Self awareness is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your values. Self awareness allows us to see things from the perspectives of others or allows us to better understand the people around us. Self aware people are familiar with analysing their own thoughts and feelings. When you are self aware it helps you to create achievable goals because you consider your strengths, weaknesses and what drives you when setting a goal.
Our ability to achieve a goal or complete a task depends on if we believe we can do it, and if we think it will have good results. We call this self-efficacy. Someone with high levels of self-efficacy for a specific task will be more resilient and persistent when something goes wrong. Someone with a low level of self-efficacy for a specific thing will avoid the situation. For example, someone with a lower level of self-efficacy for using digital tools will perhaps experiment less with the different helping apps on a phone then someone with a higher self-efficacy for using digital tools.
How we build self-efficacy
Self efficacy is informed by several main sources of information:
- personal experience; when you have successfully done something before, it is easier to believe you can do it again
- observation; when we see someone else achieving a task, it is easier to believe you can do it also
- Persuasion; sometimes other people try to increase your self-efficacy by offering support and encouragement
- Emotion; fear and anxiety can undermine your feeling of self-efficacy. On the other hand, positive emotions like wanting something really much can generate greater feelings of self efficacy.
Within this learning activity you can work on developing more self awareness and build self-efficacy. Via this activity you can work on recognition and acknowledgement of the following:
- I can describe my needs, wants, interests and goals.
- I can identify things I am good at and things I am not good at.
- I believe in my ability to achieve what I intend to.
- I can describe which qualities and abilities are needed for different jobs, and which of these qualities and abilities I have.
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is one of the best known theories in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid.
Watch this YouTube video about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. You can also observe the image below, if it serves you better.
How to identify what you are good at
Being good at something means that you know a lot about something and that you are good at something. Your skills and qualities are at least as important as the knowledge you have acquired. Skills are things you can do well. How you are doing something in practice. You can teach yourself skills. It goes faster if you already have some talent for it. How well you master a skill should be measured by the results of your actions. For example, do you want to develop your leadership skills? Then you can become chairman of your football club or editor-in-chief of a sustainability website. If you notice that your team members finish their work on time and stay motivated, you may have some leadership skills.
- Who am I? There are many ways to discover who you are, one of them is asking yourself questions, like what do I like to do? Where am I proud? When do you notice stress in yourself? What did you do when you could not fail? Who inspires you? What do you want your life to look like in about a year?
- Know what gives you energy, it is very important that you do things that give you energy.
- Know what costs you too much energy, perhaps a friend or colleague, or your job? When you realise what is out of balance, find a solution to cope with it.
- What are your competences? There are different ways to get to know your competences, online you can find lists with examples of competences. When you open such a list you can check which ones fit you. There are also card games which can help you, perhaps play it with someone else and learn from it?
- What are your pitfalls? Pitfalls are things that you are not that good at. Online you can find pitfall lists that you can use to check yours.
- Test on the Internet, there are many tests online that can support you in discovering which talents or competences you have.
- Ask others, when you ask others you will get a broader view of who you are. Perhaps you even learn things about yourself that you were not aware of yet?
- Diplomas, what kind of diplomas and certificates do you already have? By checking these diplomas and certificates, you see what you already have achieved.
- Compliments, everybody receives compliments, perhaps you are not always receiving them consciously. Write down the compliments you received from others and grow your self esteem.
The feeling of uncertainty is something we all might experience. There are many techniques to tackle this negative feeling. When we master uncertainty, we can expand our mental capabilities and have the energy to fully commit to new ideas and actions, hence increasing our entrepreneurial capacities.
The secret to overcome uncertainty is the growth mindset and a bit of willingness to take risks. One technique you can use is Attentional Training (AT), which builds creativity and psychological power. AT is linked to strengthening focus and attention, which can help you in both your personal and professional life.
You and your career skills
There are a few skills that are currently in high demand across all industries and in every position. They are called the 21st Century Skills. They refer to knowledge, life skills, career skills, habits and traits. Examples of 21st Century skills are problem solving, critical thinking, flexibility, leadership, creativity, technology literacy, and many many more. Why are these 21st Century skills important? Because they lay a foundation for lifelong learning. Which is necessary in our fast changing society. Changes are happening fast due to technological and digital innovations. So you need to keep up with the innovations that are important for your career. And to do this you need learning skills and curiosity. In many career opportunities you need to play different roles. So emphasise these 21st Century Skills when applying for a job or an entrepreneurial opportunity.
When following the micro-learning activities based on the above skills you can earn your Self-awareness and self-efficacy, Needing and Wanting and Uncertainty tackler badges.