Here is a cool tool to help you conceptualize your development process. It can be applied on a personal or professional basis for individuals or for groups and businesses.
In 1955, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham developed a technique to assist in relating to ourselves and others. They combined their first names to create the Johari Window, a method for looking into our lives.
There are four areas in the window:
Arena – Information that is know to myself and known to others. This is generally common knowledge that can be agreed upon. I wear glasses. Or I am a certain height. Or I hold a specific position in a company. I am a fan of a certain team based on the jersey I am wearing. It is easy to do something with this information as it can be used by everyone. If you are in the arena, generally everyone can see what is going on.
Blind – Information that is known to others but is not known to me. Most of us have had the humbling experience of being told that we have food in our teeth during an important public event. We all have blind spots to who we are personally, professional, emotionally, and relationally. There is a BENEFIT to knowing that the car in the other lane on the interstate is in your blind spot before you change lanes! There is a BENEFIT to knowing you have something in your teeth before giving a presentation. Knowing allows you do something to fix it! The intent of this quadrant is to find someone who is willing and able to give you accurate feedback. What if the feedback you received during your next annual was viewed as someone trying to HELP instead of attack who you are? We can grow as individuals if we can accept help in being shown the things about us that we can’t see for ourselves.
Hidden – Information we know for ourselves, but keep hidden from others. These are our secrets. We spend a lot of time and energy keeping our secrets hidden. Think of your secrets as being a beach ball that you keep submerged under the water at the pool so no one knows it is there. It may be easy to hold the ball underwater for a while. After a while though it takes a lot of effort to keep it submerged. Our secrets are like this! We have to hold onto them all the time! There is a BENEFIT to not hiding certain things about ourselves. This does not mean being completely transparent. It isn’t safe to tell everyone all of your deepest hidden information. But having a trusted friend or mentor to disclose information to can be a relief and allow you to observe yourself in a different way!
Unknown – Information that is not known to ourselves and not known to others. This is a tricky place. We don’t know what we don’t know. The reality is that we all have this unknown component to ourselves. Places of who we are on the inside that we have never had a chance to develop or explore. This could look like the painting class or guitar lessons we take for ourselves once the kids are out of school. Or an unresolved fear that has haunted us our whole life. It takes a certain amount of courage to be willing to explore this unknown, and sometimes dark, place in ourselves. The rewards for digging into the unknown areas of who we are can have tremendous BENEFITS! A new skill. A new perspective on life. A release of something we didn’t know was holding us back.
SO WHY DO YOU CARE?
This Johari Window is a valuable tool to gain perspective about ourselves. If we are honest with ourselves, we don’t know everything about who we are. It helps to be able to compartmentalize the different aspects of our person in order to look at each in greater depth. This creates more understanding!
The Johari Window is also not intended to be a static frame. The more we can move things into the arena, the easier they are to work with. We have more potential to growth, develop, and achieve by having more of ourselves in the arena. Moving information from the blind spot and secrets out into the open releases burdens and allows for greater potential (it HELPS to know you have something in your teeth). That Hidden window holds things we might need. Just like a mine, the treasure has to be dug out of the ground in a deep dark place. Once it is brought to the surface it becomes much more valuable.
So try the Johari Window out! How do you see yourself if you look through each frame? Where is there room to grow? – www.rhoadscoaching.com
finding meaning and purpose in daily life