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  • Judy Sims

Which of these 4 Self-Awareness Archetypes Describes You?

Organizational psychologist Tasha Eurich says that self-awareness is the secret ingredient for success in the 21st century. I think she’s right. So many of the problems we encounter at work can be chalked up to a lack of awareness about ourselves, and how others see us and react to us.

As women, we’re frequently told that too much focus on ourselves is a bad thing. I think it’s because self-awareness is often conflated with self-absorption. Women are supposed to be focused on others, not ourselves.

And that’s a real shame. Because highly self-aware people are excellent leaders, visionaries, influencers (in the traditional sense, not the social media sense), and strategists. They also make pretty damn great friends, partners and mothers.

Talk about a secret ingredient!

Self-awareness is the cardamom of the 21st century.

So… how self-aware are you?

Eurich has come up with four self-awareness archetypes, each of which is based on your level of internal self-awareness (how well you know yourself) and external self-awareness (how well you understand how others see you).

In my coaching practice, it seems to be external self-awareness that trips most women up. We assume that most people don’t think much of us, or that they think they’re better than us, or that they think we’re too much this, or too little that.

If you’re thinking of the words Imposter and Syndrome right now, you’re bang on. And that’s a big problem. When we suffer from imposter syndrome, our external self-awareness suffers, which means our overall self-awareness suffers, which means our overall awesomeness, not to mention effectiveness suffers too.


Let’s take a closer look at the four archetypes:

Seekers: Low internal self-awareness and low external self-awareness

These women are in what I call a contractive state. They’re disconnected from their core values and purpose, and as a result have forgotten who they are. They often have the perception that life is happening to them, rather than for them. They feel stuck and victimized. And because of this, they become reactive, defensive and judgemental of others.

Pleasers: Low internal self-awareness and high external self-awareness

These women are also in a contractive state. Their external self-awareness isn’t based in truth, but rather their idea of what others expect of them. As such, they fail to set boundaries on their time and focus, causing them to be very susceptible to burnout. They are prone to betraying themselves as they prioritize the needs and comfort of others over their own personal truth.

Introspectors: High internal self-awareness and low external self-awareness

These women have a good idea of who they are and what they value, but they tend to avoid feedback and input from others. Often this avoidance is because they suffer from perfectionism and/or imposter syndrome and fear negative judgement. This tendency can be damaging as it creates blind spots, results in a lack of helpful information, and can make them prone to chasing red herrings.

Fully Aware: High internal self-awareness and high external self-awareness.

These women are in an expansive state. They are grounded in solid core values and purpose, yet open to new ideas, people and situations. From this place, they experience heightened creativity, energy and joy. Their teams are better informed, better connected. Problems are surfaced sooner and solutions are better. This is where it’s at!

The good news is that women in all four archetypal groups can increase their awareness by understanding and focussing on their values and purpose.

Yay you!


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