See yourself as others see you
2 April 2012
- I was lucky enough to interview Dr David Fraser recently, along with my associate Karen Mason. David has been described as "a rival to Dale Carnegie", as the author of the best-selling book "Relationship Mastery - a Business Professional's Guide" which is a refreshing book showing you how to do a better job of relating to other people.
In this article, I look at just one of the many tips that David shared with us - the value of becoming more self-aware, and to be able to see ourselves as others see us.
In any situation in which you are relating to another person, whether at work or at home, it is extremely useful to pay attention to the other person's needs, and to be able to meet their needs. In this way, you are more likely to be able to also achieve your own intentions, creating a truly win-win result. To do this, however, you need to be as self-aware as possible. David advised mentally stepping outside of yourself, and asking yourself "How am I coming across? What do I like or not like about what's going on here? What can I do more of, or stop doing, in order to get a better result for us both?"
Here's a simple exercise that David described to help you to see yourself in the context of another person's eyes:
- Choose a relationship that you'd like to explore - perhaps one in which you are currently experiencing some friction or difficulty.
- Arrange two chairs to represent yourself and the other person.
- Sit in the first chair, and visualise the other person sitting opposite you.
- Ask yourself "what do I see when I look at them? what can I hear? what am I saying to myself about this relationship? how does that make me feel?"
- Then ask, "what do I really want out of this relationship".
- Get up, and go and sit in the other chair, taking on the role of the other person. Try sitting in their posture and really become them, looking back at 'yourself' in the first chair.
- Again, in the role of the second person, ask yourself "what do I see when I look at them? what can I hear? what am I saying to myself about this relationship? how does that make me feel?"
- Also ask yourself, "if I (as the other person) could give a gift or a piece of advice back to 'myself' in the first chair, what would that be?"
- Next, stand up and move to a position somewhat distanced, but where you can see both chairs. Become a fly-on-the-wall observer to the relationship between the two people.
- In this observer position, looking at both chairs, ask yourself "what can I see is really going on between the two people in this relationship? what do they have in common? where do they differ? what advice can I give to 'myself' in this relationship?"
- Finally, take this advice with you as you go back and sit in the first chair, and notice what is new for you in this relationship. Take away any insights, learnings or actions that will help you in the future.
David Fraser, PhD, is a leading authority on relationship skills in professional and personal life. He is a business owner, chartered engineer, certified mediator, NLP master practitioner, and family man. Find out more at www.drdavidfraser.com