Has it ever occurred to you that Clark Kent was the mask?
Whether at home or at work, like Superman or the Phantom of the Opera we often feel the need to disguise our true identity for fear of reprisal, ridicule or a whole host of other reasons. Imagine how nice it would be if you could just relax and be yourself!
I understand that our society has certain expectations with regard to acceptable behaviour, but how much are we adapting to what we think other people want to see or hear? Ask yourself, how different are you at work than at home? How much does your behaviour change in different situations like important meetings, sitting at home with friends or when we have to meet new people or clients?
Managing the many masks we wear can be exhausting! Maybe it’s time to relax and just be yourself. You are who you are and that is absolutely brilliant! We are all individuals with unique strengths and skill sets. Maybe it's time to let our true colours shine through and live a more transparent life?
With increased transparency comes a sense of freedom which can result in a reduction of tension and anxiety. Also, the relationships you forge with other people or organisations are more stable and effective with a greater sense of mutual understanding. Transparency and authenticity are key ingredients for the generation of trust, and it is this trust and honesty which will make your relationships more productive and rewarding.
This is relevant to both personal and business relationships but the key for success in either is to know and understand yourself better. Two simple ways to improve your self-awareness are through disclosure and enquiry.
These concepts are central to a favourite model of mine called the Johari Window which was created in 1955 by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham as shown below.
The concept of the model is that our relationships and personal interactions occur in one of four areas; the Open/Free, Blind, Hidden and Unknown areas.
The Open & Free area is where our relationships are most effective and productive because we are fully aware of our actions and drivers, and others understand this too. Less effective are the Blind and Hidden areas. The Blind area is where other people have noticed things about us that we have yet to see or understand ourselves. The Hidden area is the reverse of this where we know and understand things about ourselves which others have yet to see.
The last area is the least effective of all four where Hidden drivers influence and impact our behaviours which neither we nor other people have yet to see or understand.
The good news is that the lines of Johari's window can move! In order to increase the size of your Open and Free area we need to move the vertical line to the right and the horizontal line down and we can do that through enquiry and disclosure. In other words, asking others for their observations and feedback on us, and sharing information with others about our drivers, working styles, motivators and values.
I do understand that it is easier to ignore this than to action it. Asking for other people’s opinions or feedback can be risky if you’re worried about what they might say, whilst increased disclosure increases the possibility of rejection or ridicule. However, if you are willing to have a go, it gets easier every time you do and I guarantee you that the returns on your investment far outweigh the risks. By understanding yourself you can begin to get more comfortable in your own skin and celebrate your strengths and superpowers!
So, if you want to get to know others better, lets start by getting to know ourselves first. Maybe then we can leave the masks at home and be super 24/7
As always, if you want some support with this I am happy to help in any way I can. Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll talk it through.
All the best and keep super!
Phil @ Lantern x