Personal Development: The art of being self aware

In today’s highly competitive business environment employers are increasingly aware of the importance of investing in their employees. A multi skilled, motivated workforce can help the organisation realise its goals and ambitions. However, you also have responsibility for managing your own development. You may feel the need to renew your skills, or at least learn something new. Personal development is a lifelong process of shaping and improving skills and knowledge throughout your working life in order to achieve your goals.

When did you last consider: Where you are now? Where do you want to go / and how might you get there?

People learn in different ways – classroom-based learning isn’t for everyone. Sometimes the vocational approach pays benefits. Ever heard of something called Learning Styles? These styles help you determine your learning preference. Some people prefer to read around a topic and reflect, others prefer to actively engage in something and learn ‘on the job’. Others find it easier to learn things they see as relevant and of immediate use.

When we learn we can gain knowledge, skills or insights depending on the topic and the learning method. There are many methods of learning: qualification-based courses, workshops, shadowing, coaching and mentoring, self-directed learning through books or internet media. Knowing your learning style preference makes learning more effective. An auditory learner, for example, with an activist learning preference may not find reading a book an effective method of learning. Some people enrol on distance learning courses then withdraw part way through as they lack the motivation to study alone.

Developing self-awareness is a key aspect of self-development. Author Daniel Goleman believes that developing self-awareness and other aspects of emotional competence is directly linked to outstanding performance as a manager.

When did you last consider your strengths and weaknesses and the career opportunities and threats you face? Be honest with yourself. Match your conclusions against your goals or desired job role. Where are the gaps? How can you address those gaps? What learning opportunities are available to you?

Take responsibility for your own personal development. It’s your career.

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