Genius Not Madness: Talking to Yourself is Good

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Know Thyself

Influence and Trust

To be truly influential, for people to feel happy to spend time listening to you or being guided by you, they’ll need to trust you. And for that to happen you’ll need to be yourself. If you are trying to be someone else and behave in a way that does not sit comfortably with you, you will not be convincing.

But what does ‘being yourself’ really mean, and how can you discover your true identity?

Well that depends of course. As human beings we are pretty complex. Just like onions we have many layers, from complex inner layers to more simple outer layers. We are all born with natural talents and the potential to add a great deal of value to the world. Over time we become conditioned to modify our innate abilities, often to match what those in authority over us deem appropriate. Sometimes this process is beneficial, but sometimes it leads us to bury or disguise gifts that could work to our advantage. Exploring the layers of ourselves can bring us back into alignment and to a freer, more powerful sense of who we are.

There are many ways to achieve this deeper knowing, and their suitability will differ from person to person. There are psychometric tests, 360 degree feedback surveys, development centres, leadership retreats and even psychological assessments. I guess some people would even undertake psychic readings.

The power of reflection

Here is one of my favourites and the key ingredient is using a combination of resources to get maximum value. It’s Play Prelude‘s unique combination of psychometric assessment, journaling and image creation.

The online psychometric generates a profile of your default behaviour, where you might best apply your strengths and a useful list of ‘power words.’ All of that is cleverly reflected in an ‘iStar’ with your unique combination of your preferred ways of ‘being’ represented by coloured points in the star, starting with your top ‘keynote’ and moving clockwise to your lowest scoring attribute. The white apex is your ‘north star’ if you like, giving you clarity and leading you to a better understanding of yourself and how you interact with others.

Screenshot (289)No big surprises for me at first glance: compassionate, creative, energetic and seeking authenticity in all that I do. But see what happens when as part of the Prelude process I am invited to hold a question and answer session with myself. Contrary to the old adage that ‘talking to oneself is the first sign of madness’ I find the whole experience curiously enlightening, and the questions around how I add value with my strengths very thought-provoking. My understanding shifts a little.

New insights open up to me as I start to notice the interrelationship between my abilities in connecting up seemingly disparate people and concepts, and the enjoyment in finding patterns and creating visually pleasing images. I see that a deep desire to quietly reflect on what might be motivating others sits perfectly alongside what can seem sometimes to others as a slightly crazy and quirky view of the world. I use my atypical perspective to help move people and teams to places they may not have imagined possible.

After the journaling I feel more whole. It feels like a safe place from which to explore in more depth how I impact my colleagues and clients. I’m looking forward to the next step – combining words and images. More of that in the next post …

Questions to take you further

  • What do you already know about how you prefer to behave?
  • What’s missing from the picture? Is there scope for delving deeper? How could journaling support you in finding out?
  • What unique value to you add to your colleagues, team and loved ones?


Find out more about the work Clare McNamara does with leaders and their teams on influence and authenticity.

© Move Ahead Global 2016

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Series Navigation<< Perfect Team Players Don’t Exist & Why it Doesn’t MatterDiscovering Your Value: the Surprising Power of Images >>
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