We all tell ourselves a few porky-pies about our strengths and weaknesses. Most of the time, the strengths far outweigh the ‘weaknesses’ but we amplify that annoying inner voice that’s determined to stir sh*t up.

Deception is about concealing the truth. Put that together with ‘self’ and you’ve got a dangerous melting pot of inner sabotage, ready to get in your way!

Dr. Cortney Warren defines it as, “self-deception at the most basic level is an inability, to be honest with yourself.”

And this can affect your way of working, especially if you’re in a leadership position and impact how you lead a team. But even more so when you’re just starting out.

If you don’t get a handle on self-deception then you can end up limiting your career and opportunities before you’ve got anywhere and we don’t want that to happen, cos you’re great 😀

How can you clear away self-deception, replace this toxic self-talk and have a healthier view of yourself and career?

Self-deception

Muddying the Water

Self-deception obscures how you see yourself and situations. It’s an irritatingly self-centered approach to life, but it usually affects people that are far from selfish – they might be under confident and lacking self-esteem.

Chances to grow and grasp opportunities can fall by the wayside if you tell yourself you’re not prepared or capable. Biases, misinformation, and misplaced assumptions…no, not our current political climate (!), but the thought processes we all have to wrestle with and overcome to believe that we can do something.

You end up prioritizing your own opinions and priorities because you’re countering what other people tell you about yourself and skills.

Masking truths and not acknowledging objective reality can be a very negative thing too, driven by ego and arrogance. In fact, “90 percent of all drivers think they are above average, and 94 percent of professors at a large university were found to believe that they are better than the average professor” – it’s simply impossible for everyone to be right, but unrealistic expectations and ego can cloud better judgment.

Reflection is all about digging deep and looking at the why behind your thoughts and actions. Click To Tweet

There could be glaring alarm bells ringing with how you’re leading a team, but you just won’t see it when you’re not opening yourself up to listening to feedback. You can end up cherry-picking data that supports your arguments and surrounding yourself/promoting people that only support your beliefs. This means that you end up limiting the success of your team too and they can’t grow in a positive direction either.

Having problems, you’re not or don’t want to be aware of can be debilitating in the long-term. Lots of thinking that goes unchecked can get entrenched over time. It can get increasingly difficult to see truths about yourself if you don’t practice ways to get out of your bubble.

And we could all do with getting out of our bubble from time to time!

A New Sense of Self

Whereas self-deception is rarely a positive type of self, there are a couple of positive ‘self’ actions that you should familiarize yourself with.

Self-reflection and self-awareness are your two new BFFs.

We should all have a healthy dose of these two if we want to succeed personally and professionally. For some of you, it probably comes really naturally and you’re already doing this.

To others, woah, you’d be surprised how many people don’t ever question their thoughts, behaviors or consequences of their actions. When you don’t do this, you’re in dangerous territory buddy.

Self-Reflect, baby!

When you have a mindset of self-deception, you don’t look at why you’re thinking or doing things, you just take it for what it is.

Reflection is all about digging deep and looking at the why behind your thoughts and actions.

Take a moment to look at the generic responses you have in certain scenarios and pressure-points. Deconstruct these responses and look at how you can improve your reactions and work out why these responses don’t always lead to positive solutions.

    • Aim to gain a greater understanding of the thoughts and mindsets that have influenced your decision-making, especially if things aren’t going to plan for you or your team.
    • Develop emotionally intelligent ways to work. Emotional intelligence is harder for some people than others, but one of the best professional skills to possess. Try to be empathetic and think of how your words and actions affect others.
    • Built compassionate relationships with people around you and take time out to connect. Try to be your authentic self and have integrity.
    • Instead of selfish, impulsive decisions and words, think before you act.
    • When problems arise and you are part of them, don’t deflect and look to blame others factors – take accountability and ownership and accept your human self, flawed parts n all.
    • Encourage others around you to be self-reflective too – thinking through consequences of actions and impact on the rest of your team.
    • Make reflection a priority. No matter how fast-paced your work environment is, you’ll make better business decisions and be more successful in the long-term if you stop to reflect and fine-tune your decision-making.

Self-deception can get in the way of authentic ways of working and emotionally intelligent skillsets, so make self-reflection a core component in your life.