Circumference of Me – Chapter 3

3 Know thyself

Who are you? Why are you doing what you’re doing? Are you happy doing it, and, if not, why are you doing it?

Okay, so you work for a business or association and you have a five-word title, or aspire to have one – manager/senior manager/director/vice president of something and something. The company has you lined up to be on an MBO (management by objectives) plan and, sometime in the future you may be eligible for a car allowance, stock options, and more.

You have arrived. Or plan to do so quickly.

Before you get too cocky, check your image in the mirror. Do you see an aura of success (regal purple with gold piping) around your body? A competent manager whose reassuring smile bespeaks volumes of positive accolades from co-workers and high-level management? Confidence you can sell by the pound?

Let’s take it for granted: You are a confident manager. Your walk, talk, and mannerisms portray success for all to see.

Look at me! Please! Now! I am the picture of success! If not quite yet, soon!

But, confidence aside, you have weaknesses. If that comes as a revelation, you are already in trouble. Everyone has weaknesses.

If you were asked to name your top five weaknesses – personal or professional traits that could keep you from climbing the tenuous business ladder more than a few more rungs – what might they be? Have you given any thought to your weaknesses and, if so, are you confident enough to name them aloud? (And in a room with a closed door doesn’t count.)

More importantly, do others – co-workers, supervisors, top management – know your weaknesses? Do they hope you have what it takes to minimize them, or turn them into strengths? Are they waiting for you to overcome them? Or do they simply not care one way or the other?

Far too many managers don’t take the time or have the inclination to focus on the traits that carved the career path to their present positions. And those same managers usually are not interested in the kind of self-analysis that will help them to determine whether those traits can get them to their personal and professional goals.

To attain success, self-analysis is not only a fundamental rite of passage; it is a necessity. There is nothing tougher for a person than self-analysis. To many, the mere suggestion may be as scary as thinking about sliding naked down a giant razor blade.

Some psychologists claim an objective self-analysis is impossible. It is in their best interests to think so, and to promote that premise.They are right in one respect: There are people who can’t see their own weaknesses; therefore, they don’t believe they exist. Such people are wrong — but then, they are the people who won’t admit they make mistakes, either.

While it is an extremely uncomfortable undertaking, looking at yourself in the psyche mirror with an objective eye is possible. It takes a strong heart, a stronger will, a solid mind, a strong sense of self-worth, and an understanding of how stripping away personal veneer can be a cathartic experience — not an embarrassing one.

Take a chance. Strip away your emotional veneer and see what lies underneath.

Spend the time and make an emotional commitment to analyze yourself before someone with a bigger title does it for you.