Few skills are more important to self-improvement than being able to take a step back and honestly evaluate yourself. Self-reflection allows you to expose problems early, before they become too painful to ignore.
Unfortunately, honest self-evaluation is one of the hardest skills to master. People tend to be self-serving in their thoughts. For most people, self-reflection involves looking into a carnival mirror, with all the information warped and distorted until it barely resembles reality.
Honest self-evaluation is a skill you must consistently use in every area of your life. If you distort your self-evaluation towards confidence, you will become ineffective. When you ignore flaws in the value of who you really are, you can’t fix those mistakes.
If you distort your reflection towards pessimism, you may not take the bold actions to market yourself and your ideas that could deliver more value. Only truthful reflection can give you the best results.
Truthful reflection also impacts your health, finances and relationships. Any distortions, however minor, corrupt your thinking and your ability to make changes. If you believe you’re in better physical shape than I am, you may be cutting yourself from being more fit and energetic. If you feel my finances are too low, you may waste time scrambling for money when you should be focusing on other goals.
The impact honesty has on your self-improvement outweighs the impact of false confidence by a factor of ten. Whenever you try to learn a new skill, ruthless honesty is your entire goal in self-evaluation, no matter the result. You simply can’t afford to distort the reflection.
Achieving an Honest Perspective
The best way to achieve a greater level of honesty in your self-evaluations is to demand it. If you’re still under the illusion that false confidence and blind optimism are the correct path, you scrap any hope of an honest evaluation.
This sounds easy, but it’s hard to practice. Honesty, especially when it is negative, is uncomfortable. Few people are willing to spend the effort needed to strip away all the distortions and arrive at the truth.
Honesty doesn’t mean pessimism. If you respond to over-confidence by giving up hope, you’ve just added one distortion to another.
So remember, honesty is a mental step that involves evaluating things before you have time to alter that evaluation.
BE AUDACIOUS, BE AUTHENTIC, BE AWESOME!
Kelvin is the Chief Learning Officer of Laser Focus Leadership Solutions, LLC. His signature programs are focused on cultivating an agile workforce and increasing employee engagement. He develops leadership competencies in some of the nation’s leading banking institutions and statewide tax authority systems through customized training and keynotes speaking.