The Mirror Test: A Pattern of Responsibility

The Mirror Test: A Pattern of Responsibility

By Ian Clawson and Chris Deaver

Data gives us a snapshot of the past.

Creativity can imagine the future.

Principles can influence the present.

With the BraveCore method, we focus on patterns of the future. First, we Lead with Questions to activate the patterns of life and work. Patterns that become a foundation at our core, strengthen our relationships, and set us on a trajectory for the future. 

The Mirror Test can help in the discovery of first principles for an organization, however their origin stems from the leaders and people that are leaning into the future. These values are then shared and pursued by a diverse group of people that become purpose driven together. This is not a mission statement exercise that collects dust on the wall, these principles must be embodied by the culture to manifest the ideal future. 

An experience like this can accelerate co-creative innovation of products and services to create lasting growth. Effective co-creation starts with intentional core-creation. 

What gives shape to your thoughts? How do you see yourself in the world?

This pattern can be helpful for an individual and/or the collective. To understand the Past, Future, and Present: a synthesis is required. 

The Mirror Test is about designing an active wrestle between the Real vs Ideal versions of ourselves. People that only dream tend to ignore reality, and never achieve their dreams. Some are stuck in their past and entangled in their reality to the point where they no longer dream or are afraid to make the necessary changes to reach their ideal self. To become the future, we must face reality. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

It starts by asking ourselves the questions: Are you trying to manage an image? Or are you looking to build up your future identity?

Many people travel the world trying to find themselves when all they need to do is be brave enough to go deep inside their soul. To understand their reality. The best place to seek a complete lifestyle change is internal. You must go within to figure out the necessary changes needed to set you on a better path. Those who change lives or change the world always start by changing the world from within.

This requires deep work. By doing so, it creates lasting change that can expand work opportunities and shape a more meaningful life, while transforming relationships. The true mirror test is when we stop looking for someone to change our circumstances, and we can take responsibility. Become the change. 

Most people focus on trying to make the ideal; real. 

Yet experience has shown us that the way to make progress is by making the real more ideal. What’s right in front of you? How can you embrace a pattern of responsibility?

What does a mirror test look like for you?

Past – At the back of your head and heart, what is something you would still like to achieve in your life? What first principles have worked in your past? Can you build off them? What negative stories or thoughts do you continue to tell yourself that are holding you back? Can you rewrite this story?

Future – Imagine 10 years from now, in your future. What do you see? What do you feel? To achieve that, what are the biggest things you need to sacrifice? What do you need to let go of? Which new principles are you embracing the most to be aligned with this future? What lessons can you learn from this future? What are your hopes and dreams for others? How will your purpose bring that to life? How do you see things coming together in your future?

Present – What is your greatest pain that stands in the way each day of becoming your future? Where is your struggle? What’s plagues your mind? Notice your daily routine. What gives you energy? What are you excited to work on? What activities are distractions or time wasters? Who inspires you? How can you be more inspiring? 

Can you combine these focus areas into one synthesis instead of remaining stuck in just one of these?

Ultimately the mirror test is an experience that reminds us to be responsible. To not be a victim and to not blame others.

What can you do better? How can you make the gap between the Real and the Ideal become a blueprint to move forward? Think how you can break up your decisions into intentional actions that build on principles, purpose, and passion for shaping a beautiful future with others.

The deep work tied to core-creation can unlock the following sequence of growth and a mindset shift:

Self-awareness leads to self-care… that turns into self-love… which helps you understand self-worth.

How do you develop a selfless character? The Mirror is key. Starting with deep reflection, deep focus on what you can do, who you can be, and how you can think in different ways to create different outcomes. 

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. It’s your preview to life’s coming attractions.” – Albert Einstein

As you continue to utilize the mirror test in your life, here are the ways you can make personal responsibility a continual pattern:

What should you do?

Should = Value System

What do you value? This makes up your moral compass and beliefs. Why do you do what you do? What boundaries are in place? What principles guide the direction you are heading or the pursuits you have? Now shift your thinking… what should you value to progress toward the person you want to become and achieve the things you are aiming for?

What could you do?

Could = Capabilities

Start with what you can do. What are your current skills and talents? Now shift your thinking to what you could do differently. What skills or knowledge could you improve upon or add to your capabilities?

What will you do?

Would = Will Power

What have you done? What is holding you back? What will you actually do? Maybe it’s time to address your surface level excuses. Go deeper. Be brave. Now shift your thinking… what would you do to achieve different outcomes? What are you willing to sacrifice?

Learn more about The Mirror Test and other co-creative patterns with BraveCore.Ian Clawson and Chris Deaver are cofounders of BraveCore, a leadership consultancy that’s shaping the future by helping leaders be more creative and creatives be better leaders.

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