Build a Strong Self Concept

Associated Handouts Comments and Ideas

To help participants take a current inventory of who they are and what they want from life. It’s been said that success is an inside job. Discover how to strengthen the three levels of self-concept that supports everything you do and speak. Overcome the fear of rejection and boost the courage of your convictions. Empower yourself with the knowledge of who you are.

Self-understanding goes a long way in identifying what we want from life; which enables us to choose the most effective paths to that reality. Becoming consciously aware of who we are helps us clarify our sense of purpose and brings enthusiasm and commitment to our life goals.

By identifying the three levels of our self-concept we unscramble our thinking and can better understand who we are and how to best apply our talents and abilities.

Creating a clearer understanding of our true self will get us in touch with the things that make the ultimate difference in our life decision making. Having a strong self-concept is one of our greatest assets!

Our true self is comprised of our values, priorities, our sense of purpose and just being aware of the goals and experiences that will bring us maximum rewards.

Categorize the major areas of your life and for each one identifies major goals, values and priorities.

Look at each of those areas and evaluate what you believe your purpose may be. 

The inferred self involves more of our personality traits.

These are assessments people make about us after having the time to experience our temperament and personality. They may include our charm (or lack of it), our character and our disposition.

What others infer about us will evolve in due time as they get to know us better. For example; a shy person who over time develops trust in your friendship may open up to you – allowing you to see more of their true self.

People may display different sides of their personalities depending on the type of company that surrounds them. We learn to adapt our style to what we feel may be appropriate at that given time.

Many times, personality traits alone may send the wrong message. People may misinterpret a part of our personality and make a misjudgment.

An introverted person may be misconstrued as not a “people person” though he or she may have a tremendous love and respect for others.

People with an offbeat sense of humor may come off as someone not serious about life but nothing may be further from the truth.

Guys are always gentlemen on the first date – like opening the car door. By the third date as they walk to the car he may ask “Hey – why don’t I pop my hood and you can check the oil before you get in?”

Many clergy insist on pre-marital counseling before the wedding to make sure couples have a compatible true-self. They know the number one cause of divorce is when true selves are incompatible.

It is valuable to have friends recollect their first impression of you at the time of your first meeting. We could use this information to identify our strengths and potential weaknesses in our communication or “miss-communication” to others to minimize the chance of sending wrong messages.

Make a list of how you feel others perceive you when you first meet them.

Ask your friends and acquaintances what their first impression of you was at that time and how has that impression evolved over time.

It may be interesting to find if there are any major differences from your previous perception verses your current reality.

The extended self is superficial in dimension. It never really goes beyond the labels people consciously or unconsciously extend to other people.

These labels can be anything someone chooses to quickly and easily identify and judge us by association. Often, it’s the most visible first impression.

Some examples of the extended self are our sex, age, race, height and weight. It can also extend into other areas such as our job title, education and political party.

People form opinions of us before learning more about who we really are. They have a concept based on their own experiences, prejudices and limitations. These opinions can be positive or negative.

What comes to your mind when you think of a college student…salesperson…corporate executive…or that guy with no shirt and a big “D” on his chest at football games?

We would obviously do ourselves a great disservice if we took any of these opinions to heart. These opinions have so little to do with our true selves and what our lives are really all about.

Unfortunately, the less we understand who our true selves are the more we get caught up in the distortions of other people’s opinion. By identifying the three levels of our self-concept we can prevent that loss and give ourselves the confidence we need to succeed in our goals.

Make a list of all the labels others associate with your identity.

Only we can personally identify what’s in our heart, mind and spirit. What motives direct us to utilize our talents and abilities? If we are to overcome obstacles in our way then we need the passion necessary to hold on and work through the tough times.

That passion is routed in our true self-concept and not by fulfilling someone else’s expectations of us or believing their limitations of our abilities or potential.

It comes from knowing that our involvement and commitment is due to our emotional and possibly spiritual attachment to the process or outcome.

The sorting can seem complicated but not when we take it step by step. The more complicated it seems the more necessary to get it done.

What we are doing is heightening the awareness of who we are about to a more conscious level. The information we identify is the knowledge we need to point us in the right direction or confirm the path we may already be traveling. The confirmation of a path is a powerful way to supercharge our energy and creativity. It gives us permission to make the commitments necessary to take the quality of our situation to the next level. By doing so, we lose the ambiguity that may have caused hesitation or procrastination.

As we elevate our conscious awareness of our true self our confidence and self-direction will also improve. We become less vulnerable to other people’s judgments or opinions. We can more easily determine if their opinions are coming from ignorance or revelation.

Create a journal of your self-concept. Go into each area of your life and write out your dreams, goals, values, priorities and life plans.

The clearer these ideas become the stronger you will feel about who you are and what your life is all about. You know you have it right when the person you’re reading about is you.

Choose a Power Partner to follow up with to commit to doing these exercises.