For that reason, it’s important that you choose your mirrors wisely.”
~ Dr. Linda Carpenter
To be a successful, powerful leader, it’s critical that you regularly reflect on who you are, what matters to you, and how you want to engage others in your life and your work.
It’s equally important that you’re willing to understand your impact on others, the way they experience you in real time, and how closely your impact on the world aligns with what truly matters to you.
One very important way that we know who we are and how we are in the world is by looking into others’ eyes to see what they see.
Despite all of the messages in Western culture that suggest we shouldn’t need others, we are intricately and neurologically connected with the people in our lives, and their reflection back to us can help us know our truth or distort our knowledge of ourselves.
Our first mirrors were the adults who raised us. We learned a lot about who we are from early interactions. Some of us have had great adult mirrors and others of us were raised by people who, themselves, had bad mirrors so are incapable of providing us a clear view of ourselves.
Who you have as mirrors in your life matters because, just like actual mirrors, some are crisp and clear – reflecting back an accurate image of who you are and how you’re showing up in the world. And some are distorted and warped – like a funhouse mirror or the glass from a hundred years ago; you can see a reflection but it’s not an accurate one.
Accurate mirrors reflect the many sides of you. They’re not distorted to show you only the good nor are they warped, showing you only the bad.
The goal is to be aware of your gifts and of your messy so that you can more consciously and thoughtfully choose how you manage yourself to create the success that matters to you.
So how do you assess who in your life is an accurate mirror and who presents a distorted view of you? Consider the following three questions:
- Is this a person who you respect because of their integrity and clarity in the world?
- Can they put aside their personal agendas when they engage with the world or is it always, somehow, about them?
- When you see their view of the world, is it a view that is thoughtful and wise?
Staying close to people who are clear mirrors in your life supports you in seeing the ways that you’re showing up just as you planned and differently than you imagined.
Looking into different peoples’ eyes can help us see ourselves more clearly so we can take the steps to live in the ways that truly matter to us.
This week, consider the mirrors in your life. Are they clear and crisp or warped and distorted?
A good friend, family member, or coach can help you know more about who you are, and with that information you can move forward to create the successes that truly matter to you.
~Linda, Stephanie, and Heather