Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

Empowering Extraordinary

There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.

~ Aldous Huxley

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]W[/su_dropcap]E ARE ALL FAMILIAR with the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty, and how the Queen, Maleficent, would often consult with her mirror about who was the fairest of them all in her domain. The mirror always told the Queen that she was the fairest of them all, until, one day, the mirror professes that Snow White has grown into a beautiful woman and is the fairest of them all. No sooner were the words spoken, that the queen smashed the mirror in her rage. Although beautiful on the outside, the Queen suffered from inferiority, jealousy, and was terribly vain.

reflection-in-mirror-selfA similar story is about King David, and his mirror was the prophet, Nathan. When the King asked David who is the wickedest man on earth, Nathan spoke the truth, stating that the King was the wickedest man on earth. Like the Queen in Sleeping Beauty, the King was enraged. What is telling in these stories is both the Queen and the King asked their confidant a question that would feed into their vanity which implies that they were not really sincere about the question. Stories, myths, and fairy tales have value, and in these examples, we are shown what can happen when we are told a truth about ourselves that we do not want to hear or believe is valid.

What else can be gleaned from these stories?

  • It can be lonely at the top, therefore, you need a thought partner
  • People at the top can be insecure and not only need reassurance but consciously seek it out
  • People often act arrogant and powerful to mask their lack of confidence
  • Individuals at the top can be unaware of their blind spots – behaviors, weaknesses and often biases that they cannot see but those around them can
  • There is an unwillingness to receive the feedback because it does not fit into their self-perception and they can become defensive which leads to anger

We all need assurance at times, and yet, how often do we seek out honest feedback? More often what occurs, is that someone may open up and tell us something about ourselves that we don’t want to hear and when that happens, we become defensive, enraged like the Queen and King, and resist this piece of information as unwarranted.

Sound familiar?

Has this ever happened to you?

Did someone in your life ever tell you something about yourself which upset you to the core?

How did you respond?

When we have a strong negative reaction, there can often be some truth in the reflection being shared. Perhaps we feel “blind-sided” by the information about ourselves that we were unaware of. The essential nature of blind spots is that we don’t notice them ourselves. A leader who does not recognize and address blind spots reduces their effectiveness as a leader.

Not only do we need to be open to the feedback, we need to be willing to take action and do something about it. What are the steps to take?

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  1. kingTake in the feedback and accept it
  2. Let go of preconceived notions about yourself
  3. Accept your imperfection
  4. Commit to changing the behavior/s pointed out to you
  5. Work with a coach because changing patterns, especially blind spots is difficult and can take about six months for the change to last.[/message][su_spacer]

Patience is required as well. One of my clients becomes so frustrated when I point out to him that he did the same behavior. In exasperation he asks, “How come I didn’t see that myself?” Our blind spots can show up in many disguises, they are insidious, and bringing self-awareness is the first step in this journey. Eventually, with the awareness and the intention to change it, the behavior will change. Ask for feedback from your colleagues so that you can measure your success. The benefits of self-awareness and being open to feedback are great! Remember, Success Starts With You.

Your comments and likes are always appreciated. Two assessments to gain greater insight and self-awareness are the EQi – 2.0 assessment and the EQ – 360 assessment. Send me an email if you want to learn more @ melinda@successstartswithyou.net.

Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.
Melinda Fouts, Ph.D.http://www.successstartswithyou.net/
Melinda is a select Columnist & Featured Contributor for BIZCATALYST 360° and a Member of the Forbes Coaches Council (comprised of Top coaches offering insights on leadership development & careers). Prior to executive coaching and leadership development, Melinda has been in private practice as a psychotherapist for almost 20 years. She leverages her strengths and insights from her psychology background to help leaders and managers in transition through increased self-awareness. Owner and founder of Success Starts with You, is based upon the premise that you are already successful. Increasing self-awareness to increase emotional intelligence and unlocking blind spots are paramount to continued success. Melinda uses assessments to help bring more awareness. Whether you are a leader or manager in transition, need a thought partner, or need to improve your professional presence, Melinda has developed unique and innovative techniques from her background to help you reach higher heights. Melinda received her Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology from Saybrook University and her Masters in Psychology from Pacifica University. Melinda has worked as a consultant with executives and businesses for over 20 years. As a result of her experience and studies, she has developed a unique craft to fine-tune leadership development for peak performance. She lives in Colorado with her big, beautiful dog, Stryder.


  1. Feedback on our personal growth path is of great importance. Increasing our level of personal openness allows us to shed light on the blind area of ​​the matrix, to accept the fact that others know things about us that even we ignore. We will become more aware and objective towards ourselves and only then can we really understand who we are and progress in our personal growth journey. We must understand that criticism, even the most difficult to accept, can have its value to improve. I am aware that for a matter of pride it hurts, but if we focus on content rather than on form, it can serve us.
    Awareness once again makes the difference for improvement. In the end, everyone’s goal is to be better for ourselves and to live to the best of ourselves! The people around us and with whom we interact (and their feedback) simply provide clues to change our behavior to the fullest, indeed it is sometimes necessary to exploit them in this sense.
    It is not easy!

  2. Melinda, this really hit home with me, but not because I haven’t asked for feedback – honest feedback, but because I have many times. It’s a problem to hang out with positive people all the time because we are all cheerleaders with pom-poms and not one hammer covered in velvet. I know you’re exactly right in saying that we need feedback to improve. “Not only do we need to be open to the feedback, we need to be willing to take action and do something about it. What are the steps to take?” We have to be ready to take it on the chin then do something about it. But what if you have asked for feedback over and over but still nothing constructive is delivered? I guess that’s why people pay for coaches instead of finding a friend or mentor. But paying a coach isn’t viable for me and, I’m sure many individuals who are stuck and can’t move.

    • Jane, you present a common dilemma. Getting honest feedback from people we are close to is difficult for several reasons. One could be that they do not want honest feedback about themselves and by providing honest feedback opens them up to receiving it themselves. Others just want to coast through life and let things be. The biggest issues is that many are closed and fixed minded and want to let the elephant under the carpet lay there indefinitely.

      These are just some of my thoughts. There could be many more reasons I have not mentioned.

      Thanks for reaching out.

      • I’m sure you’re right . . . but some of us really have craved honesty so we can see blind spots or possible improvements that we don’t see ourselves. Thank you Melinda. I enjoy and always glean something valuable from your articles.



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