With our reflected best selves we can transform moments of hesitation to moments of courage and untrusted terrain to trusted terrains. There we can use the capacity we have to enact our best selves. Positive feedback helps.

I was thinking the other day why it is that I was invited to executive, CEO and board cabinets quite early in my career. I never asked for it or planned for it. Last week I attended a wonderful conference on Coaching to Success, organised by the BCI business coaching institute. I was listening to a story by Monica Worline, Ph.D. and research scientist at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. She told us how she as a young student after some hesitation and with some panic gave honest and direct feedback to her highly recognised professor about his class. Though the professor was clearly expecting a totally different feedback, the result was that they started working together and still do.

The story made me realise that I also have always been very honest and direct in my feedback. I’ve never minded the unwritten hierarchy rules; I’ve talked to whomever without hesitation. Now with more age I can see that sometimes I could have been more diplomatic! But instead of being kicked out, I was invited in. I think this directness and honesty has been a strong enabler in my career. It has created trust and confidence for the leaders I’ve worked with. It has been easy for them to approach me and talk to me, whether direct feedback or just sharing their thoughts on the business.

The Self Image

I did not think I was being the best of who I was at that time. I was not sure if I was clever or skilled enough to be in the highly responsible roles I was put in or in the discussions where my opinion was expected to be heard. I thought that being so direct was not very smart. But on the contrary, I can see now, it made others see who I am and respect me for it.

We should try to see ourselves as others see us

As Dr. Worline said, we should try to see ourselves as others see us so that we would get rid of the negative bias we often have about ourselves. I try to remember this now that I am an entrepreneur and at times feeling a bit insecure in this new territory.