7. What do you tolerate?8. What about you makes you most proud?9. What about you gives you pause? The first responses to these questions are an outline of the, almost casual,vision that each of us evolves during our life. Most answers are cast inpositive value-loaded language. Nobody wants to see themselves as anegative person. But, using these initial responses as a baseline, we beginthe journey of self-discovery. The results are almost always far more positiveand empowering than the generic description. My clients begin to discoverthat they are much more complex and important than they assumed.
Step Two: Meeting Yourself
The assessment is a kind of snapshot; a picture frozen in time. Once webegin to fill out the details, the vision shifts to that work in progress. The ideaof a person who is complete falls away and is replaced. Meeting yourself involves recognizing the things that are going on in your life andunderstanding why and how you are managing them. It means meetingyourself as a work in progress.One you start to see yourself in this greater detail, your self-image becomesricher and more detailed. A sense of progress in some areas and lack of progress in others highlights important details of the life you have beenliving. Some of these efforts seem positive and empowering while others looklimiting. The process of working forward from the baseline involves asking ateach point,
‘I know that I said that that this is the way I am, but am I really this way’?
It also means asking,
‘I always thought that this is what I stand for. Is it really’?
Step Three: Finding Good Mirrors
Early in the process, it is important to draw in other perspectives. Part of mymentoring involves building a support network of close friends. These serveas ‘mirrors’; the better the friends, the better the mirrors. It is alwaysimportant to have these sources to validate what you are telling yourself youare. We all need to understand the critical importance of these ‘veracitychecks’. An old friend and mentor was fond of saying,
“I’ve never met anyone who could tell it completely straight, including me”
. The truth is thateach of us has become very good at misrepresenting ourselves in ways thateven we cannot detect. The irony is that most of these misrepresentationsdistort rather than reflect our true nature.