Mirror Mirror On The Wall – Accurate Self Assessment

What would have happened in the Snow White story if the magic mirror did not tell the wicked stepmother the truth that Snow White has surpassed her beauty?

Well, unlike the step mother in the story, we won’t have the movie that captured the hearts and imagination of many children to help us see the truth. There will be no cute little dwarves, no poisoned apple and no handsome prince to wake us up.

In the story, the wicked step mum rejects the real her and becomes one of the most hated characters in Disney World. Her confrontation with the truth propels her towards a frantic act of murder that almost leads the story to a tragic end. Thanks to a true love’s kiss. Snow White’s story ends with a “happily ever after.”

So what was the real problem here and how does it apply to our own story?

The step mother was wickedly wise. She was aware of what she wanted and knew quite well her preferences however she lacked accurate self-assessment.

She kept holding on to that image of a fairer lady which she once was. When this blind spot is revealed by her painfully truthful mirror, it speaks of her present condition. She refuses to face the truth and becomes more wicked in nature. What an immature and emotionally unstable woman.

In real life, behavioural experts would diagnose her as lacking in accurate self-assessment. Daniel Goleman would describe her as a woman with “great self confidence but zero empathy.” A woman with low Emotional Intelligence.

We don’t have to see the movie to witness this kind of character. She could be anyone of us who does not have the capacity to accurately asses oneself, one who uses mirrors that are cracked, warped or unpolished.

In the real world, what kind of person would step mum be?

In public, someone who always puts their best foot forward and if there’s no good foot, they wear their best foot gear to appear good. They take pride in not asking anyone for help, even if they need to. Their being overly ambitious drives them to set unattainable or unrealistic goals for themselves.

In a team, others may find them uncooperative and overly competitive. Their strong desire to be the star drives them to over perform and to overshadow the contribution of others.

Whew! What a struggle that kind of person undergoes as they pretend to be who they are not just to be accepted. 

Does it sound like they are being too hard on themselves? Wait ’til we learn how hard they can also be on others:

As a leader, it unnerves them not to be in control. They push others hard to perform but then take the credit for their achievements. And if they are not confident with their performance, they micro manage instead of delegating. If anything goes wrong they easily reject criticisms and blames it on others. This kind of leadership stagnates the growth of those under them and as a consequence, the whole team suffers.

This person’s life may not be as dramatic as the movie but the elements are there. And the truth is, many of us are living our lives like the wicked step mother.

Mirrors don’t absorb images. They reflect them. 

A person who is skilled at accurately assessing themselves look at the mirror intently and does not shun away even if what is reflected is not what they desire to see. They study themselves well and as such knows their capabilities and limitations. Since they accept themselves as they are, including their imperfections, they take criticism and feedback constructively.

They open themselves up to new perspectives and hunger for new ideas. They long for self-development and acknowledge that there are others that possess skills that they do not have. Instead of competing with them, they learn from them to improve on areas where they need to improve.

So what will it take to polish our mirrors so that we can see clearly the reflections of ourselves?

  1. An open mind and heart to receive feedback and even criticism without becoming defensive or coming up with excuses.
  2. An excitement for new insights and learnings.
  3. An openness for growth and improvement.
  4. An effort to learn more about our strengths and take hold of development opportunities through assessment instruments such as a  social and emotional intelligence profile.
  5. A willingness to hear the insights of others on your strengths and weaknesses.
  6. A desire to try new things and to create a safe environment for moderate risk-taking and even failure.
  7. A realistic attitude towards taking on new projects.

As you can see, Accurate Self-Assessment is one of the key ingredients of self-awareness.

Self-Awareness is the baseline competency of social and emotional intelligence.

A high IQ is a good start, just like the stepmother who uses her cunning abilities to be part of Snow White’s household, but it was her low EQ that lead her to a murderous path that not only almost destroys Snow White’s life but also her own.

There are many mirrors that appear in our lives. They come in the form of our friends, our co-workers, our loved ones and hopefully ourselves. Are we taking them for granted and discarding them like the wicked step mother or are we polishing them to reveal the truth?

To assess your current level of social and emotional intelligence, contact us today so we can introduce you to our Social and Emotional Intelligence Profile (SEIP®).