Pursuit of Consciousness of Self

Authored by:

Anne Arseneau

Director of the Office of Student Leadership Development


I’m a self-improvement junkie. I earnestly believe there is a better version of me just around the corner and I’ve been known to try lots of new things in pursuit of Anne 2.0.  I’m pretty sure I can tie that back to some leadership development roots.  One of my all-time favorite organizations, LeaderShape, Inc. professes that “the most effective leaders know themselves.”  Knowing yourself takes work. It means discovering what you care about; what you’re good at (what you’re not good at); what brings you joy, (and what makes you upset); how you work; and who you need to surround yourself with to do your best work.  And the continuous journey around all this “work” never stops.  (Or at least it won’t stop for Anne 2.0)

At the heart of it, knowing yourself is basically “Consciousness of Self” – the first “C” in the Social Change Model. Consciousness of self means being aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes, and emotions that motivates one to take action.

Our ability to be effective (in our work and relationships) is directly tied to the trust and respect that we have with others.  If I squander the trust and respect of the people I’m working with or the people I’m in relationship with, then I’m simply less effective or even worse, non-effective.

And the simplest way that I can squander trust and respect?  It’s by not being aware of how my actions are impacting others. That lack of self-awareness (or consciousness of self) has created a LOT of hard life lessons (and so my pursuit of Anne 2.0 continues)!

I’m a gal who likes a practical approach. It’s the self-improvement junkie in me – the belief that there is a tool, project, book that can help me be better.  I’ll leave you with three of my favorite resources that support Consciousness of Self.

  • Life Values Inventory: an on-line (free) values clarification program
  • Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for Students (2nd Edition) by Shankman, Allen, and Haber-Curran – this book is one of my favorites about the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership.
  • StrengthsQuest: for just $9.99, you could take an on-line instrument that helps you identify your 5 signature strengths – talk about consciousness of self!

This series also serves as a lead up to “Elevating Change: William & Mary Celebrates 20 Years of the Social Change Model.”  This event is a conference for student leaders who are interested in learning how to be more effective leaders and how to cultivate impactful change for the organizations and causes they care most about.  We hope you will join us for the conference on November 12th!  Please visit our website to learn more about the conference: http://www.wm.edu/offices/studentleadershipdevelopment/leadershipconference/index.php