tennis ball for a serve, or pitching a baseball. The “yips” do not seem to be fully understood, and have been explained in many ways, from a factor of performance anxiety to an involuntary muscle twitch due to a neurological condition. What is sure is the impact: they take a hard-won asset and turn it into a real liability.

What was amazing about that revelation was not so much the “yips” themselves and their existence. Many of you have probably known of them for a long time; in fact, even I had heard the term before. What was amazing for me was finally having an understanding and a name for what happened so many years ago and has plagued me ever since. I wasn’t alone; this happened to other people, too, and on a much larger scale and stage. What was even more amazing was learning about some of the strategies that those athletes used to be able to continue playing their sport — with creative modifications.

When we’re paying attention, self-awareness happens all the time. Each revelation can bring not only an element of understanding and relief, but excitement about a new road ahead.

At The Latimer Group, a primary focus of our training and coaching has always been helping people increase their self-awareness. We help them recognize and address different elements of a skillset that are functioning effectively, and those that may be holding them back. This is not to make anyone feel deficient or lesser – quite the opposite – it is to empower them, to help them start identifying and adopting strategies to mitigate these areas and continue to excel in their roles.

I felt excited reading that article, so excited I could barely sleep afterwards. With a list of new strategies to try out, I have the hope that I can finally, someday, get back to the pure joy I have always felt in a good game of catch.

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

We transform teams and individuals with repeatable toolsets for persuasive communication.
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2 responses to “Self-Awareness for the Win”

  1. Mark says:

    Not sure if it is a coincidence, but one of the new Ted Lasso episodes this season (2) featured the Yips and they hired a sports psychologist for the team. Pretty amusing and educational to see a sports analogy read across to the business world.

  2. Hannah says:

    Total coincidence! But now I’ll have to check that out… Thank you for sharing.

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Hannah Morris

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.