The tagline I often think of adding to this blog is, “What you don’t see but everyone else does”.  I was speaking about this concept with a client this week and she reminded me of something I studied in College called the Johari Window.  The Johari Window was created in 1955 by two guys-Joe and Harry.  Get it?Joe+Harry=Johari!  (They were way ahead of Bennifer and Brangelina in the name-merge game.)  The Johari Window is a technique used to help people understand themselves in relation to self and others.  Basically, the quadrant outlines a simple way to view personal and interpersonal development.

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In the top left corner lives the self that we show the outside world.  I would call this our public persona.  It can now be found quite prolifically represented in Social Media because we are able to widely broadcast to others the version of our self WE would like seen.   Lately, the Selfie phenomenon has been linked with Narcissism and other mental illness but in lesser extreme cases, we are simply creating our image and inventing the perception of our public self.  Branding, really.  Here is my version of what I want you to think about me:

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In the next corner is what this blog is about-blind spots.  What others see about us but we do not see.  The back of your head.  The back of my head.  Here is a picture of the actual back of my head:

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The Johari Window technique has been widely used in the workplace to specifically target blind spots.  The idea is that we should minimize our blind spots, see our weaknesses or behavior and perhaps better forecast the impact of our choices faster with awareness.  If I could see myself more clearly, would I make the same decisions?  High levels of personal development require us to rid ourselves of this gap.

Athletes utilize this technique when they look at footage of their own games. They are trying to see, from the cameras standpoint, what they can not see in themselves while performing so they can make adjustments and achieve better results. I remember watching the show, “What Not To Wear” and always enjoying the moment when the subject views themselves from all angles for the first time.  Usually, this moment of clarity is enough for the subject to want to change when they finally see what other people are seeing in them.

Similarly, as Hairdressers we learn to use the mirror to show us what our own eye may not perceive.  We turn you into the mirror to check for balance, light, proportion and also to try and see what you see as our client.  I use my camera the same way.  I want to see accurately.  I want to close the gap between my eye and the perception of the lens.  It is these moments of truth (as seen by others, by the mirror, by the camera), the moment when we have a chance to truly see ourselves.

The next corner is the self that we see but we do not show others.  I think of it as the bad picture, the one you delete.  The double chin, the wrinkles.  The way we really eat when no one is around.  The underbelly, the sloth. Who are we when no one is looking? I took this Selfie when I was crying and sad and feeling like crap.  I am still managing how I look here as my “sad self” so I don’t look as bad as I probably do really crying but it’s pretty raw nonetheless:

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The last corner of the Johari Window is the self that we do not even know ourselves.  What we don’t know that we don’t know.  Our lack of awareness could be because the depth of self is still unconscious, repressed or even possibly undeveloped strengths and talents.  I don’t know what unhidden talents I have. I feel like I am maxing out the ones I am aware of!  I do know that I suffer from some anxiety as best represented by this:

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For example, if I get a rash, I am pretty sure I am dying.  Fortunately (and from 20+ years on a spiritual path), this aspect of myself doesn’t rule me but I see that if I could get to the root of it and make it merely a correctable Blind Spot, I could be happier.  I would gamble to say that the reason people seek Psychics or even Therapists is because we don’t feel we have access to this part of ourselves.  We feel there is something bigger, hidden and mysterious inside of us and in store for us.

What is it?

 

 

 

 

 

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On Truth Circles

I have a memory pending substantiation from my childhood friends but it goes something like this….

 

We are in 7th grade and it’s the end of the school year and my friends and I have been called into a Truth Circle. None of us know exactly what to expect but it’s a sunny day and we gather on the soccer field, about eight of us sitting cross legged.  What happens next is hazy but I believe the Leader of the Truth Circle (one of our 7th grade friends) told each of us what no one liked about us.  I remember some girls crying and I remember acting stoic as I heard my “truth” and feeling relieved that the only “truth” that no one liked about me was my apparent stealing of everyone’s boyfriends (kind of seemed like a compliment?).

 

Many months ago on Facebook, I posed the question to my friends, “What if someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself?  Would you want to hear it?”  The response was mixed.  Some said definitively “yes” and some said “no” and some said that they would like to hear it but it would have to be from someone they completely trusted and in a way they could receive.

 

In theory, this is what we have Managers for at work and Mentors for in our lives.  As a Manager in a corporation, I had my share of giving performance reviews to employees as well as receiving them and I always found it challenging.  Within a corporate structure, how honest can we be?  How do we know that the person giving us feedback really has our best interest in mind?  Are they rationalizing my shitty raise because of the company’s profits or was my performance really lacking?  How will I ever really know given the legal bindings of corporate America?

 

There is a mode of career coaching called the 360 I find intruiging.  It is usually for Senior Management in corporations.  The employee is evaluated and reviewed by everyone around them.  Peers, direct reports, colleagues and those above. This feedback is presented for your higher good by a trusted Coach and often reveals blind spots to help make you a better employee, Leader, contributor and peer to your colleagues.  My client and friend Erika who shared her 360 experience with me said it truly was a game-changer for her professionally and something that she craves again now many years later.  What it taught her by revealing her blind spots helped her become a stronger Leader and also helped her excel as a high performance communicator.  Could the 360 be the modern day and helpful version of the Truth Circle?

 

In the age we live in, we are presenting an image of ourselves in social media at all times.  We are creating a perception of ourselves and marketing ourselves every time we tweet, post a picture on Instagram or post a Facebook status update.  Those who observe us are making decisions and having feelings about us 100% based on the tone that we use in our pictures, updates and comments.

 

Recently Gwyneth Paltrow, bless her heart (as the Southern ladies say when they don’t mean it), found herself in a PR shit-storm for stating in an interview that working mothers have it easier than she does because while working mothers have a routine (9-5 job, mornings at home with our kids), she does not.  14-hour movie set days are so difficult!  We all, every mother (working or not) collectively vomited a bit and solidified what we suspected about Gwyneth.  She’s so deep into Gwyneth-Ville that she does not know HOW she comes across.  I call this Gwyneth Syndrome.

 

As horrible as that 7th grade Truth Circle may have been in the most awkward and uncomfortable stage of life, I wonder if there was a way we could do this for each other in a good way.  If someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself, would you want to hear it?  Would you tell me if I had Gwyneth Syndrome my friends?
Please?

 

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On Blind Spots

For the twelve years I have been mastering the craft of Haircoloring, I have been obsessed with the backs of heads.  Most who know me, know this.  I have always felt that this was one major difference between decent/OK Haircolor and GREAT Haircolor.  Many clients comment, when I am consulting, that the back of their head doesn’t matter because they can’t see it.  They will often say that they don’t ever look at it.  And I will typically offer a differing point of view by showing it to them and in the process of working with me, I will make it better.  The fact is that it does matter because everyone else sees it!  Many hairdressers cut corners on the backs of heads.  Why? Because they can, because the client doesn’t necessarily notice.  And therein lies the distinction between a high end salon and everywhere else.  One would hope.

For many years I was a Road Warrior, traveling for my career as a corporate trainer teaching Haircolor for a major company.  Inevitably, insufferably, I would be staring at the backs of heads on airplane ride after airplane ride, fantasizing about how to fix them.  I would dream about setting up a “911 Salon” at airports where I could just pull a client into and show them how good it could be!  I used my thoughts on this subject to teach and hopefully, open Hairdressers eyes to higher achievement in our craft.  Into my 10th year (10,000 hour mark of mastery according to Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers) I began to see the psychological connection between the backs of heads and our own blind spots as people.

My years behind the chair are largely spent in deep conversations with clients and what makes this relationship so meaningful and satisfying, is the time spent in dialogue and discussion about our paths, choices and often our weaknesses.  We cover all subjects but I am often led to the same conclusion as my time spent staring at the backs of heads-that there are things so obvious to others but completely blind to ourselves.  I include myself in this of course and I have come to believe that we all have blind spots, as obvious as the bad back of head Haircolor.  This is the spirit of this blog and of my life’s work at the moment.  How to maneuver through the seemingly obvious in the areas of fashion, romance and parenting.