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Know Thyself and All That Jazz


How do others see me? I mean really see me?  How closely do you think your self knowledge matches what other think about you?

If you are familiar with the Johari Window – the diagram shows us that each of us has parts of ourselves that others can see that we can’t. The goal however, is to make our public self window the largest of the 4. What we ‘know’ about ourselves is the same is what others ‘know’ about us. Perfect self knowledge is not possible but that’s not the goal.

It’s likely that our ‘hidden self’ – “what others know about me but I don’t”…that negatively affects our personal and professional effectiveness most dramatically.

So what can a person do to move their self-knowledge from ‘hidden’ to public? In her new book, Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, author Dorie Clark suggests that we follow these steps:

  • Read through old performance appraisals — look at the areas for improvement – is there a pattern?
  • Look at your online presence – if someone didn’t know you, what would they think about you?
  • Conduct your own 360 degree interviews – ask people who know you to give you one area that could improve your effectiveness. You will need to be prepared to hear things that might ruffle your feathers. No matter what they say… don’t react, thank them for their input. Choose these people wisely. These must be people you respect and who respect you. One or two good sessions can give you many things to work on.

Look, I know this isn’t easy. What if they tell you something REALLY hard to hear? Counterbalance the difficult with the good. People for positive feedback too. Tell them you are looking to be more effective and want their help. Make sure that you have support from family and friends. Then dive right in. Modeling this behavior for your children is better than telling them 100 things. Agree or disagree?

Image credit — Mr. Johari? Ms. Johari?

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