Some of us have grown to dislike what we see when looking in a mirror. Society’s pressure to conform often creates unrealistic expectations. The aging process takes its toll. But mirrors don’t lie, or do they?
Most of us only use mirrors to assess outward appearance. Is my makeup applied correctly? Is my tie straight? Do I have a spot on my blouse? Did the wind blow my hair out of place?
These questions only address the version of ourselves that others can see. The image we present on a daily basis is often quite different from the person we really are. If every mirror also reflected our fears, anxieties, and self-doubts would we behave differently?
Many leaders I know struggle to identify with the person hidden beyond the mirror. They lack self-awareness. They accept the image recreated by their reflection; the one that fits their dreams or represents the aspirations and expectations of others.
Suppose the mirrors we rely on to offer a reflection of ourselves are incomplete or, at best, imperfect? What if our true selves were exposed for everyone to see? Imagine being completely vulnerable without the need to project a false image?
One reason leaders, and others, struggle with the need for power and control is to protect their false self; the reflection they want others to see. When we build trust by admitting mistakes, asking forgiveness, or seeking help, our mirror image is no longer incomplete. Instead of defending ourselves, or deflecting blame when things go wrong, we can be honest about our fears and hopes.
We become real human beings who need to love and be loved. We move beyond mirrors to acknowledge and accept who we truly are.