Best Self

How The World Sees You

What It Is

The Reflective Best Self - is a tool used to frame what others perceive to be your truest strengths. You will be able to glean some new information about how others see you, and effectively incorporate these strengths with how you perceive yourself. Ultimately, painting a version of your best you, on your best day. While there are many examples for incorporating the RBS, for this module - the majority of the information will be taken from the 2005 article published in the Harvard Business Review (HBR, 2005).

Through the RBS process - we discover our strengths through the eyes of those who know us. Placing emphasis on the STRENGTHS, as we have a natural tendency to zero-in on criticism  

"Multiple studies have shown that people pay keen attention to negative information"


"Used correctly, the RBS exercise can help you tap into unrecognized and unexplored areas of potential. Armed with a constructive, systematic process for gathering and analyzing data about your best self, you can burnish your performance..." (HBR, 2005)


The Theory

RBS is faceted under the psychological focus area: Positive Organization Scholarship (POS). The authors, Cameron, K.S., Dutton, J.E., and Quinn, R.E., central tenet to POS is how the “desire to improve the human condition is universal and that the capacity to do so is latent in most systems” (Cameron et al., 2003, p. 11)

The focus areas of POS include:

Developing strengths and resilience
Creating meaning and purpose
Developing positive relationships
Building positive emotions


The Process

Step One: Identify up to 10 Respondents and Ask for Feedback About your STRENGTHS, only Solicit feedback from those who know you best -- family, friends, teachers and colleagues. Ask these individuals to provide information about your strengths - only, including specific examples of ways in which you used these strengths that were meaningful to them. You may be uncomfortable asking exclusively for positive feedback, but remember that the exercise will help you improve your ability to be the best you.

Step Two: Perform analysis of the individual bits of feedback you received, and an aggregate review of the recurring themes. PDF example.

Step Three: Compose Your Self-Portrait. 

The next step is to write a description of yourself that summarizes and distills the accumulated information. The description should weave themes from the feedback together with your self-observations into a composite of who you are at your best. The self-portrait is not designed to be a complete psychological and cognitive profile. Rather, it should be an insightful image that you can use as a reminder of your previous contributions and as a guide for future action. The portrait itself should not be a set of bullet points but rather a prose composition beginning with the phrase, "When I am at my best, I…" (HBR, 2005)

Step Four:  Take what you have learned about yourself at your best and think about how you can be your best more often. Look at each of your strengths and consider how an over reliance on that strength could become a fatal flaw. For example: people find you to be confident, a fatal flaw could be Over-Confidence/Cockiness. Utilize your personality trait results from the last section to assist in building your plan towards bolstering your strengths. (Casey Fenton, 2005)

What's Next?

Next we will be diving into your Emotional IQ and Empathy - so know that you know your strengths, we can learn how to best interweave them with others.

Find Your Emotional IQ Here:


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