Internal Vs. External Self-Awareness

Jacob Morgan
2 min readJun 9, 2022


To succeed in the future of work, leaders have to have emotional intelligence.

A large part of that is self-awareness, or being aware of your emotions, feelings, state of mind, motives, and desires.

But there’s more to self-awareness than meets the eye. Best-selling author and self-awareness expert Dr. Tasha Eurich found that 95% of people think they are self-aware, but only 10–15% actually are.

Clearly, there’s room for improvement.

Developing self-awareness starts with understanding its two components: internal and external.

Internal self-awareness is how we see our values, thoughts, and emotions. To develop this, move away from asking who to instead asking what. Instead of Why did I say that to my team member?, ask, What made me say that to my team member? You can’t always rationalize the why, but you can always explain the what.

On the other hand, external self-awareness is how we are seen by others. To practice this, create an open and safe environment where team members and peers can be honest with you. Critical feedback is what ultimately helps you improve, so encourage it.

Internal and external self-awareness are both critical to improving as a leader and building strong relationships.

Developing self-awareness is a process that will put you on the path to success as a leader.

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Jacob Morgan

4x Best-Selling Author, Speaker, & Futurist. Founder of Exploring Leadership, Employee Experience, & The Future of Work