Friday, December 9, 2011

Reflected Best Self Exercise

rbseToday we explore a tool to identify when others see us acting at our best self

My Personal Experience

I found the Reflected Best Self Exercise one of the most helpful and uplifting tools to help my career. I performed the exercise during a particularly stressful time in my professional life. Uncertain strategic messages from upper management coupled with frequent announced operational changes that were never authorized created stress. Sixty-hour work weeks with seventeen hours for school depleted my reserves. Layoffs loomed within the corporation. In all this, I lost my way. I began to lose my professional identity.

Then, Brad Agle (the author of the Stakeholder’s Salience Model) asked our class to take the Reflected Best Self Exercise. The exercise rekindled awareness of my personal mission, talents, and direction. The comments from others that constitute the basis for analysis restored self-esteem and confidence. The analysis directed my efforts to improve people’s lives. Much of my current professional efforts accelerated because I discovered my reflected best self.

I would like you to experience the same benefits I did.

Overview of the Reflected Best Self

Scholars at the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship in the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan developed the Reflected Best Self Exercise. Their web site states:

“Born from empirical research from University of Michigan’s Center for Positive
Organizational Scholarship, the Reflected Best Self Exercise™ (RBSE™) uses stories
collected from people in all contexts of your life to help you understand and articulate who
you are and how you contribute when you are at your best.  With this new insight, you will
feel immediately strengthened and connected to others, experience clarity about who you
are at your best, and  refine personal development goals to be your best self more

“The RBSE™ guides you step-by-step through the process of [I bulleted these from the original text]:

  1. Identifying potential respondents
  2. Making the request for feedback
  3. Creating your a priori best-self portrait
  4. Analyzing your reflected best-self stories
  5. Creating a new,  reflected best-self portrait
  6. Translating that  portrait into proactive steps for living at your best”

Discover Your Reflected Best Self

michiganI encourage you to take the exercise. You can buy it from the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship if you go through a school or non-profit organization. Others also share it. The original authors wrote an excellent scholarly treatise for those who really want to explore the profound positive psychology that make it work.

The exercise will take about 10-15 hours spread over several weeks. You spend most of the time on the analysis, reading comments 15-20 people write about you. All the comments are positive, so do not worry.

Lucy Ryan, a British executive coach, wrote

“Reflected Best Self is easily the most powerful feedback oriented intervention I’ve used in the last few years with clients…I like this exercise for so many reasons (beyond my obvious shortcomings for accepting criticism!). For me, it goes to the very heart of positive psychology. That is, you are already good, already unique and already accomplished. For positive change to occur, it’s a question of understanding and embodying those moments more than changing from the person you are to a different person. Like resolutions, so many personal visions are based on an ‘ought’ self (what i ought/must/should be like) when it is as simple as being at your best as often as possible.”

I agree with her. So, make the investment to discover your reflected best self. You will not regret it.

Don’t miss our review on the State of the American Dream ( a Diane Rehm show) on Monday

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