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April 2, 2020

Do You Know Who You Are?

Os Hillman • Conflict Management
The Jahari Window is a tool that helps us realize where we are in our ability to know who we are and for others to know who we are. Real transparency in communication takes place when those we associate know who we are after we discover who we really are.

The Jahari Window

             "Success is when those who know you the best are those who love you the most."

The Jahari Window is a tool that helps us realize where we are in our ability to know who we are and for others to know who we are. Real transparency in communication takes place when those we associate know who we are after we discover who we really are.


Each of the above boxes represents a personality "window". Each of us falls into one category. See if you can identify what category you might fall.

Transparent Life

 In the left-hand window, the transparent life is the life I desired. I know who I am and others know me. There is nothing hidden. I have come to know who I am as an individual and basically people get what they see in me. Robert Staub, a psychologist and counselor to many executives, quoted in the August 1995 issue of Reader's Digest, that the No. 1 cause of failure of executives is a lack of self-awareness. "You must step outside your skin to adopt the viewpoint of others," he stated.

Bull-In-The-China Shop

This person is blinded to the things that others recognize about him. Years ago when I owned an advertising agency I discovered I could over-administrate and hurt people's feelings without realizing it. My facial expressions let them know I was displeased. However, I did not know I was doing this. Others knew this about me, but I was blinded to it. The solution to becoming a transparent person is to get feedback from those around us. This is the only way we will change our behavior. We must ask for the feedback and be willing to respond to their input.


A female executive tells how she never understood the impact she had on people. She was the general manager of a credit card unit when five of her 2,000 employees were found to have deliberately hidden $24 million in losses that she was accountable for. She was an intense perfectionist whom others saw as intimidating and confrontational. She was extremely opinionated. Her subordinates were fearful of reporting bad news so they lied about it. She lost her job but was later offered another chance to salvage one of the company's smaller businesses. She realized that she needed to be much more understanding of people around her. She learned from her experience and succeeded in her next assignment with the company.


Aloof/Hidden Secrets

This person lives in a secret world. They don't allow others to know about themselves. They know themselves but are fearful of letting others know. Those around them do not know them either. The way out of this is to start disclosing yourself to others. Tell them what your feelings are and how you view life. Give them more input so they can learn who you really are. These people can be friendly but over time you come to realize you know little more about them than you knew initially. What do others really know about you? Have you allowed yourself to get close enough to others to share who you really are inside?


Hidden Potential

This is a combination of Bull-In-A-China Shop and Aloof/Hidden Secrets. It is the saddest of all conditions. These people don't know themselves and others don't know them either. This means both parties have to invest the energy to communicate and get feedback from one another. This is probably the worst scenario because both parties are in the dark about who the other person really is. Can you ask those around you if there are any aspects of your personality that they find difficult to live with? Are you able to identify your motivations and what really drives who you are as an individual?

One day my good friend Ray Miller, who was director of Fellowship of Companies for Christ International for seven years, described the following diagram that illustrates what he discovered during his time of working with chief executive officers in Christian companies. He cites that the greatest problem he saw working with business owners is getting them to enter deep relationships with other Christian business owners. The diagram demonstrates that when Christian teaching resources are the only source of influence in an executive's life the growth is limited. But when it is combined with deeper relationships, the curve moves toward maturity for the business person.



We have learned that it is not enough to learn "cognitive" skills alone to become effective for the kingdom of God as a business person. This is the Greek model that has so influenced our culture. The Hebraic model says one must have mentors and others who can demonstrate principles being lived out relationally. Ray discovered first hand that when an executive lived in the upper tier of the graph, he was not very effective in his walk with God. Conversely, when the two areas were combined, there was significant fruit as they increased their level of skill, knowledge, and relationship. The greater this increased, the greater Christlikeness this yielded. The byproduct is a more obedient walk with God that is a result of knowing that close relationships are key to becoming more Christlike.



One day my mentor and I were having lunch together. "What is the measuring stick you have for determining whether your life was a success or not?" he said to me. "What a question," I thought to myself. As I often did, I fired the question back at him. "What is your measuring stick?" "I think the number of people that show up at my funeral is a good measuring stick because these people thought I impacted their lives in some way enough to show up at my funeral. I pondered his statement. I pondered how many would show up at my own funeral. I knew there would be plenty to show up at his funeral. It often disturbed me that one individual could care for others as much as he did.


From that day forward I realized I had not invested my life in others the way Christ would have me. I realized much of my activity was built toward financial security, selfish ambition and fear. My mentor went on to explain, "I began to change the way I lived my life and decided to do a one year experiment."  For one year I lived my life as though it was my last year. All my decisions were based upon the idea I would not be around at the end of that year. That is how I live my life now. It has changed me forever. I'll never live it any other way now." "Os, you need to do the same," he said.


How about you? Why not take a step to find out who you really are in the eyes of others. It could change your life.



Visitor Comments (1)


this is realy great. please continue assisting us know who we realy are in the eyes of others. keep it up...

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