The better we know ourselves, the better it is for both our careers and our lives in general. Once we get to know ourselves, we get to know our strengths and therefore get better at using them. Being able to use our strengths on a daily basis at work is a confidence-booster in itself but just knowing that you know yourself well will also give you the confident aura every professional needs in the workplace.
A good starting point is to take advantage of the many resources out there for helping people to identify their strengths. For example, taking an online personality test can help you find the ideal role or working style for your particular character traits. There are also books, videos, CDs and other tools that we can use to work out what makes us tick and where we should be spending our energies.
Certain people in our lives may claim to know us better than we know ourselves and from a certain perspective they may actually be right. It can be hard for us to turn off the inner critic long enough to see our qualities and talents. It’s much easier for an outsider observing us to point out what we’re good at. In times of low confidence, instead of believing and accepting the distorted, negative view of ourselves that we have, we should seek to reach out to people who will give us objective and constructive feedback on who they see us as. Listening to someone say positive things about you and realising, perhaps for the first time ever, that these things are true not only improves your confidence levels but can also encourage you to get to know yourself better through a process of self-befriending.
We can not only get feedback from personal contacts who’ve known us for a long time but also by enlisting the services of a career coach specifically for the purpose of building a coaching relationship that allows us to explore our own professional identities under the watchful eye of a career professional. If you do decide to hire a coach, be clear from the outset about what you want out of the set-up, both in terms of your career development and of your pursuit of self-knowledge.
Once others have drawn your attention to just how valuable you really are, you may be in a better position to assess your asset base for yourself. Look back on your achievements throughout your life. Reflect on your credentials, your accomplishments and the situations in which you’ve made a real impact. You can dig deep into both your personal and professional life for this exercise; at the end of the day you’re seeking a complete view of yourself. What does what you’ve achieved tell you about who you are? How have your achievements shaped who you are, and how did who you are help you to achieve what you have?
Getting to know yourself and your strengths is not something that can be done all in one go and then finished as a process forever. The kind of self-discovery that leads to self-confidence is a life-long journey punctuated with check-points along the way. Check in regularly with yourself throughout your career and life to take stock of who you are and where you’re at. After all, we all change and grow as humans throughout our lives, so to know yourself better you have to be consistent in your level of self-awareness.
The process of self-knowledge doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There will always be good or bad times in our life and if we’re willing to learn from our triumphs and failures alike, we will learn a lot about ourselves based on how we respond to different situations and contexts. Every time you go through something significant in your life and actually take the time and effort to process your emotions, you come to know yourself a little bit better than before.
Knowing yourself is not just about observing yourself but also about observing how you interact with others. By taking note of how you behave around the different people in your life and how each person makes you feel and why, you can end up finding out a lot about who you are. Although we’re not defined by the people around us, our personal and professional relationships do give us insight into whom we’ve been shaped to become.
If you’d like to find out more about knowing yourself and your strengths, then contact us for a free consultation.