Accurate Self-Assessment

Are you someone who's reflective and open to candid feedback or do you tend to have a lot of blind spots?

Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around going beyond COVID-19 and developing our Emotional Intelligence by talking about the critical competency of Accurate Self-Assessment.

I know myself in my own life, particularly in my military and in my corporate career, I found it challenging to listen to feedback. I very much resisted feedback and a lot of times that was because the feedback actually lined up with what I was thinking about myself anyway. And it's something that I didn't want to face up to.

You see, feedback, if it's taken and you do something with it, it means that you've got to move forward. It means that you have to put some stuff down and you have to, now that you've got rid of that baggage, lead those excuses behind and do something. I'm not sure whether you are someone that likes feedback and quite often people will say they do until you start giving them some. But getting feedback from situations around us and from other people is critically important if we're going to be emotionally intelligent.

We all have blind spots, things that we can't see or in some cases won't see that are holding us back from being who we need to be to get the results that we want to have. Whether that is in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic or at any part of our life. We can also become very competitive sometimes. This is also a roadblock to being able to navigate and be emotionally intelligent when we're over-competitive with others. Where we feel that if we get any feedback or if we stop and reflect, then we may not be where we think we are or want to be and everything is a competition with people.

We have that one-upmanship going all the time. I see that quite often when I'm looking at comments on social media or on people's blogs or whatever, where someone will be talking about something, but then someone will jump in on the comments and they will one up them by going, "Oh yeah, this happened to me." So instead of contributing to the conversation that was being had by the person who put the post up, they take it down another tangent.

And here's the problem with all this. We become unteachable and stagnant. I believe that you're either green and growing or you're ripe and rotting. So if we're going to be able to accurately assess our strengths and our limitations so that we can up-skill where we need to and leverage the strengths that we have, we need to get feedback. We need to seek help from others.

Now, the first thing we need to understand is that getting help from others is a strength, not a weakness. When we ask for help, when we ask for people's ideas, their perception, it tells them that we're interested in what they've got to say and it tells them that we are human, we are real, that we make mistakes just like they do and therefore they can help and be a part of our learning journey.

It's all about incremental growth. So, it's like a plant when it first enters the ground as a seed and it's in that good soil and it's watered and it seems to take a little bit of time, but then it pops up. But then we keep watering it, we keep having the sun on it, we keep nurturing it and it grows a little bit more and then it grows a little bit more and then it grows a little bit more. I'm not sure if you've heard of the story of the bamboo tree, but it takes forever, years to come up out of the ground and then it shoots up many, many, many feet in the air once it's done that.

So as we become okay with getting feedback, we can be secure in that and know that not everyone's out to get us. It's not a competition. We don't need to be better than anyone else. It's just about where we're at in our journey. We can then be a lot more collaborative and we can work with others and our relationships grow and it's a lot more fun. And the key to this is continuous improvement. As I said, we're not in a race, it's not a competition with others. And it's been said many times, and I agree with this, that all I want to do is be a little different to the version of me yesterday.

So whatever I learned from the feedback that was coming in from my results, from what was happening around me or from others means that I can just take another step towards the person that I want to be. The key to getting to that point is the competency of Emotional Intelligence called Accurate Self-Assessment. And what I want to do is just unpack this week, what this is and why it's so important.

Accurate Self-Assessment is knowing your strengths and your limitations. It's knowing what you're good at, what is your genius and what needs some work. When we are accurately assessing, we have a great start point. There's been many times in my life where I've pretended, that old saying of “fake it till you make it” is not something that I would recommend. It's about being accurate to go, "You know what? This is where I'm at and therefore I need to grow in this area", rather than go, "No, no, no. I'm further down the track than I really am", and then put yourself under a lot of pressure and expectation to be better sooner. So, let me just unpack some key principles around this that will help you to be more accurate in your assessment.

The first one I've talked a bit about already and that is asking is a strength. A lot of people feel that if they ask others for help or they ask others' opinion that they're going to get it. And if they ask people, then they're saying, "I'm less than, I need you", and it's not the case. It's a strength to go, "Hey, I'm teachable, I'm humble, I'm really, really good at this stuff, but I need some help here".

