My mom had a cartoon hanging by her mirror for decades that showed a mutt looking into the mirror and seeing a beautiful collie. I was always drawn to the image because I think for so many people the reality is the reverse: they are collies but see themselves as average mutts.

I thought of this cartoon when I read a Twitter post by Oogimauskii:* “A different version of you exists in the minds of everyone who knows you…the person you think of as “yourself” exists only for you, and even you don’t really know who that is. Every person you meet, have a relationship with or make eye contact on the street with, creates a version of “you” in their heads. You’re not the same person to your mom, your dad, your siblings, than you are to your coworkers, your neighours or your friends. There are a thousand different versions of yourself out there, in people’s minds. A “you” exists in each version, and yet your “you”, “yourself” isn’t really a “someone” at all.”

 You can’t control how others view you or what those multiple different versions of “you” are in the minds of others, but you can choose how you talk about yourself and picture yourself in your own mind. Believe yourself to be that beautiful collie!

*Concept from Uno, Nessuno, Centomila by Luigi

Illustration by Jerry Van Amerongen, 1985

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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