If they only knew me….

In Step 3, as you were thinking about how people see you, I’ll bet you had some thoughts like “Yeah, this is what they think about me, but if they really knew me they’d realize that I ____________________.” In this step, you fill in the blank.

Why do you need to go through this step? Because you have to know how to describe what people don’t understand about you so you can create a strategy to help them understand. When you can describe what you want people to know about you, you are ready to request a conversation with a co-worker or manager where you ask for help in maximizing your effectiveness at work.

Do people misunderstand your intentions?

As you go through this exercise, it is important to think about events at work where people totally misunderstood your actions and your intentions. Also think about any time that you really wanted to contribute, but your team didn’t understand how you could contribute.

Think about these questions. Do people know that you really like to write – and that people like to read what you write? Do they know that you have this crazy ability to come up with solutions that other people just don’t see? Do they understand that when you check out for a minute in a meeting, you’re processing everything you just heard so you can (a) figure out how to use the information and (b) make a meaningful contribution to the meeting?

Do they understand how you work and why?

Or, do they realize what they consider goofing off (checking your phone, spinning in your chair) is really productive thinking – your process is just different. Do they realize that when you get excited about contributing in a meeting, you blurt our your ideas because you’re afraid you will forget them? How about this one – you ask for permission to do things because you are worried that if you make a mistake you’ll be fired? Do they realize that you pace when you work so that you can concentrate better? Do they know that you love to work with customers because you know you can help them get what they need?

Your friends know your strengths – just ask them!

If you struggle with this step, ask trusted friends and co-workers for help. Your friends are your fans. They will know your strengths – they might even recognize strengths you don’t even know you have. And, they can help you talk about how it looks and feels at work. Write down your notes as you go. You will use this in Step 5.

These are worth your time:

Read: Where are you on the talent spectrum?
Read: How to be Likeable
Read: This Exercise Might Be Critical to Your Success