Who do you think you are?

[ 6 ] Comments

who-am-iHave you ever been asked that question? I bet many of us have at some point in our lives. It’s often used as an admonishment when someone thinks we might have got too big for our boots!

I’d like to ask the question in a different way. In a non-judgmental way and as a genuine prompt for us to think about who we are – how do we define ourselves?

Why is it important to be able to answer the question? Well, it’s all very well working on our goals and ambitions, playing to our strengths, overcoming our fears, improving our performance, working on our confidence and so on…

– However –

This can be made hard, subtly hard, deceptively hard, if we come too fast at life without having got to know ourselves first. In deciding to make a change and/or work on accepting ourselves as we are, we need to know where we’re starting from.

So maybe it would be good to stop and think about it now and then. Many people define themselves by things like their jobs/careers, hobbies or family status. I’d encourage a multi-dimensional approach. For example :

– What are my values?
– What are my strengths?
– What do I love to do most?
– Who do I like to spend time with and why?
– What makes me mad?
– What makes me really happy?

I think that a lot of the time, we believe we know ourselves better than anyone else. I wonder if that’s always true though? Perhaps asking some of those near and dear to us how they would describe us to others might be an interesting exercise? Do we see ourselves the way others see us?

Getting to understand ourselves isn’t just a soft and fluffy “feel good” thing to do. It’s also a commercial imperative for delivering the best in our businesses. It’s a known fact that many of the best leaders have high levels of self awareness which they are able to tune towards getting the most from themselves and those they lead. Getting this right impacts the bottom line and this is one of the reasons why more and more organisations are investing significantly in tailored leadership development and executive coaching programmes.

So taking stock of who we are surely has to be a worthy pursuit? If we can get to know what makes us tick, if we understand who we really are beyond any fronts or masks we find ourselves wearing in the different environments of our lives, we’ll be all the more equipped to take those truths forward and make the most of our future.


6 Responses to Who do you think you are?

  1. Julia says:

    Thank you for asking that question Frank. It is a thought-provoking one which needs a little more time for me I think. I will certainly try the exercise of asking others how they would describe me and yes, this could be a good way of discovering strengths that I may have overlooked, or being shown a side of myself that I had not acknowledged.

    • frank says:

      Thanks for your comment Julia. Yes you’re right, it’s not a quick set of Q&As that’s for sure – a reflective approach with some quality time to do it is best. I hope the asking others part gives you some new insights and a nice boost 🙂

  2. Frank: absolutely! What more important question can there be for any of us who make decisions that affect ourselves and others. If we work constantly on developing our knowledge of who we are and how others experience us (and I’m not sure that we ever get to the destination, but there’s great learning in the journey!) then we stand a much better chance of making those decisions with clarity and awareness.

    And to your great list of questions I might add: What’s my purpose – what imprint do I want to leave on the world?

  3. Steve Fox says:

    Thanks Frank,
    Indeed it appears that how we define ourselves affects our experience greatly.
    I “think” that an answer is in the question -“who do you *think* you are (my emphasis!)- of course thought isn’t “real” therefore whatever you “think” you are – you are not. Full stop. You aren’t your self image, your values, your loves strengths etc etc -in my current view they are all concepts or perhaps neurological software conditioning etc if you will. I guess if you’re going to believe self-concepts it pays to believe good ones, though a question I’m asking recently is *prior* to all that learned “stuff” who am I? The more you look the more you realize there really isn’t anybody to find! I find that quite liberating! (after the initial shock and unnerving-ness of such a discovery) 🙂

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