Finding my niche as a communication coach and figuring the lifestyle that suits me was not a revelation, it was a process. One of the stepping stones in this process was knowing myself thoroughly and understanding what I have to offer.
An interesting side effect was how much I improved my people skills, as a result of improving my self-knowledge. There is an obvious link between knowing yourself and choosing the right career. I discovered there is also a strong but more subtle link between knowing yourself and your people skills.
It’s funny how the effective personal development in one area often starts in another, apparently far away area. Here are some specific ways I experienced myself how knowing yourself can improve your people skills:
1. More social confidence. When you know yourself well, you know what you are about and you understand your strengths. From this place, confidence to put yourself out there often comes naturally. Knowing yourself often pushes you to meet people and to express yourself socially.
On the other hand, people who have a blurry image about themselves are more reluctant to put themselves out there. They don’t even understand who the person they put out there is, so they often have superficial interactions with others.
2. Building comfort. I realized one of the best ways to make people feel comfortable with you is to give them the chance to know you as a person. And you do this by expressing your thoughts, values, passions, emotions, in a powerful way.
But of course, in order to do this, you have to know them. As you know and open yourself up authentically, it’s easier for other people to reciprocate by opening themselves up. This two-way process is essential in building strong relations.
3. Investing in the right relations. How often have you heard people complaining about how they have the wrong friends or relationships? It’s easy to get caught up in time and energy consuming relations with people who are not a good fit for you when you don’t know yourself.
However, when you understand yourself, your intuition and your logic will better tell you who is a good fit for you. This will help you invest time and energy in maintaining and growing the relations with the right people for you, and letting the other ones fade.
There is a very simple lesson here: if you want to improve your people skills but you don’t know yourself very well, forget your people skills for a while and focus on this aspect. Get to know yourself better and as you do, you will improve your people skills and you will also create a solid foundation for them.