What you admire in others, you have within yourself



by: Sarah Lane

Ever wondered why some things that others do irritate you beyond reason? Well as the old saying goes, “It takes one to know one” and often the reason something triggers us is because that person’s behaviour is reflecting the thing we most want to change or that we haven’t got to noticing about ourselves as yet.

What you admire in others, you have within you

To see something in another person, you have to first know what it is. To know what it is, you must have experienced it before. To have experienced it before, then the first time had to be within yourself, even if it was for just a moment. If you have no knowledge of something, then you cannot have the words or emotions to describe it.

We even have things called mirror neurons in our brain that many cognitive psychologists would say are the key to how we learn through imitation (amongst many other things). A mirror neuron is one that reacts – fires off if you will – when an animal does something then observes the same action being performed by another animal. Many tests have been conducted with primates to begin to understand this phenomenon and to explore how this may be useful for treating things like autism.

For most of us though, it’s an interesting piece of information that, without having to understand the science in detail, we might want to consider in terms of who we are, how we act, and the perceptions and impacts we create in others.

Becoming the best version of yourself begins with believing that you have it all within you already. Being able to make choices starts with knowing what’s important to you, what’s of value.

Know where you want to be and who you want to be on the way

If making a change is something that you want, then taking action is imperative to creating momentum.  Here’s one way that you could take that first step:

ExerciseHeroes and Villains

Step 1 – Make a list of the top five people you admire and the top five people you dislike. They can be real or fictional, past or present, known well or at a distance. Draw representations of them on a large sheet of paper (flipchart if you have one).

Step 2 – Identify the characteristics, capabilities or attributes of each person that you admire them for or dislike them for. Illustrate your pictures with symbols or images, which capture these and the strength of your feelings.

Step 3 – For each person you admire, ask: which values do they represent? For each person you dislike ask: which values does he/she violate?

Step 4 – Ask: what does this tell me about the values that are important to me?

When you choose to face into the challenges that you face things begin to get easier and interesting.  Knowing who you are, what you stand for and what is possible for you from that space is the most empowering position to be in.  So grab the moment and make the change based on the reflection you see.


Sarah Lane 

Sarah Lane is the author of Choices (Panoma Press). Sarah is an executive and personal career coach, trainer, facilitator, behavioural change specialist and busy mum of a 2 year old. She has spent the last 20 years working in and with people from all walks of life: from chief executives to charity fundraisers, FTSE 100 teams to media creatives.

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