For me, I need a lot of help around things like getting these videos and podcasts up to you. I am okay at getting in front of the camera and I'm getting better with that all the time as I learn and I grow and get feedback and I ask for help from other people, but I've got a team of people behind me who put this all together and do the technical stuff and I ask for their help so that they can get this information out to you. So, that's the first thing.

The second area is to be open to insights. Be open to what you might discover if you are looking for feedback. If you are looking for signs, signals, clues, evidence to say, "Hey, this is what you're good at, this is what you could work on". So, being open to that needs a belief structure that says it's okay not to be perfect. It's okay not to seek approval from others. And next week, we're going to be talking about the competency of Personal Power. And that's where we really are going to work on those beliefs. However, right now I want you to understand that when you are open to seeing what might be holding you back, then those things will appear and they will illuminate for you the next part of your journey.

The third one is that it needs to be a defensive-free zone. So when we're looking for feedback from what's around us or from other people, we need to do it in a way that we're not concerned about what we're hearing. We're not needing to be defensive. A lot of times people go, "Yeah, I love asking for feedback. I love people giving me feedback.", until you give them some, and then as soon as you start giving them feedback, they go "Hang on" and they're defensive. So to do this, we need to operate from our logical brain. We need to realise that feedback is just collecting information rather than allowing it to be down in the emotional brain where we feel a certain way because they've said that about us.

The other thing is that we need to realise that what other people tell us is their perception of reality. So when I'm working with individuals or with organisations, teams, to teach them how to get feedback in a manner that's going to be good for you and for the people that you're asking, we go through a process where we ask for the feedback first and then we actually listen and we listen in a way that is non-defensive. It's, “Yeah, come on. Let me just get this information from you so that I can process it in my logical brain.“

The next point is that getting feedback is a forward-focused analysis. So, what we're doing is getting feedback that's going to help us on the journey ahead rather than getting feedback and then letting it take you back into past failures, past memories, past beliefs, and give you further evidence that you're exactly the person who you feel you are.

You can see my demeanor drop as I did that and I did it on purpose because we dropped down into the emotion of it, but feedback is for two reasons. One is so that we can celebrate the strengths and the wins and we can take learnings from those and use going forward. It's also to work out what we're not quite getting right. What could have some improvement, what not to do in the future, what to do more of so that we can then once again, as we're going forward, we can use those lessons.

And the last point that I want to get across to us is that it's all about being a lifetime learner. It's all about, as I said before, you're either green and growing or you're ripe and rotting. It's all about being a lifetime learner that says, “I am humble, I am teachable, I am not perfect, and that is never going to be the goal.” There are people that know stuff that I don't and there are things that I know that others don't and we and they may not need to know, but I'm going to learn consistently throughout my life.

And the key for that working for me is when I realised that I am best to be a just in time learner rather than a just in case learner. So it's not about just putting heaps of information in there, it's about what do I need to know right now for the next part of my journey.

So, there's some principles that'll help us to be more accurate in our assessment of our ability. See, people who are reflective and open to candid feedback, develop an inner awareness of their strengths and their limitations. So, they take on things that they are confident about and they get support and help within their limitations.

A great tool to help you to work out your strengths and your limitations is the Johari window. If you haven't heard of the Johari window, just Google it. And you'll see that it about the fact that there are things that we see about ourselves that others don't, but there's also things that others see that we don't, and they're our blind spots. And then there's also things down in the subconscious that come up at the most inopportune times usually that we might need a coach to bring up and to work on and hopefully I can be that for you and help you as we're going through this.

Accurate Self-Assessment is a critical competency of Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness is the first quadrant of Social and Emotional Intelligence. I'm really excited right now in this time of COVID-19 to have invested a lot of time in the studio and put together an online course that helps you to become more self-aware and work on these competencies that we're talking about and in a way that gives you exercises and activities so that you can then work on those, building those muscles of Emotional Intelligence rather than just get the information.

If you're interested in knowing about that, there's links here and just follow what we're doing. Emotional Intelligence is one of the critical keys of being able to navigate COVID-19 in a way where we can stay in the logical brain, where we can control our thoughts, where we can recognise when we are catastrophising or when we are thinking, saying or doing things that are not going to give us the results that we want.

So, that's it from me for another week. Join me again next week when we continue our journey through the Self-Awareness quadrant of Emotional Intelligence by starting a conversation around what I believe the most critical component of Emotional Intelligence, and that is Personal Power. I'll see you then.

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