How Well Do You Know Yourself?

I am not one for declaring new year’s resolutions, however, I find January can be a good time for reflecting and reconnecting with oneself.

During adolescence and early in our adult lives many people struggle with understanding who they are. Then as we move through various life stages, we revisit ourselves to find new ways of being comfortable in our own skin.

Having a strong sense of self helps us navigate life’s challenges. And goodness knows experiencing the ravages of Covid for more than two years now has left many of us standing at an existential doorway saying “who am I now? and “what’s next for me?

This article invites you to consider things about yourself you may wish to adjust in 2023 to increase your self-contentment by asking for example:

  • How accurate is my current self-perception?
  • What do I know about how others perceive me?
  • How aware am I about how my behaviour influences the people important to me?
  • What are my cognitive biases? My blind spots?

Self-perception is the “idea you hold about the kind of person you are.” Psychological research tells us that our self-perceptions are often quite different from the way others perceive us. In fact, we often rate ourselves more favourably than others do.

Here is an effective way to explore how others perceive you:

This exercise was developed by Dr. Stephen Covey. I like to refer to it as an informal 360. As a manager, I used it to gather information for performance reviews with my direct reports. I polled their direct reports, work colleagues and senior leadership. The results gave me rich data which I then carefully selected for meaningful feedback. I have also suggested it as a tool for clients who are making a career transition. It can build personal confidence and ease the process of being interviewed.

The exercise starts with you identifying 8 to 10 people with whom you have been in a relationship for a lengthy time and who know you really well. They must also be people that you deeply respect and trust. Do not include anyone who does not meet this criterion.

You can do this in a written format including via e-mail or you can call and invite them to participate. Your participants can be colleagues, friends, or relatives (be careful about family) who you believe know you well. Explain that you are commencing 2023 by doing a personal research project, and you are inviting them to briefly answer this question:

In our relationship, what would you like me to:

  • Continue doing?
  • Start doing?
  • Stop doing?

In addition to strengthening your sense of self, you can use your results to clarify your personal and professional brand. The key is to be extremely judicious in selecting your participants, not to sway your results, but rather to receive accurate and honest feedback about how others perceive you.

Review the feedback you receive and identify what’s meaningful for you to heed in the year ahead.

In closing I want to share a suggestion by Dr. Rick Hanson, Psychologist and Neuroplasticity Specialist who encourages each of us to become aware of the “one thing you do in your relationships that’s a game changer.” 

Blessings to you and your loved ones in 2023!


P.S. I’d love to hear about your “game changer.”