Making Sense of the Self Awareness Exercises
How do you sort out all the career ideas that may have been emerging from the work you have done so far? What is next step that will enable you to narrow down your focus?
Hopefully you will have done a lot of thinking about yourself by working through the exercises elsewhere on this site.
- You will have reviewed what you have gained from your experience of work to date.
- You will know more about your skills, values. and personal style.
- And you will have given some thought to what you really want.
- The results of this will be tucked away in your Career Change Project File.
So how do you make some sense of all this?
There are two steps you need to take here. Take your time with these so you can really focus on the key learning points for you.
You will probably find both of them easier to work through with your Career Change Buddy so arrange a time when you can meet to discuss your emerging career ideas.
Your Career Identity
First of all, take some time to review all the work you have done on understanding yourself through the self assessment guidelines on other pages. What have you learned about yourself? What is the Career Identity that is emerging from these exercises? The career ideas that are right for you will be firmly rooted in this Career Identity.
To build up a picture of your Career Identity, go back to the exercises you have done in the Who Am I , Where Am I and What Do I Want sections. Consider each exercise in turn and make a note of what the key insights are for you from that exercise.
You will probably find that some of the insights you have gained are more significant to you than others. If some things feel particularly important to you, ask yourself – what is it that makes these things so special to me?
Once you have done this, take a sheet of paper and draw a mind map to capture your ideas. Something like this…
Jot down the insights you have identified on the ‘arms’ of the mind map, leaving the centre circle clear.
Then stand back from it and look at the overall message that you can glean from all of these insights. Complete the ‘Work Identity’ circle in the middle by asking yourself the following questions:
- What does all this mean for me and for the work that will be right for me?
- What does this show me that I really want from my work?
Keep your mind open at this stage and watch out for any temptation to limit your vision. Try and summarise your Career Identity in 5 – 6 key points.
Your Career Ideas Log
You should ideally have at least 30 ideas, themes, concepts collected by now. If not, use your Career Change Buddy to help you to brainstorm ideas. Look at your Career Identity information first and then just allow ideas and themes to emerge. As before, keep an open mind at this stage.
With the ideas about your Career Identity in mind, look through everything you have collected in your Career Ideas Log and investigate what work themes emerge. These still do not have to be specific job titles at this stage.
Stay with the big picture. So you may come up with things like the natural environment, caring for others, Latin America, dance etc..
To help these themes emerge, look in turn at all the items you have collected and ask yourself:
- What appeals to me about this item?
- If my job included this, what would it give me?
- Why is this important to me?
Again, your Career Change Buddy will be a great help to you in exploring what the core themes are for you.
Once you have done this, try and prioritise the themes. Look at them in pairs and ask ‘if I could only have one of these, which would be more important?’ In this way, the order of importance of these themes to you will gradually emerge. Make a note of the top three or four for the next exercise.
Creating a Spectrum of Possibilities
This exercise is a great tool for career planning for the future. It will help you pull together the ideas that you have drawn from the work you have already done and will assist you in coming up with one or two really strong career ideas that you can take forward and research in detail.