Self-Awareness – A Bridge to Authenticity

Eva Schmidt, PCC, CEC, NBC-HWC, FNP-BC

Let’s face it, change is hard. Even when we know it’s in our best interest. In a world cluttered with distractions and diverging priorities, maintaining a clear sense of self, and aligning our actions with our core values to live authentically can be a hefty challenge. Self-awareness is that conscious knowledge of our character, feelings, motives, and desires, and can serve as a guiding light. Understanding the essence of self-awareness and its pivotal role in helping align our deeply held values and our day-to-day actions is a good place to start in meeting this challenge head on. 

The often overlooked values-action gap represents the vast expanse that often exists between what we value and how we actually live our lives. This lack of alignment can show up in various aspects of life, such as a proclaimed value of health not reflected in our lifestyle choices. The problem is that we often try too hard to control the outcome by relying on willpower and white knuckling our way through the latest advice only to give up in defeat. Or in an attempt to prove our worth at work, we may allow others to define our agenda in direct conflict with our value of authenticity and integrity. It’s a frustrating dilemma for sure, with a lot of factors at play, including societal pressures, habitual routines, and a general disconnect between our inner values and our outward behavior.  

But there is hope. Because at the heart of this conundrum lies self-awareness. Self-awareness is the mirror that reflects our true selves, encompassing our values, biases, and the discrepancies in our lives. By fostering self-awareness, we gain insight into our genuine values. Which in turn, helps enable us to scrutinize the alignment between our beliefs and our actions. This heightened state of consciousness is the first step toward bridging the values-action gap. By letting go of efforts that only work to deplete us and becoming aware of what sustains us we can make our way to sustainable changes.  

It takes a journey of intentional self-exploration and actions to enhance self-awareness. It can involve techniques like reflective journaling, seeking honest feedback from those we trust, and engaging in mindful contemplation. Practical steps toward aligning our actions with our values require setting clear, value-driven goals, incorporating mindfulness into daily routines, and consciously choosing actions that resonate with our personal ethos. Stories like the person who realigned their career path to match their values of creativity and autonomy, or the person who was finally able to exchange self-sabotaging behavior for healthier habits, bring to life the transformative power of self-awareness. 

The path to self-alignment is certainly not devoid of hurdles. Distractions, societal expectations, and old habits can veer us off course. The key to overcoming these challenges lies in persistence, resilience, and the willingness to continually reevaluate and adjust our actions in light of our evolving self-awareness.  

The journey to aligning our actions with our values is both challenging and rewarding. It calls for a deep dive into the depths of self-awareness, a commitment to personal growth, and the courage to live authentically. As we embark on this journey, we not only learn to live our values, but we pave the way towards a life of greater purpose and fulfillment and to the authentic life we all want.  

Eva Schmidt is an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC), an NBHWC Certified Health and Wellness Coach, a Certified Executive Coach (CEC), a Certified MentorCoach®, and a Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner.  As founder of 3 Springs Coaching, she combines two decades of experience in healthcare and business coaching to serve her clients. She has helped thousands of clients bridge the values-action gap and reach their full potential by harnessing the power of self-awareness