Know thyself!

Football season is here! Annie and I love to cheer for perennially great teams, like the Crimson Tide and pathetic teams like the Boilermakers. Many practices, disciplines, and perspectives distinguish the teams that succeed on the gridiron from those who seem to find a way to lose Saturday after Saturday.

All teams study their opponents’ moves and strategies, personnel, and predispositions under various game conditions. The best teams also study themselves.Achilles 4

Where are we vulnerable? What’s our Achilles heel? How can this opponent take advantage of our weaknesses, quirks, and vulnerabilities?

Like any 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 something to do with you.

What 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 complaints do people have about you, when your relationship with them has broken down?

Do you even know?

If you don’t know, you’d be smart to seek out some honest feedback – right away! 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?  relationship 4

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 planted a church and started a business together at the same time.

The gift?

Tim told me he “felt more like a project than a person” when he was with me. And, I was completely unaware that I impacted people that way. Tim’s honest feedback launched me into an intentional process of seeking help, engaging a therapist, requesting feedback, self-awareness, undergoing character coaching, and self-discovery that’s ongoing.

Along the way I learned that I’ve often been experienced as detached, unaware of my emotions, and blind to the distress and sadness of others… even those closest to me.

Twenty years of counseling, coaching, character-development work, and fearless accountability commitments have brought growth and satisfying fruitfulness. Yet, I still miss the impact I sometimes have 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?