I doubt whether any of us are straight forward. There are aspects of ourselves that perhaps we care to keep hidden or at least only show on rare occasions. At times, others around us see things in us that perhaps we don’t see or recognise ourselves.
Back in 1955 psychologist Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham developed a model that enabled people to gain a better understanding of themselves in relation to others. Combining their Christian names together they created Johari Window which continues to be used today especially within team development. It is a feedback and self-awareness model that I have used myself when running workshops on team building and developing confidence.
I do think that it is worth, every now and then, to consider our own Johari window and to check out which areas can perhaps do with a bit more developing!
In its simplest form there are four quadrants or areas to the window, see diagram below.
Area One is known as the Open area and this represents our skills, behaviour, attitude, knowledge and experience that are known to us and to others. It is open, nothing hidden, there is clear open communication. When working as part of a team this area ideally should be developed in order to lessen conflict and avoid miscommunication.
Area Two is the Blind area which represents information that is known by others but not by the person themselves. Maybe others are deliberately withholding information from you or you may be choosing to ignore issues about yourself. Others interpret you differently from how you perceive yourself. Not necessarily a good place to be in and often people who are known as “thick skinned” have an over developed blind spot.
Area Three or Hidden area is what we know about ourselves but have chosen not to share it with others. These can be our fears, past experiences, feelings, secrets, hidden agendas. There may be many reasons why we choose not to make it open but we need to be aware that there may come a time when it is appropriate and healthier to move it into the Open area. As the saying goes “what we resist, persists”.
Area Four known as the Unknown contains latent abilities and experiences that are unknown to both us and others. It is the bit yet to be explored or discovered. Maybe we have yet to have the opportunities to push out of our comfort zone, to realise that we are far more capable than we think we are. Self-discovery and observation by others can help move from this area into area one.
By taking a quick check using this model are there aspects that you are ignoring about yourself? Maybe you hear others repeatedly tell you about certain skills/attributes that you are not accepting? Does it feel appropriate to be a little braver and move out of your comfort zone and stretch your potential? For all us we rarely stand still in our personal development and growth so I hope that a reminder of this model will help you take another step forward.