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What Do People See in You?

Few people have the wisdom to take the criticism that would benefit them and instead want the praise that deceives them.

Do you have someone in your life who loves you enough to be truthful with you no matter what? Have you ever asked that person to give you feedback about yourself? I ask these questions every time I think of the show American Idol and recall someone who thought that it was a good idea for them to pursue a musical career. Unfortunately, many people don’t have anyone around them who can tell them the truth about themselves.

In finding out your specific gift, having someone like this in your life who can point out what you’re great at and what you’re not great at is invaluable. There’s a saying that the eye can’t see the eye. If there is a speck in your eye, it’s helpful when you can have someone to look in your eye to help you see what you can’t. With gifts, it’s the same way. Once you are able to see clearly, you’ll be able to see others clearly as well.

What would happen if you had friends, family, peers, mentees, and managers/supervisors give you feedback on yourself on your opportunities for growth, areas of strength, and conflict resolution style? I can tell that it’s the best but at times, the most difficult thing to do. I will share with you some of the results of having these questions posed to people in my life.

How can this individual grow as a leader?

-Ability to take the opinions of others into consideration and put his aside.

-I think there are times when Jon may be nervous about being the focal point of a project. This may not be something he is interested in. I think he is very good as a 2nd in charge, but perhaps could have some work on being the head of an organization if it is something he would like to do. I think the confidence to be the lead is something he questions at times.

-Jon has a very engaging personality and I see him excelling as a motivational speaker giving words of encouragement to individuals in need of support.

What are the strengths of this individual?

-I think Jon has very sound judgment and is a hard worker. I think he understands people and knows himself. I believe he can network very well and is genuinely liked by those around him. He is a people person, and is good at conversations with people. He continually is looking to improve himself, which is a great thing to have in leadership positions.

-His ability to relate and connect with people.

-Humility and consciousness regarding the intersection of social identities and the importance of challenging the status quo when strategically appropriate. Values lead decisions…leading to integrity in action. Ability to relate to youth and other men of color as well as be comfortable cross culturally and in diverse settings.

Describe this individual’s style of conflict resolution.

-He responds well to the situation in that he doesn’t feel overwhelmed or overly stressed. He just sometimes needs more confidence since more often than not he knows what to do.

-Jon is a critical thinker and approaches problems or conflicts with a great deal of thought.

-Jon is quite fixated on resolving conflicts with a “win win” mentality. He likes to resolve conflicts with the least loss as possible whether it may be a loss of relationship or privileges. He often likes to consult with close and wise friends in an attempt to come with the best solution to his conflicts.

What should this individual do less of?

-Doubt himself. He is intelligent but sometimes lacks the confidence necessary for better execution.

-Keep internal emotional process inside. Put others first without leaving room for own needs/wants. Live for legacies from ancestors that don’t support a more positive future.

-Jon should put less energy towards stressful and difficult situations as he faces them. I feel that he exerts too much energy towards stressful and difficult situations. I would like a more laid back Jon in the face of stress.

-Argue when there are more sides to a story or argue when he loses.

Describe your understanding of this individual’s purpose in life.

-My understanding is that the individual is pushing to fulfill God’s purpose for his life. He is working in ministries to serve the community and the church. He is interested in helping people in many aspects of their lives, specifically financially and may also be interested in becoming a Life Coach. He is definitely also a huge advocate for young men and helping them to become successful adults.

-Trying to find effective ways to be of service to others in his communities while following his values and faith. Trying to make a positive impact while finding fulfillment and satisfaction through personal growth through overcoming challenges and fostering authentic relationships.

-Being able to apply his talents and knowledge in his career and everyday life. He enjoys helping others. Jon enjoys seeing his peers succeed.

This feedback helped me to see what I should continue to do and what I needed to work on. My level of awareness increased as a result of what others observed about me and communicated in clear ways. Without feedback, you can't be certain that you are going in the right direction and that you’re maximizing your abilities. Take a chance today and ask for feedback from someone you know will tell you the truth about yourself. It is risky to be vulnerable with anyone so the person you ask should have the following characteristics:

1. They love you and want nothing but the best for you.

2. They must promise to be honest with you even if it hurts. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. (Proverbs 27:6, NIV)

3. They should be someone your trust and feel safe to be honest with. See Chapter 33 on CASUAL friends.

4. They should be people who won’t tell you what to do unless you ask for advice but will let you decide what you want. All they should be doing is telling you what they see and answering the questions you ask as honestly as possible.

This could be a teacher, an older sibling, a mature friend, or your coach. Put your list together today and begin to ask the questions below. Give yourself time to unpack these questions. You may want to take a few hours if you’re the kind of person to flesh out the answers and process.


How can this individual grow as a leader?

What are the strengths of this individual?

Describe this individual’s style of conflict resolution.

What should this individual do less of?

Describe your understanding of this individual’s purpose in life.

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