“Perception is the co-pilot of reality.”
How do you see yourself? What strengths do you believe you bring to your job? Your relationships? Your life?
How you see yourself might not be how you’re seen by others. The strengths you believe you bring to your work and life could very well be defined differently by others. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. And if you don’t know, you’ll never grow.
I watched a recent interview with my friend Marcie Mueller, VP of Global Leadership Development with Impact Group. She’s made a successful career in coaching businesses to identify and support women and women leaders in leveling up.
This is a business interview, but the tips are applicable to any facet of your life:
- Understand how you are perceived.
Honesty in theory is great; in practicality, it can be painful. If you’ve ever had a 360 evaluation done, you know that when you ask people to anonymously evaluate you, they’ll tell you things that hit incredibly close to the bone. But if you’re trying to find a mate, advance your career, secure funding for a new venture, be invited to give a talk, develop a closer relationship with an acquaintance and on and on, how you are seen by others might be very different than how you think you are showing up in the world. And that disconnect is always going to lead to dissatisfaction until you get clear on the outside view.
- Make your direct leader and manager your partner.
If you’re working on your personal life, adapt this to make your spouse/significant other your partner. This is also not always easy. Partnership implies equal votes in decision making. At least some of the time, it means taking a supporting role to your partner’s priority. You might not always get exactly what you want. But the upside is that you have an invested sounding board, someone who has your back, someone who’s on the sidelines cheering you on when you win and picking you up when you fall.
- Find a mentor and a sponsor, an advancement team. Marcie calls them the “guides on the side.”
Don’t depend entirely on your partner for support; that’s a lot of pressure for one person to manage. Seek out people who’ve paved whatever path you’re on ahead of you and meet them regularly for coffee. Invite your most trusted friends to play a more direct role in your journey (but lay out some clear ground rules so they know how far into honesty they can go to avoid damaging the friendship). Call on your family—they’ve known you at your best and absolute worst and still have you over for the holidays. In other words, they are (typically) with you for the long haul, and they’re invested in your success.
Pretend you’re a famous Hollywood actor: they work with assistants, private trainers, chefs, stylists, hair and make up artists, publicists, lawyers, managers, agents and more. You didn’t think they just showed up on the red carpet like that did you? Hollywood A-listers are the epitome of the phrase “it takes a village.” Find your village.
- Do remember that you own your career. Find clarity and consider what the path to your next goal is.
Read the books, watch the TED talks, listen to the podcasts, talk to the people and see if you can figure out the first step for yourself because we’re all busy and time and money are at a premium.
And if you’re still feeling stuck, let me know. Personal Systems Disruption work helps you articulate your dreams and identify (and take!) the first steps towards success.