Have you ever found out what people really think of you?
It’s truly one of the most powerful and productive self-development exercises you will ever do.
I use this exercise frequently with Client’s and it’s so simple yet uber uber effective.
I get my Client to ask five people who they trust, to give them raw, honest feedback about themselves.
Remember, it’s universally accepted that if you hear the same thing three times it’s probably true. So, by asking five people what they truly think, my Clients are guaranteed to get an accurate reflection of how they’re perceived to be.
I would like you to do this exercise too.
Why would you want to put yourself through this same exercise I hear you ask?
Although you may not care how others perceive you, you’ll be wise to take the counsel of those people who you love, admire or look up too. Whilst I advise against striving for perfection (it doesn’t exist) or fundamentally changing the essence of who you are (always stay true to you), it’s always going to be a productive exercise to try and smooth out some of your rough edges.
But this exercise does come with a warning.
Some of the feedback may sting, but it’s all for your greater good. Remember these are people you trust giving, so trust in what they are telling you.
If you don’t feel ready to hear the criticisms yet, then stick to Stage 1 only for the time being and progress to Stage 2 and Stage 3 when you feel braver.
What Do People Really Think – Stage 1
- Identify five people who you trust. Keep this to family and friends only. Pick very carefully because this exercise is obviously reliant on other people’s opinions, so pick the people whose opinions matter! If you can’t identify five don’t worry.
- Contact them and explain you’re carrying out a self-development exercise and you trust their opinion explicitly. Would they mind helping you?
- Once they’ve agreed, ask them the following:
- What do they love about you?
- What do they admire about you?
- What are your strengths?
What Do People Really Think – Stage 2
- Using the same five people above, ask for their honest feedback on the areas they feel you need to work on A.K.A – your bad points. Stress that you need them to be brutally honest for this exercise to work and you will not throw a moody over their response! It’s good at this point to stress again that you’ve intentionally picked them because you trust them and you appreciate you’re “hunting” out this information. Please can they identify the following:
- What do you need to improve on?
- What do they find irritating about you?
- What are your weaknesses?
What Do People Really Think –Stage 3
- Ask a further five people who you deal with, but don’t know as well as the five people above. It could be business acquaintances, personal acquaintances, maybe your boss (if appropriate), colleagues, mother in law, cousins, next door neighbours.
- Depending on the type of relationship you have with them will depend on how you get the feedback. You may ask directly or you may need to be subtler.
- Go through Stage 1 & 2 with these second set of people.
What Do People Really Think – Stage 4
- Take a sheet of A4 and head it “Raw Feedback” and split into two vertical sections and label one column “Positive” and one column “Needs Improvement”.
- Condense the feedback into these two columns.
- Where the same comment is repeated more than once, don’t repeat the comment, put a tally score at the end to keep track of how many times it’s been said.
- Once the two columns are completed, take another sheet of A4 and title it “Feedback Final” and draw the same two columns and headings again.
- Look at the original sheet of A4 and pull out those comments that have been mentioned more than three times.
- Place these comments onto Feedback Final. This sheet accurately represents how you are perceived to be.
What Do People Really Think – Stage 5
- Firstly, digest what’s been said about you. Remember you need to accept what has been said as being the truth as to how you are perceived. Your first reaction may be to get angry or dispute what’s been said. Don’t. Roll with it. It’s also worth pointing out that how you are perceived to be, doesn’t necessarily mean who you are, it’s just how you’re perceived!
- Extract the good comments and place them where you will see them regularly. Refer to them when you need a boost.
- Look at the areas you need to improve on. Perhaps ask a friend or even better an Accredited Life Coach to help you. Come up with plan of action for each. What action can you take towards smoothing these areas out? The “actions” don’t need to be massive, baby steps are fine if you’re struggling.
- Finally, put into action what you’ve agreed to do.
I hope this helped you.
Please look at my previous blog posts on this topic: