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Self Assess

"Know thyself"
Inscribed at the entrance of the ancient Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi

To make a good career choice it is essential to have a clear awareness of yourself. This is the crucial foundation to career success and a happy life that many people pay far too little attention to.

Who are you? What do you have to offer others? What do you want from life in return? You need to do whatever you can to assess yourself and take stock of a number of factors.

The key to this step is to be willing to ask yourself questions and keep asking as life  unfolds. As you do this, pay particular attention to anything which hints of your purpose and passion for they are the essence of your internal career compass.

Consider fundamental questions such as your minimum requirements regarding:

  • Money (how much a year do you need to survive in the early stages of a career change... and how much do you want down the track)?
  • Where do you want to work geographically (list your preferences in rank order)?
  • Your relationships and family (any limitations or important factors to remember)? For example, what will work for your partner and children?
  • Health (any limitations or factors)? 

Also consider these deeper questions which ultimately can be central to your well-being:

  • What do you enjoy most?
  • What need do you see in society that you could address?
  • If you knew you were going to die in 10 years time what would you feel best about having done in the mean time?

Strengths Feedback Exercise   

Choose two or three people you respect and who know you fairly well. At least one should be from your office.

Tell them you are gathering feedback to help you evaluate your career direction and set up a meeting. If a face-to-face meeting is difficult, a phone call or email connection with them may be enough.

Ask each of them the same three questions and record their answers

1.  What do you see as my natural strengths?

Person 1 Response:

 

Person 2 Response:

 

Person 3 Response:

 

2.  What do you think are my best skills?

Person 1 Response:

  

Person 2 Response:

 

Person 3 Response:

 

3.  What kind of things could you see me doing well in the future?

Person 1 Response:

  

Person 2 Response:

 

Person 3 Response:

 

Note: Sometimes the responses you get will be very valuable in helping you to see “blind spots” about yourself that you were unaware of. For example, you may not have realized that other people consider you to have an unusual ability to focus on computer work for long hours or to handle difficult people when they get upset.

The one possible downside to this exercise is that sometimes our co-workers and friends can only see us in our past roles and this limits what they can see for us in the future. People who know us can help or hinder us in imagining a new future for ourselves.

Pay attention to their feedback but consider carefully before letting them steal your dreams. They should be helping you uncover new dreams if they aren’t supporting your existing ones.

For further self assessment help see The Complete Career Change Kit on the home page. It contains 9 self assessment exercises

Your Current Career Influences, Your Emotional State, Your Basic Requirements, Strengths Feedback Check (see above), Life Areas Check, Your Perceived Career Success Constraints, Your Work Values, Your Occupational Interests, and Your Natural Abilities, Learn Skills, and Knowledge Areas... plus free access to online Interests and Personality Profiling.



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