As we wander along on our merry way through the ups and downs of work, personal, and other endeavours, we tell ourselves stories of what type of person we are, what we are good and bad at, and how we think we are perceived by those around us.

Some of these stories we tell ourselves become self-fulfilling: repeating “I am a talented negotiator” will encourage one to applaud his or her own early successes, paving the way for greater motivation, skill development, and finally mastery of negotiation.

Stories can work the other way too. Latching for far too long on a sour episode gone by might encourage one to look for future examples that he or she is, indeed, ‘a bad leader in times of crisis’.

The key here is probably greater self-awareness. What are the things we are telling ourselves, and are they working for or against us?

And related to this greater sense of self is the idea that we may have blindspots:

“At best, people [may be]… open to scrutinising themselves and considering their blind spots; at worst, they become defensive and angry.”

And the easiest – and at the same time, hardest – way to identify our blindspots is to find a brutally honest, but supportive critic.