We have all done it -- passed judgment on others or ourselvesbased on the biases we have adopted over a lifetime. We judge others, both privately and publicly; but most of all, we judge ourselves and hold grudges that shape the way we move forward in life due to inherited beliefs.
I did not consider the effect of judgment until I facilitated an HR leadership workshop, where we conducted blind CV studies to identify on-boarding issues in the c-suite. While going through the training, my team created mock scenarios with random photos, addresses and names of potential candidates; subsequently, the issue of judgment began to surface. The participants expressed shame and embarrassment after pre-judging the talent pool.
Whether it is judging others, yourself, or feeling judged; the acknowledgement of the feeling will shift your mindset. According to a study conducted by Jonathan Freeman, an assistant professor in New York University's Department of Psychology, "the brain automatically responds to a face's trustworthiness before it is even consciously perceived." He also adds, "we form spontaneous judgments of other people that can be largely outside awareness."
New York Times Bestselling Author, Gabby Bernstein, defines judgment in her most recent book, The Judgment Detox, as "the separation of oneness and the truth within us." She also states that "judgment is a signal of a wound that needs to be healed."
A larger part of the narrative is -- Does judgment impact our success? What does it cost to hold on to your own beliefs? There are four ways that holding on to judgment may be holding you back from achieving radical success and the methods for you to hold yourself accountable.
Judgment leaves clues.
Gabby Bernstein states in her book, "awareness is the key to healing judgment." It is imperative that you become aware of the factors that affect your judgment, and confront it. In addition, avoid the obvious triggers that create reactive responses. Triggers are feelings that cause reactive and judgmental behaviors. Powerful leaders are rarely reactive.
Solution: Limit and/or avoid the triggers that endorse judgment in your life that are within your control. We all know the factors that create specific reactions. For example, if you have a colleague, who always leaves you feeling negative, re-evaluate the significance of the relationship.
Judgment separates you from your goals .
The more time you spend judging the world and others, the less time you are spending achieving greater goals. Think of it this way, have you ever judged other people in meetings? Have you ever passed judgment on people who are walking down the street? The thought will separate you from your success.
Growing up in New York City, there were specific neighborhoods that were considered "uninhabitable" by today's standards. I avoided the risks and would not take a chance and travel, much less attend meetings, there. I will admit, I was afraid to venture into those areas. However, today, those same communities are bustling with luxurious high rises, new shops, and ultimately the heart of the economic boom in the city. It was judgment that created my inner skeptic, where others viewed the opportunity and took risks.
Solution: Become self aware of the limiting beliefs that you may be feeling and how it is limiting you from taking risks.
Judgment is optional.
Judgment is also a defense mechanism as a result of being judged. For example, have you ever noticed someone staring at you on the street or in a meeting, and your automatic thought or response is, "what are they looking at?" Rather than believing that they are admiring you, your trigger begins to create a narrative that staring is a negative action of being judged, so you react.
Bernstein states, "I choose not to a victim of the world I see." Make the decision to ignore your reactive approach to judgment. Successful leaders must remain unbiased in order to be effective when making decisions.
Solution: Remind yourself that judgment is optional and does not require a reaction.
Judgment creates limitations
The more you judge others, the less likely you are to allow yourself to be present in environments where you believe you will be judged. Successful leaders face unsolicited judgment constantly. By avoiding opportunities due to self inflicted judgment, you will limit your success.
My average day is spent in rooms that rarely adhere to my comfort level. Recently, I gave a keynote talk at a convention to an audience of 200 powerful executive level men on confidence and women in the workplace. There was a huge feeling of discomfort, and for a moment, I began to think about the power of being the only woman in the room. However, it was my own self-judgment that was causing discomfort by endorsing the belief that I was being judged, but it was far from the truth.
Solution: The moment you stop judging yourself, you eliminate the limitations on your own success. How you view yourself is the most important element of success.