The Invisible You


Tolerance and understanding are cornerstones of effective diplomacy. Armed with the right self-knowledge, we can better achieve error avoidance in our dealings with others, and we can formulate great life choices. Without self-knowledge, we become a liability. We lack knowledge of whatever effect we have on others, and we may project an image that is dangerous or lacking in confidence.

True leadership begins with leading yourself. The most empathetic practitioner has excellent self-knowledge. The best diplomat has a deep understanding of who he or she is, and exactly what he or she believes in. Knowing just how you project yourself, and your values, strengths, motives and desires allows you to be proactive in your choices and how well you can lead others.

Kofi Annan, arguably one of the most inspiring leaders in international relations, once told himself: “Follow your own inner compass, listen to your own drummer. To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are, what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to go there.”

The most valuable aspect of self-awareness is that its benefits reach far beyond you. The more adept you become at motivating yourself, the more adept you will be at sensing what motivates others.

How we interpret the world deeply influences our character, and how we think of others. From the fight-or-flight point of view, when we notice someone has a different interpretation, we register that as a threat. We become defensive, suspicious and distrusting. This reaction can ruin diplomacy.

Subconsciously, we make most of our daily decisions via habits and accumulated triggers. Finding common ground without placing blame or judgments is crucial in the operations of international relations. As diplomats, we must become comfortable acknowledging other people’s filters. However, before we start to understand others, we must thoroughly know ourselves.

In that journey we must develop self-knowledge that challenges our critical thinking, our understanding and view of the world. We must define exactly what motivates us. We must see how our interpretation of the world influences our character. We must see how our thoughts affect our actions. We must see how our actions affect others.

“Know Thyself” is a dedicated resource to help you think critically about your various identities, particularly in how you see your successes, abilities and relationships to others. By the end of the chapter, you will better understand how you form opinions, why you think certain ways, and how your external projections can either positively or negatively impact others. At any time you feel lost or require further help in discovering your personal identities and shortages, you can always choose to take up Diplomatic Career Coaching with us where you will be given one-to-one personalised and tailoured coaching to suit your needs and schedule.

Don’t forget, that as a member of the Grassroot Diplomat Online Academy, you are provided with a discount for any of our training and coaching. Use the code: COACHME at the checkout.