How many of us are committed to regular reflection and seeking feedback on how we show up in our professional lives? My guess is not many.

Asking others to provide comments – albeit constructive – can be scary. As for self-reflection, for some of us this is just plain difficult and not a natural skill.

I have a way to understand your self-awareness on who you are, how you show up in the world, and what others see when you’re stressed.

But first, let me tell you how I discovered something really important about myself and how it changed everything for me!

I grew up in a family of four girls with me in the middle. We were typical girls vying for our parents’ time and affection. I grew up in the era of schools streaming students, so being in a class of brainiacs (still not sure how I got there), I developed a knack for competing with others in order to keep up. Factor in fighting for a place on a sports team, the idea that competitiveness was the key to success became ingrained in my belief system.

In my previous career climbing the ladder to the C-Suite, this notion of striving to outdo others continued. I would mentally pick out my opponents, compare myself to them and use the competitive edge as my motivator.

But, and this is a big but, striving to outdo others caused me a huge amount of stress! The kind of stress that gets under your skin and can’t be managed. The insidious stress that comes from thinking I have to be like others and even be better than them. I knew there was something wrong but I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out.

And along came Lumina Spark! I was working with an Executive Coach who had me do an assessment to dig deeper into my strengths and gaps. My Lumina Portrait (like an executive survey of me), revealed some very interesting things. The most surprising was that I have almost no underlying strength in the competitive quality, but I was trying to use it when I showed up in the world. The result being that I became overextended and, when stressed, would move to winning at all costs.

This felt like a 2 x 4 hitting me smack on the head.

I looked back on my life and realized that I had the faulty belief that to get ahead meant being competitive with others – it caused me no end of discomfort and distress.

The bottom line is, I wasn’t being authentic to others or myself. This newfound knowledge was a game changer. I could physically feel a weight lift off my shoulders. In working with my coach, I discovered that shifting to the belief that working hard and being true to myself was the key to my authentic leadership.

I’m not sure where I’d be if I hadn’t made that discovery. But I do know that I likely wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today without Lumina. And this is just one of the many learnings from this assessment that have benefitted me.

Having my coach work me through Lumina Spark has been one of the best investments I’ve made in myself. It’s a tool that makes self-reflection easy and uncomplicated.

I still have my portrait on my desk and I refer to it often to help me understand why I am thinking, feeling and reacting to certain things. Knowing this means I can find an effective way of using my strength qualities to manage any situation.

Do you really know what your strengths are?

Do you know and understand what makes you stressed?

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