What Others Know About You

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“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.” ~ W.H. Auden

Eleven years ago I met my first Life Coach. It was Jane who saw that my blocks and my direction were closely connected. We worked for some time to rediscover my direction. One early exploratory exercise that Jane invited me to pursue was to ask five people to describe me in short words/phrases.

Some time later I realized the purpose and benefit of this exercise. You see, most of us believe we know ourselves better than anyone else. And to measurable extents, this may be true. Yet when those five people replied with candid feedback, I read and learned of strengths that I did not clearly see or embrace.

There is a lot about us that we don’t notice or acknowledge because it’s simply who we are and how we’ve developed over years and through learning and experience. Yet there are often attributes/personal gifts/qualities that define us as seen (and known) by others!

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There is comfort in knowing how connected you are to your strengths. When confident in/with your personal gifts, you expand the potential by which you can impact others and effect favorable change. If you find yourself resenting what you’re doing or the way you are living, ask yourself if you are utilizing what you believe are your qualities and what others see in and know about you.

Some times tapping into what others know about you (that you don’t fully see) can awaken you to reconnect with a dream, with your heart or perhaps, with a new calling. New self-awareness may even inspire you to let go of what you perceive(d) as a strength, once you’ve adopted an even more valuable virtue(s).

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If the prospect of learning how others see you intrigues, I invite you to consider the exercise I embarked upon eleven years ago. It was revealing and the insight that was shared helped me to consider a new direction (and a more passionate focus!), simply because I sought candid input from people who knew me as well as I believed I knew myself.

Naming your personal gifts is unusual but the more exact the better. It is important in asking for words and phrases (not sentences) from respondents that they be honest, positively and negatively. The preliminary steps:

  1. Choose four people from among immediate family members, a close friend(s), former schoolmate, partner, spouse, colleague, supervisor (past of present). Aim for a mix from among all of these. The fifth source of input is yourself.
  2. Ask each of them (and yourself) to “Describe me as you know me,” “Describe me as you see me,” and/or “Describe me as you remember me.”
  3. Your lists will contain lots of words and phrases. When you have all of them, print (don’t type) them on a table.
  4. If/when you get this far and want to know what follows, let me know; I’ll craft a follow-on post. This involves some time and work. Yet the results can be quite telling. 🙂

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Credit: Child playing piano / M-IMAGEPHOTOGRAPHY via Getty Images

You Know It. Trust It.

“Ego is simply an idea of who you are that you carry around with you.” ~Wayne Dyer

Sometimes people ask me how they can get rid of their ego. I think what they are really asking is how can they get rid of that part of themselves that sabotages them and makes them unhappy. My answer is that you don’t have to get rid of your ego, just stop believing what it is telling you.

The ego-mind is the part of us that interprets our experiences using our belief system as a filter. These learned beliefs are used to look at a situation and give it meaning. The meanings will be as distorted as our beliefs are about ourselves. How can our beliefs be distorted? Easily. Our beliefs are learned from what people have told us and how they rewarded, punished and made us feel. We believe about ourselves what the world has told us to believe.

Fortunately, we have another guidance system, our knowing. Call it the inner voice, heart or higher intelligence – whatever we want to call it. It is there and the more we trust it, the clearer we will be about ourselves and our experiences. This means the less we have to depend on the ego to provide the distorted version from our learned beliefs.

Make sense?

There is a simple way to access this inner guidance system. Rather than fight with our ego and especially the meanings it is providing, we need only ask a simple question: “What do I know to be true right now?” Ask the question and sit quietly and listen. Then begin stating what you know to be true in a situation, especially about yourself. For example, rather than a belief that others are judging you and that means you are going to be embarrassed or fail, the question above provides a different perspective. You know that:

  • The judgment is not necessarily from others but from yourself and your fear of being judged.
  • You are competent and knowledgeable and can make good choices and take productive action.
  • Others are just as concerned about being judged by you.

These are some possibilities of what is known. There are many more. We each know a lot and what we know, can be trusted. You only have to ask the question, listen and trust.

The more you do this, the less your ego mind will have to provide meanings in a situation. Without meanings we are free to respond to what is before us. By trusting what you know, your responses will be effective and leave you feeling confident.