What’s it like to be on the other side of you?

Have you ever considered what it’s like on the other side of you? 

Whether it’s a one-on-one meeting, or team meeting, most of us see ourselves in a positive light and we assume that the person(s) on the other side of us will see us that way as well; but others may see us, or experience the interaction, in a completely different way. Therefore, wouldn’t it make sense to examine the possibility? Let me give you an example.

As a leader, you may see yourself as Confident, Positive, Competitive and a Winner; that’s YOUR perception.  Add in moderate pressure, tension, stress or fatigue in your audience and others may see you as somewhat Demanding, Nervy, Egotistical and even Aggressive. Under extreme pressure, stress or fatigue, others may even see you as Abrasive, Controlling, Arbitrary and Opinionated! I’m quite confident this isn’t what you desire.

In our Prioritized Leader Program, developed by Brandon Schaefer, CEO of Five Capitals. Brandon describes the story of a former client referred to as Henry. 

Henry was very intelligent – had a huge IQ. He also had a tremendous work ethic. In reality, he was typically the smartest guy in the room and the one putting in more hours than anyone else.  It was a winning combination and Henry began building an impressive resume.

However, there were certain aspects of Henry’s EQ (Emotional Intelligence) that were underdeveloped. As an introvert Henry often became emotionally drained when he was with too many people for too long, but he kept pushing himself into more highly social environments. Because he didn’t appreciate the strengths and limitations that his introversion afforded him, he often overextended himself at work only to come home struggling to engage with his wife and children. His lack of engagement with his overly extroverted son soon began to erode their relationship –  especially as his son got older.

Henry was extremely competitive and wanted to win at everything, and usually did. His drive to win pushed him to work more hours, spend more nights on the road, and ultimately grew his business to the point where he felt totally stressed. Henry’s inability to find a personal rhythm between work and rest, purpose and play, vocation and recreation not only took a toll on his personal relationships but on his health, as well. 

The inevitable day came, and in his late 30’s, he burned out. He quit his job and spent several weeks in Europe with his family attempting to regroup and figure out what went wrong, and what to do next.

While visiting friends, someone noticed how Henry interacted with his son. It was obvious that he loved his son, but because of his underdeveloped EQ Henry persistently dominated him. His son began shutting down, believing that he could never be good enough to earn his father’s approval. A wise friend courageously pulled Henry aside and asked him a very honest question. “Henry, would you like to know what it’s like to be your son on the other side of you?”

Does This Strike a Chord of Familiarity?

As with any story, we often place ourselves into one or more personas or character modes. Do you relate to Henry? Do you know someone like Henry? Are you the wise and courageous  friend, or, do you relate to his son? Whichever role you relate to, there is a learning; Self-knowledge opens the door to self-leadership!

“Would you like to know [insert your name] what it’s like to be your [employee], [team member] or [family member] on the other side of you?

As Brandon states, “the first step toward building meaningful and empowering relationships, we all desire, revolves around taking ownership of our own lives. As we discover who we are, how we’re wired, what makes us tick, and how we tend to undermine ourselves we can begin building solid friendships, partnerships, and working relationships with the very same people we once felt awkward around.”

Whether its your business, your team, or your family, leaders need to be willing to look into the mirror and take a positive step towards growing their emotional intelligence (EQ), and we can help. With our TriMetrixEQ assessment and our Prioritized Leader Program, we’ll put you on the path to understanding HOW you do things, WHAT motivates you (your Driving Forces) and your level of EQ (Self awareness, Self regulation, Social awareness, Social regulation). You’ll also learn how to become the leader you want others to see and experience on the other side of you.

On a final note, Brandon was with Henry a short while ago and Henry explained that after his friend asked him “the question” and the ensuing conversation, Henry was willing to look in the mirror, took action. Henry now refers to self-awareness as “the painful gift.” We totally agree!



Jim O’Hara is a veteran executive and former agency firm owner. He is President of Kellen James – Performance Advisors, an Advisory and Diagnostics consultancy that assists organizations to hire more accurately, lead more effectively and get results more efficiently. Connect with Jim on LinkedIn call him at 602.499.4241,  or email him at jim@kellenjames.com


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