As I pursue personal development and helping other men with their personal development, I like to read books, and often excerpts of books. I recently read a really interesting excerpt and “cliff notes” of a book called “Leadership and Self-deception.”
It’s a really challenging premise…. That YOU (or “I”) have a problem that is keeping us from leading well, or succeeding.
The biggest part of that problem is that we can’t see it. We have convinced ourselves that we don’t HAVE a problem. That other people are the problem. We have convinced ourselves that we are doing well, when sometimes, often, we are not performing anywhere NEAR our potential.
The book contends that while many problems we might be able to self identify… Self deception keeps us from really seeing many of our issues clearly.
I think the solution is to make sure there are people in your life that you trust that can challenge you, ask you the hard questions, and tell you the truth. A good friend, mentor or leader can do it in a way that doesn’t heap shame, but rather brings the encouragement to change and grow.
Unfortunately, these are often the people that we avoid. No one wants to hear they are failing. No one wants to be called out. No one likes hearing about their failures, or being told the things they believe about themselves is a lie.
I’m here to tell you, there are times in my life that I have listened to those friends and mentors, saw my flaws and dealt with them. There are also times I pushed people away or isolated myself and didn’t listen to feedback from others.
I know that the end result of listening to others was growth in my life. It transformed the way I think and the way I performed.
I know that isolation only amplified my problems. In fact, in those times that I have been separate from those relationships, these are the times that I’ve had the worst failures in my life.
Wherever you find yourself, in failure or success, we are equally in need of honest feedback. You may find you aren’t doing as well as you think you are, or find more ways to make things better.
But as long as we build up our tolerance to our own baloney, we well be oblivious to the places we need to improve.