(This is part 9 of the “Selfie” series. Read part 8 here.)
Last time I wrote about self-protection, and why that’s a good thing. Most of us have an innate bent toward protecting ourselves in some fashion or another. Protecting against abuse, injury, or death is a good thing.
A Helpful Tool
Today I write about self-preservation, and why that’s a bad thing. It occurs when we manage our image so that our true selves aren’t readily evident. Self-preservation manifests itself as defensiveness, deflection, lying, or manipulation.
In GiANT Worldwide we help people and organizations come to places of health with visual tools that communicate quickly. The “Self-Preservation” tool portrays the three common hindrances to breakthrough. “What are you afraid of losing? What are you trying to hide? What are you trying to prove–and to whom?”
Alternatively, think of it this way: WHAT WOULD YOUR LIFE AND LEADERSHIP LOOK LIKE IF YOU HAD NOTHING TO FEAR, NOTHING TO HIDE, AND NOTHING TO PROVE? Hmmm…I bet it would be liberating.
Self-Awareness Makes For Better Leadership
Self-aware people start to notice when they are self-preserving. They notice when an internal dialogue cautions them against complete honesty, or toward maintaining some sort of a facade. “Hold back…don’t be real…calibrate this carefully.” And when that happens to us, we’re wise to tell ourselves that it will be all right–in fact it will be better–when we push through to the other side. Say it out loud: “I don’t want to be self-preserving. Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that.” “I don’t want to self-preserve. I realized I was trying to impress you.” “I can see that I was trying to hide my weakness.”
And what is the result? Breakthrough. And, along with that, the esteem you have in the eyes of others will increase, as will your influence. People don’t enjoy following those who never show weakness. But they do want to follow those who are secure, confident, and humble.