Do a ‘Selfie’ to improve your Self

How often do you take selfies whilst on holiday and out with friends? We are constantly portraying ourselves from the outside, but how often do we look beyond what is on the surface and think about our inner selves? This week I ran a webinar on personal effectiveness and how we can adapt to, and harness, situations and events (bad and good) to our advantage.

At the core of personal effectiveness is a whole range of self attributes and attitudes that can help to empower you in your personal and professional lives. Here, are three “selfies” to get you started:

“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another.”, Ernest Hemingway

How well do you know yourself? What are your greatest strengths and how do you make use of them in your personal and work life? Where do your weaknesses and blind spots lie and how have you tried to off-set them? What skills and abilities would you like to use most in your future career and in which type of organisation? How do you like to interact with others and what are your preferred ways of working?

Learning about yourself is not an easy process – sometimes we are less aware of ourselves than those around us, who know us well. You can improve your self-awareness through professional career coaching, attending courses, engaging with meditation and mindfulness, completing questionnaires, speaking with friends and colleagues or doing a personal audit of your own using a reflective log, for example. When you’re applying for jobs, you’ll need to explain why you are interested in a particular role and organisation when you attend interviews, and some companies may ask you to undertake a psychometric assessment. For more information on self-awareness see my previous blog: Mind your career

“Mastering others is strength; mastering oneself is true power.”, Lao Tsu.

It’s hard to separate self-awareness from self-leadership, which also incorporates self-management, time management, emotional intelligence, professionalism, integrity and personal growth. It’s a lot to think about, but fundamentally it requires you to be mindful about the way you behave: Treat others with respect; keep your word; be proactive and take responsibility for your actions; understand and manage your emotions; mentor and empower those less experienced than yourself; show empathy and understanding; be honest and act with integrity; be productive with your time and learn to negotiate with others to reach mutually beneficial decisions. See my previous blog for more information: Don’t plead for your career, take the lead

“Income seldom exceeds personal development.”, Jim Rohn

It was back in 1976 that Douglas T. Hall first introduced the concept of the “Protean career”- “a career orientation in which the person, not the organization, is in charge, where the person’s core values are driving career decisions, and where the main success criteria are subjective.” This means being self-reliant, directing your own career and taking responsibility for your career decisions. The graph opposite reveals the results of a survey in which research group leaders (PIs) indicated the relative importance of areas of their role, as well as their confidence in carrying them through. Unsurprisingly, career development was at the lower end of their priorities – this is not surprising since they have a lot to think about and have little knowledge of non-academic careers.

You can take control of your career by identifying areas for your own personal and professional development. You can ask for support from career professionals such as myself or careers advisers that reside in your own institution. Career workshops, conferences, job fairs and other events help you to consider other career areas, put you in contact with professionals in your fields of interest and help you to reflect on your strengths, skills, interests and personality. Which, means increasing your self-awareness … bringing us full circle.

For more information on career development use my website – I write a new blog each month and also have lots of resources to help you with your career planning and development. Follow me on social media and use LinkedIn, Twitter, Researchgate and other on-line platforms to meet other people and find out about news and information that could help you to grow your career.

The learning never stops and neither should you ?

Leave a Reply