Are you self-aware?

When I was in my late teens, we filmed a short movie. 

This was in the mid-90s, so we filmed and edited the whole thing on VHS. The storyline could have been more cohesive, but we had a soundtrack, rolling credits and a blooper reel. It was a blast, and 30+ years later, we still talk about it. 

One of the pivotal scenes involved setting an old outhouse on fire. 

We planned to start the fire, get footage, and extinguish it. However, the fire caught on more than we expected and started spreading. 

At that moment, we became AWARE of how dry that summer had been, and we panicked, thinking we were starting a devastating forest fire. 

Luckily, we had access to water and a shovel, so we put out the fire before we made the evening news. 

In hindsight, it’s a little scary how UNAWARE we were until it was almost too late. 

AWARENESS is an essential characteristic of healthy leaders. 

Leaders need to be AWARE of their team’s culture, market trends, unique offering or selling proposition, cash situation and . . . . (This could be long.)

But, most importantly, they need to be AWARE of themselves.

They need to be aware of the energy they bring to every interaction. They need to know how their mindset affects every aspect of their organization. They need to grow in awareness of how their past impacts the present and the future. 

They need to be aware of who they truly are. (And awareness can be painful and freeing at the same time.)

For example, I walked our dog a few months ago while listening to a podcast. The host mentioned having recently had a moment of awareness. They said, “I used to think my anxiety was situational. Now I realize that I am anxious and look for the next situation to be anxious about.”

That blew my mind. The podcast host’s awareness triggered awareness in me. It was painful, but it was also freeing to have a correct diagnosis of my anxiety. 

I still don’t know what to do about it, but at least I am aware.

One of the best gifts you can give your team and your family is to grow in self-awareness. 

One of the best ways to force self-awareness is journaling.

For me, it slows my pace and mind enough to force reflection. 

And I answer a standard set of questions.


    • What happened?
    • What were my biggest wins?
    • What lessons did I learn that I want to remember?


    • What am I thankful for right now?
    • How am I feeling right now?


    • What did I read in the last 24 hours?
    • What stood out to me in my reading?

I’m unsure if that is the best practice for you, but if you are a leader, you must have a practice that raises your self-awareness daily. 

After all, sometimes what we are UNAWARE of can catch things on fire.

So, Tuesday’s Takeaway is to find a practice that builds your self-awareness daily. 


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Chief Operating Officer for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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Are you self-aware?

That blew my mind. The podcast host’s awareness triggered awareness in me. It was painful, but it was also freeing to have a correct diagnosis of my anxiety.

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