How well do you know yourself?


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When was the last time you really looked at who you are? Knowing your strong  and shadow sides as well as sensitivities and drives, serves as a prerequisite for leadership. We tend to think we know ourselves. Indeed, we are in contact with ourselves every day. We hear, see, and feel.

However, a lot of these moments happen unconsciously. Perhaps you lose your patience in similar situations or unintentionally become quiet and shy when a boisterous person enters the room. This scenario leads to many possible situations and reactions. What they have in common is that they trigger a reaction of your past. When that happens, there is no room for out-of-the-box thinking anymore.

You are reacting exactly as you have done many times before, leading to fixed ways of thinking. I experienced this in my personal life. I am driven to deliver work of high quality and standards. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this drive. It is professional, and people rely on what I deliver. It becomes a problem when you attribute this feeling with everything you do such as starting up a new hobby while expecting to make wonderful sculptures, proving to be an expert from the start. I could rationally see that it was not realistic. My feelings told me something different – make sure you are good enough. This feeling determined from which thought and energy I was starting up new projects. Sometimes I did not start up at all, remaining discouraged. I lost the free, open mindset needed to initiate new things.

The way to open up this fixed way of thinking, is to know who you are. In my personal life, I discovered the root cause while I was coached by a professional coach. It went back to an age of 6 years old. I just left kindergarten and went to class 1. The teacher checked our starting levels of reading and calculating. Most children could answer the questions; I hardly knew anything. I felt dumb and insecure. I did not want to experience this feeling again. Unconsciously, I took the decision: “make sure you are good enough.”

A clearance was created after this discovery. It was no longer an unconscious pattern. I had the power to choose and react differently.

What about you? Let’s do a small exercise. Grab a mirror, pen, and paper. Any mirror will do. Let go of your present thoughts. Open up and relax.

  • Take a good look at your face. Come closer. What do you see?
  • Look at the color of your eyes, hair, and lines in your face. Anything grabbing your attention?
  • Look at your face in the mirror with all your attention and ask yourself:
    • Do I really know myself? Do I know everything about myself?
    • Are there things I sometimes do or say which I have no control over and do not understand?
    • Why am I getting upset, defensive, sad, or frightened?

If you really know yourself, congratulations. How wonderful that is. You are probably a very powerful leader, experienced at looking who you are and transforming this into a way that perfectly works for you and your environment.

Most likely you have discovered that there are some unknown or unclear reactions. I invite you to do further investigation. My experience is that making contact with the unconscious part of our brain makes a difference. Using a diary, coaching, and self-development training worked well for me. Find out what works best for you.

Interested in this adventure? All it takes is the mind of a curious child. Be open, honest, and loving to yourself.

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About Karen Zimmermann

I am inspired to support you in achieving what matters to you. I am inspired by the power of connection and leadership. Read more at www.connectives.nl
This entry was posted in Leadership, Leadership Coaching and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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