Snap Judgments

Do you have assessments of yourself that you have had for a long time and believe are the ‘truth’ of who you are? Yes, yes you do.  We all do.  Assessments are highly personal judgments and opinions that inform how we see and behave in the world.  Assessments about ourselves and others determine how we feel, interpret and act.

Most of us quickly assess people when we see or meet them.  We judge in ways that help us as well as ways that limit possibilities for ourselves and others.  This happened to me in a stark way this week.  I had the good fortune of being able to participate in an excellent leadership development workshop.  One of the exercises we did involved looking at a series of pictures of people who were potential candidates for a job in ‘our (fictional) organization’. We were invited to share the first word that came into our heads when we saw each image. Following that, we were given information about the real person connected to each image. Embarrasingly, my judgments arrived with lightning speed and were so off base it was stunning.  

So what was the take away for me?  Obviously, I still have plenty of work to do when it comes to making snap judgments.  Beyond that however, came an appreciation for the fact that we all judge — it’s what we do next that makes the difference.  Being aware that we are actually assessing vs. seeing the ‘truth’ is essential if we wish to be open to greater possibilities for ourselves and others.

So swinging back around to the question at the beginning, about assessments we have of ourselves.  What might be the assessments you are carrying around with you that aren’t grounded in reality?  According to Brene Brown, the most common are “I am not enough” and “Who do I think I am?”.  When this is the foundation from which we decide how we move forward in the world, it’s no surprise that we hesitate to be our authentic self and decline to do and say things that are important to our happiness.

This week, find someone you trust who can help you ground or shift the assessments you are hanging on to about yourself.  The rest of us need you to show us your authentic beauty. It helps us step into our courage to do the same.

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