Principle #4a- contender, know thyself!

It’s been playoff time in the NFL.  The Saints, my Saints, with Purdue Quarterback Drew Brees just tonight won their first Super Bowl.

Ever wonder how teams prepare for these one-and-done contests?  Obviously, they study their opponent’s moves and strategies, personnel, and predispositions under various game conditions.

The best teams also study themselves. Where are we vulnerable?  What’s our Achilles heel?  How might this opponent take advantage of our weaknesses, quirks, and blind spots?

Like any pro ball club, you have vulnerabilities, susceptibilities, and blind spots, too. Think about the last major conflict you were in… or the last several contentious situations that had at least something to do with you.  What was it that made you a target?

Do people experience you as impulsive?  Unapproachable?  Self-absorbed?  Distant?  Uncaring?  Ambivalent?  Irresponsible?  Controlling?  Unprincipled?  Judgmental? Lacking boundaries?  Mercurial?  Rigid?

What are the complaints people have about you, when you’ve been sideways with them?

If you don’t know, you’d be well-served to seek out some honest feedback – quick!  Ask your siblings, your spouse, co-workers (but not your subordinates), and anyone you’ve offended, ever.  Ask them how they experience you?

What’s it like to be in relationship with you?

What is the impact you have on others that you’re largely unaware of?

Then… listen!

Years ago, a dear friend gave me a great gift.  We’d been planting a church and starting a business together at the same time.  The gift?  Tim “felt more like a project than a person” when around me.  I was completely unaware that I impacted people that way. Tim’s honest feedback launched me into an intentional process of seeking help, requesting feedback, learning, and self-discovery that’s continued to this day.  Along the way I learned that I’m often experienced as detached, unaware of my own emotions, and blind to the distress and sadness of others… even those closest to me.

Seventeen years of counseling, coaching, character-development work, and fairly fearless accountability commitments have brought growth and satisfying fruitfulness.  Still, I continue to miss my impact on others.  My failure to attend to my impact has landed me in hot water with a number of folks on several occasions. This, for me, has been an Achilles heel.

What’s yours?