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Harvard-trained neuroscientist: The ‘most underrated’ skill successful people use at work—and how to develop it

By | Morgan Smith |

The people who are happiest in their jobs — or become millionaires before they retire — aren’t all confident, organized or excellent problem-solvers. 

Instead, there’s a different skill that gives successful people a competitive edge in the workplace, says Juliette Han, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist: Self-awareness. 

But Han, who is also a faculty member at Columbia Business School and an academic advisor at Harvard Medical School, says many people mistakenly believe that self-awareness is “all about understanding your feelings and flaws.”

Being self-aware means reflecting on your strengths and mapping them to your goals too, she adds. Research suggests that developing self-awareness helps us be more creative, make sounder decisions, communicate better and build stronger relationships. According to Han, it’s “the most underrated skill” successful people use to get ahead in their careers.

Here are three tips to identify your strengths and cultivate greater self-awareness: 

Reflect on your interests and skills 

What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? These are two of the most important questions you should be asking yourself at work, whether you’re starting a new job or crashing from burnout, says Han. 

“For example: Do you enjoy leading a team, or analyzing data?” she says. “The answers to these questions can help you identify the tasks you don’t mind doing over and over again.” 

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