I designated October the month in which I move through and complete my own annual Authentic Purpose Plan™ APP. It is a program that guides individuals through an 8 week process that supports them in obtaining clarity about who they are as a unique person and what they are seeking in this or the next chapter of their life. This program focuses on participants discovering what is important to them, what their goals are, how they would like to show up in the world and what their inner development plan looks like as they move towards what feels right for them. As a coach who guides individuals through this process, I have a strong commitment to do the work as well. As a person, I too need and want to evolve with as much knowledge and personal insight as possible. Being aware of how my behaviour affects myself (emotional intelligence) and others (social intelligence) provides me with the guidance I need when making decisions in my life.
One of the key pieces of this process involves a 360 review; personal feedback from a number of questions that we request and receive from people in our lives. The answers are meant to help us establish how we show up at our best, as well as, ways in our being that support us to be our best or may be blocking us from moving towards our best selves. Having received feedback from 8 different individuals, I discovered that the perception people have of us and our own perception of how we show up can differ and have a great impact on how we interpret our feedback. After much reflection, I have learned the following;
- It is critical that the people we choose to answer these questions are those in our lives who know us very well because receiving feedback from those who don’t can greatly distort our own perception of who we are, and this can become very confusing;
- Perception is a tricky thing to experience in any situation. In a review like this, it can be particularity daunting as we are specifically asking someone close to us for their opinion, so we need to be prepared to receive their opinion with grace whether we agree with it or not;
- Perception is only real if someone believes it, and we can choose to agree with the feedback or not; the key is being truthful with ourselves, and then deciding whether we own the perception or not;
- We all have our own perceptions about others and about specific situations; if we are honest, we may realize that some of our provided perceptions to others can be perceived as judgements. On the flip side, when we receive a perception about ourselves that we consider not so complimentary, we may also interpret it as negative criticism.
- The key is in managing our Inner Critic or what some call our Monkey Mind, that pesky voice that tries to convince us that if we are not perfect, we are not worthy or good enough. She sends us messages that block us from self-love. When this happens, we tend to believe all perceptions without taking the time to filter out those that we feel are not true. When we are able to manage our Inner Critic, we have the ability to clarify which perceptions are real to us and which are not.
Perception can be a tricky thing to experience, both when someone reacts or responds to our perception of them, as well as, when we are working diligently to clarify our own perception about someone else’s opinion about us. While reading the reviews I received, I was filled with love while absorbing all the wonderfully descriptive words and thoughts about who I am at my best. I also experienced some self-doubt and confusion surrounding the feedback regarding areas that block me from moving towards peace and the patterns that don’t serve me very well. I was a little unsettled at first because there were parts that I didn’t feel comfortable with and yet, I recognized and easily agreed to other parts that I knew I owned. After taking the time to slow down my racing mind (inner critic) and clarify perceptions with those who gave me feedback, I realized that I was not being reactive but, was instead listening to and resonating with my intuition (my truth).
After much self-reflection, I discovered that it all came down to perception; their perception, my perception and the perception of that cute, yet, annoying monkey. They are really just all perceptions, and perceptions are only real to those who believe them. It is when we are aware of the fact that we have the ability to choose a perception or not, and to make a decision to accept the truth or not, that we discover what is right for each of us. In the end it is about accepting what is real for us and placing boundaries around what it not. From there we can move forward with decisiveness and ease.