Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Lately, I’ve been having conversations about the filters we use in processing information.

It started with discussing the filters one needs to evaluate content for a website. If you don’t understand the goals of the site, then acceptance/rejection of content is random. It is good governance to have filters/criteria.

So why doesn’t it work that way when we think about how we filter information for ourselves?

On the surface it does… not a parent? Tune out the parenting advice in your coffee klatch. Not interested in golf? Not participating in social media? Filter out the commentary (maybe keep the good jokes?) We do know what we want (in general) and our interests. Good filters to have.

It breaks down when it comes to mentoring. Our filters can get in the way of listening (for both mentor and mentoree).

We all have treasured self-mythology that acts as a filter – (I am a… single parent/ good friend/ conscientious manager/ b-movie junkie/ haphazard daughter) – the stories we tell ourselves we feel define who we are. Information and advice that doesn’t fit easily into our self-parameters is sometimes discarded.

Sometimes it’s worth revisiting your filters – especially if you’re hearing information that surprises you (good or bad).

Recently, a good friend who is also a fabulous peer mentor sat me down firmly and pointed out that I had been short-selling my abilities due to the fact that I was not acknowledging my own recent growth. (She’d tried to tell me gently but I hadn’t listened) I had to rethink how I was packaging myself in the corporate world with her *new information.

On the flip side, my son gently had me revisit my conviction that I’m a great mom when I pushed a joke on him too far publicly.

I’m obviously far from my goal of being perfect.

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