I have always been a visual learner so anytime I can look at a graph, diagram or picture to help me digest information and data, it is helpful to me.
The Johari window is a great tool for taking advantage of the “picture is worth a thousand words” adage. Only this time, the picture that we are looking at is much more like a mirror. And not just any mirror, but a mirror into our very private world.
The Johari window was named after and created by Joseph Luft (Jo) and Harry Ingham (Hari) in 1955 as a means to improve personal and relational understanding and dynamics.
The tool is a great resource in helping us to determine what self imposed limits, perceptions, boundaries and expectations exist in our inner world. It can also help us to identify and pursue opportunities for growth towards our full potential.
Here are the basic ideas behind the model.
Imagine that there are four distinct frames or window panes of thought in your internal and personal world.
- The first window pane allows you to see your Public Self and is often called The Arena. In the arena everything about you is on display for yourself and others to see. There is no mystery there. This is your own personal open book which you have granted permission for anyone to read. This represents information that you know and share about yourself freely. It is a comfort zone and represents little or no risk.
- The second window pane can be thought of as a blacked out window that only you can not see through. Who you truly are is in there, but you can’t see it. Others can, and what they see is the real you. This window is often called the Blind Self or Blind Spot. You might think of it as the “bad-breath” or the “spinach in my teeth” scenario. You are oblivious to the truths and realities that are in this window, but it is quite obvious to others.
- The third window pane is your personal and private sanctuary of information. Good or bad. It is often referred to as the Private Self or Facade, Mask, Disguise. This is your vault where you store the discoveries that you have made about yourself that you are not comfortable with others knowing about. Your insecurities live here. This is where you say things like “If they only knew about _______, they would feel differently about me”. Or, “I should be ashamed of myself for thinking that” or maybe even an overconfidence like “If everyone around here was more like me, we all would be better off”. This is where you spend a lot of time managing the impression that you want others to have of you. A lack of authenticity resides here.
- The fourth window pane is the most exciting to me. It is where your Growth Potential exists and is often referred to as the Unknown Self. This area contains truths and insights about yourself that neither you or others have yet discovered. It is where your untapped potential and personal growth and development exists. New discoveries mean new opportunities. New opportunities mean that new heights of success and achievement can be found. Unfortunately, most people are very hesitant and reluctant to venture into new territory to explore the Unknown Self. Especially alone. That is one of the reasons that I love my personal calling and ministry as a Coach so much. I get to walk into this big area of adventure with people and help them explore and conquer it’s new terrain!
It is also worthy to note that these four window panes or quadrants are in constant flux depending on your own personal mood, choices and perspective. Your feelings, assumptions, self imposed limits, beliefs and prejudices all have a direct effect on the size of the respective quadrants. This can be to your advantage or disadvantage. You can allow your Blind Spot to be enormous while your Growth Potential is tiny if you so choose. Or you can choose to pursue growth and overcome ignorance.
Here are two powerful truths that you need to know which will allow you to influence the size of your own personal Johari window panes to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and create the kind of abundant life that we have been promised in the scriptures.
- The first determining factor is Self Awareness and Disclosure.
By dealing with the messiness of your facade and defining the real truth about yourself and sharing that known truth with others you broaden your Arena and become more authentic, transparent, approachable and just plain real. By embracing awareness and relational disclosure you begin a positive Cycle of Healthy Transformation™. This first step is huge and it can be incredibly life changing.
- The second determining factor is Receiving Authentic Feedback.
By inviting and enlisting authentic feedback from others you open yourself up to new discoveries and shrink your Blind Spot. No one I know wants to walk around with their proverbial fly open or a piece of tape stuck to their rear end. But that is what can happen in our lives, at a more serious heart level, if we are not open to feedback from others. Some times it is feedback that isn’t pleasant to hear and may even be hard to stomach. However, on the contrary, often times it may be a positive and reinforcing insight that could empower you to tackle the day (or maybe even your life) with a new perspective. How do you typically respond when you are surprised by a genuine compliment or enlightening insight from someone. Feels pretty good huh?
These realities are just one of the reasons that I feel so privileged and blessed to fulfill the calling that God has placed on me to Coach others through this process, and many others like it, that can expand their potential and opportunities for personal and ministry growth. I love being a Coach and I love walking along side of those who are ready and willing to deal with their known facade of impression management and pursue their full potential. No doubt, it is a process and takes consistency and hard work, but the results are truly life changing. Truly !
If your honest and transparent, are you intentionally pursuing the opportunities for growth that are fully aligned with your full potential. If not, why not?
Let’s connect !
Problems and obstacles are inherent in every organization and entity. I have never heard someone say “I just can’t seem to find any problems around here”. Why? – because real problems are common. However, real solutions can be a rare find.
There will always be an opportunity for improvement to rise up in any given area of ministry and leadership.
Unfortunately some people approach problems and problem solving in very unproductive ways. For example, it is very common for people when hearing about a problem or obstacle, to simply jump on the bandwagon of identifying and exploring the problem. Example: John says “the vending machine took my dollar today” – and Susie says “That happened to me yesterday, too” and then they both continue on with a dialogue about how the machine is old and dumb and the items inside aren’t that good anyway and so on and so on. At the end of it all they both walk away feeling better by venting, then naming and blaming the problem, but having no solution in hand. No one explored options for a long term remedy or a fix.
Not nearly enough people will ask the obvious question when faced with a problem – “what should we ( I ) do to fix it?” Far too few people have an instinctual first response that is “solution” based. Fear not however, because it is a skill that can be learned as a team. What is necessary is a high level of perceived value and ongoing accountability.
A a team discuss these questions together:
- What are some common unproductive responses to new problems and obstacles?
- How valuable would it be for everyone on the team to instinctively think of solutions to a problem as soon as the problem became known?
- How often do we do that for each other?
- How effective are we at proactively providing creative solutions to new problems as they come up?
- What is preventing us from focusing on solutions first?
- What permission are you willing to give for others to expect you to provide solutions first to new problems?
- How willing are you to expect and demand solutions from others when they bring problems to you?
The ultimate solution will lie in every-one’s ability to be honest with each other and create a new “normal” amongst the team. As problems arise in the future and they are brought from one office to another – one person to another, the team must have permission to stop, ask and expect of each other, point blank – “what are we going to do to fix it?” Instead of the usual volley back and forth of vent, name and blame.
Finally, discuss as a team what this type of accountability will look like and gain permission now from each team member and for each team member to demand and expect solutions first at any time that future problems arise.
What steps will you take to be more solutions oriented today?