Know thyself is advice that is as old as time itself. Speaking from experience, the most common reaction to the suggestion that someone gets to know themselves is I already know myself. However, it is possibly the most difficult things a person can do because it means looking at ourselves in a different light.

During your discussion with your Career Support Consultant, we will only be exploring this topic to the level that you are comfortable with. However it is actually something that you can start thinking about immediately, and then use the discussion to address anything that comes up for you during the process.

There are a number of components to knowing ourselves that are worth contemplating…

Character & Self-Identity

‘Who am I?’. This is not an easy question to answer, because at any given moment we play various roles. We are a brother, a daughter, a boss, a successful entrepreneur, someone who has just lost their job! The thing is, these are merely roles that we play. We are more than any one of these things. The more we get ‘stuck’ on associating our identity with a particular role, the more it hurts when that identity is stripped away from us.

Our suggestion is to, as much as possible, avoid feeling like your character and self-identity is too tightly bound to your work. Sure work and career can be important to many of us, but it is just one aspect of life. You are way more than your role at work, and understanding this can go a long way to strengthening your character in the face of adversity.

Skills & Capabilities

What am I good at? What do I like doing? What don’t I like doing? Why? These are all questions that are worth reflecting on because it might help to highlight what sort of role you are really looking for. We know some people who have been in Leadership positions who actually didn’t really want to be managing other people but liked to be hands on. We know people where the opposite is true. Finding yourself in a role that you simply don’t want to do is going to be difficult to maintain.

We find that even if someone isn’t particularly good at something, if they really want to improve their skills, they generally will. Make a list of skills and capabilities that have been required in your recent roles, and then start to explore whether you like doing these things and why. You will be surprised with what you discover.

Goals & Desires

We all have things we want to achieve, and places we want to go. It is one one of the many interesting parts of our human experience. We think that having goals is important, as long as they don’t develop into an unhealthy attachment. For example, let’s say that I want to get a promotion, but to do so I start working 18 hours a day and therefore start forgetting about my family responsibilities. The attachment to my goal is blinding me to the impacts on other parts of my life, which is going to create problems at some point.

Take a moment or two to think about your career goals and desires for your next role. Why are these things important to you? What impacts are they likely to have on other things? Have these goals changed recently?