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getting to know myself

How to reduce your blind-spots

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How to reduce your blind-spots

For cars and horses it's physical; for people the elusive part is a mental corner, sometimes the size of a football field.

"What you don't know won't hurt you!"

So why should you care? Because shining a light in these corners can help ease your mind, improve relationships, as well as broaden your career prospects.

We've talked about perceptions, feedback, and the importance of getting to know yourself. In case this is your first time on this blog, welcome! :-) You'll find that I work from the premise that self-awareness is a wonderful thing, because once you know who you are, you know who you're dealing with, which parts of your behavior, emotions and reactions are yours and which are projections.

Enter the Johari Window. It has been around since the 1950's as "a graphic model for interpersonal relations" developed by Luft and Ingham. How can it be useful to you?

It's a neat way to have an overview of what you see, know, or believe to be true about yourself, and what others see, know, or believe to be true about you - in other words, excellent gap analysis between what is and what you want to be. 

You already know the information for that first public quadrant, and you can obtain input for the feedback one by asking friends, colleagues, family, and especially strangers (they gain nothing by lying or trying not to hurt your feelings). Quadrant three adds information about those things you are aware of and prefer to keep private from others, and the fourth and last one represents the subconscious and what's unknown.

How do you interpret your subconscious?

This one boggles my mind a little, because if it's unknown, then how do we know how big that quadrant is? Does it stand for our potential? Then it should be endless! Does it represent aspects about ourselves we've yet to find out? Then it's finite, and that doesn't sound right, either!

Depending on when in your life you decide to fill in the quadrants and the degree of feedback you're seeking, their sizes might vary.

Exercise:

  1. Pick out five to ten adjectives to describe yourself (see Wikipedia example below)
  2. Share the list of adjectives with your network and ask them to pick 5 to 10 adjectives to describe you.
  3. Examine the responses for overlaps and discrepancies to your own picks. 

Discrepancies will indicate where to shine your light, seek more feedback, discuss, or simply feel if it rings true. It is then up to you to decide whether the feedback is something you'll consider as an opportunity for growth and learning, or dismiss.

When introducing this tool into your school or workplace for colleagues/employees, a list of desirable options paired with anonymous feedback can result in powerful motivation, and a significant esteem-boost at the very least.

Sometimes we come across differently than we wish to, and until we are alerted to the fact we don't have the opportunity to make necessary adjustments. Granted, some people don't care or can't change other people's opinion anyway. Still, if you care about your appearance, I invite you to give the Johari Window a try. 


  • able
  • accepting
  • adaptable
  • bold
  • brave
  • calm
  • caring
  • cheerful
  • clever
  • complex
  • confident
  • dependable
  • dignified
  • energetic
  • extroverted
  • friendly
  • giving
  • happy
  • helpful
  • idealistic
  • independent
  • ingenious
  • intelligent
  • introverted
  • kind
  • knowledgeable
  • logical
  • loving
  • mature
  • modest
  • nervous
  • observant
  • organized
  • patient
  • powerful
  • proud
  • quiet
  • reflective
  • relaxed
  • religious
  • responsive
  • searching
  • self-assertive
  • self-conscious
  • sensible
  • sentimental
  • shy
  • silly
  • spontaneous
  • sympathetic
  • tense
  • trustworthy
  • warm
  • wise
  • witty

 

Image by Steven Ford, Flickr, Creative Commons License.

  • incompetent
  • violent
  • insecure
  • hostile
  • needy
  • ignorant
  • blasé
  • embarrassed
  • insensitive
  • dispassionate
  • inattentive
  • intolerant
  • aloof
  • irresponsible
  • selfish
  • unimaginative
  • irrational
  • imperceptive
  • loud
  • self-satisfied
  • overdramatic
  • unreliable
  • inflexible
  • glum
  • vulgar
  • unhappy
  • inane
  • distant
  • chaotic
  • vacuous
  • passive
  • dull
  • cold
  • timid
  • stupid
  • lethargic
  • unhelpful
  • brash
  • childish
  • impatient
  • panicky
  • smug
  • predictable
  • foolish
  • cowardly
  • simple
  • withdrawn
  • cynical
  • cruel
  • boastful
  • weak
  • unethical
  • rash
  • callous
  • humourless

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Step 1 - Get to Know Myself

When I wrote this entry, I found that I became a little bit more aware of myself, and I hope you might try this yourself while getting to know me a little bit better, too. My name is Doris, and apparently that means "gift from the seas" in Greek. I prefer it when people call me Dee though. Sounds cooler, and I'd like to sound as cool as I can, because I'm not, really. I like the sounds and smells of nature (yes, including manure - I find it nicer than exhaust fumes), most people, most things, and most places. Too general? Ok, I like especially when babies laugh that uninhibited way they do (actually, when anybody laughs), I like unpredictable movies and Grey's Anatomy, I like Sherlock Holmes, strawberries, inspiring people, the beach, my loved ones, and feeling peaceful. I don't like rudeness, lies, feeling trapped, angry, useless or worthless. Things I think are rude: when people interrupt a conversation without notice and just leave, when people look at me and make up their minds i.e. judge by the cover. I don't mind "everyday rudeness" so much, like when cashiers or waiters roll their eyes at me for asking them for something out of the ordinary, because they are working and might just have a bad day.As for lies, everybody has to find their own way there. I think I could withhold pieces of information if I think it's for the greater good, but generally I try to be honest with others and at peace with everything I say and do, which makes feeling embarrassed or ashamed and thus lying about things superfluous.I feel trapped and angry and frustrated in conversations when words are being twisted in my mouth and I can't stay calm and find ways to express what I want to communicate. Sometimes the other person is just being rude and not understanding on purpose, which still makes me angry but I can usually breathe that away. I sometimes feel useless and worthless when I look at the numbers I've contributed to our joint bank account or the numbers on my scale, but I'm taking active steps to remedy both situations, so I feel active, in control and good about myself. Besides, they're only numbers and don't really reflect the mensch behind them; no numbers do.

Others have been kind enough to tell me they think I'm funny, entertaining, creative, kind, a good listener, a good friend, even a good person. I've also been told I can be too much in my head, not allowing myself to be emotional, at times condescending and self-righteous. I think I'm always trying to be fair and viewing all possible sides, I view myself as an open, flexible, real, uncool and honest person. I still consider myself a yogi, although I haven't really practised in quite a few months now. Sometimes I'm judgmental, but that, losing weight and allowing the emotions in and then dealing with them appropriately and in the moment are things I'm happily working on.

Depending on the circumstances I am all of the above, plus a lot more.

In no particular order, I'm a woman, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a godmother, a goddaughter, a friend, a wife, a sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law, a weightwatcher, a couch-potato, a neighbour, an acquaintance, a writer, a student and a coach. I am the sum of my past decisions and experiences, and the play dough for my future. I am neither the fears of my parents nor the limitations of my education. I am me, and the potential is endless.

Who are you?

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