To be a truly exceptional leader necessitates that I become vigilantly aware of myself in the moment. In the moment when I am facilitating a team meeting to figure out how to get a project back on track. In the moment when a co-worker enters my office for our weekly 1-on-1 conversation. In the moment of quiet reflection during an annual offsite.
In the video below, I overview a common, often unconscious, phenomenon occurring during these ordinary leadership moments, called projection. Projection raises my awareness to a certain behavior or quality, typically through a negative experience of this quality in someone else. Rather than simply being annoyed or frustrated by this negative experience, projection invites me to consider a deeper purpose. The quality or behavior that has captured my attention mirrors a part of me that is ready to step into the light and be seen clearly. Our projections, if we’re willing to acknowledge them as such, provide a pathway for our continuous growth and evolution.
Any given moment of my day has the power to become transformational as I courageously and honestly look:
- at my silent opinions of others
- at my judgments and criticisms of myself
- at my assumptions
- at the meaning I am attaching to a situation or circumstance
Watch the video below to learn more. Use the questions that follow to help you look courageously and honestly at the growth opportunities projection may be inviting you into today.
The Invitation: Owning Our Projections
- Call to mind the meetings, conversations, interactions you’ve been a part of today. Recall any person who may have caught your attention, whether positively or negatively.
- What were your thoughts or feelings about this person? Write these down.
- Take a look at what you’ve written. Could any or all of these thoughts and feelings be projections? Keep this list with you and commit to noticing yourself – becoming an observer of yourself in your daily interactions. Always asking, what was I thinking about him/her during that encounter?
- Remembering the purpose of projection is to call our attention to a part of ourselves which is ready to be seen more clearly, spend a few quiet minutes each day wondering what within you is wanting some attention.
- Is it time for you to own a positive attribute that you’ve been denying in yourself (like in my example, my ability to keep myself calm and focused during difficult interactions)?
- Is it time to own up to an undesirable attribute and take greater responsibility for your thoughts or behaviors?
Doing the honest work of taking back our projections can feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar. We’re entering uncharted territory! Precisely where we need to be if growth and transformation are what we desire. But you don’t have to go in alone. Want a trusted partner for your journey? I’ve got my galoshes on and we can muck through it together! Give me a call.