Image Description

Your Interests, Education, Exposures, Experiences, Natural Resources, and Developmental Gaps

Lesson 6 on "Connecting the many pieces of the puzzle of you" is all about exploring your interests, your uniqueness factors, your education, your exposures, experiences, natural resources, and your developmental gaps.

We'll explore first of all your Interests. What you want to do is to leverage the fun and excitement dimensions in your life with the distinct characteristics that make you the individual you are and how your interests best contribute to your organization or your life.

What is and has been simple fun that provides you with an excitement dimension? You will have to define first how you define excitement. Begin by considering the young you. What courses, sports, activities did you like best and which ones did you perform fairly well during Grade School, High School, College, or other educational or recreational opportunities that you had?

Then, assess the now you, the one at work, and also look at the ones when you're not at work. Ask yourself:

  • What am I doing when I see myself accomplishing my best achievements?

  • Which activities, duties, factors, or responsibilities are so enjoyable for me that I want them as key parts of my ideal job?

  • What activities give me the most pleasure when I am away from my job? Did I engage for business reasons or because it was simply fun?

  • Where or how are you experiencing your time, energy, and/or money when you are away from your work?

  • Which business or professional-related books, magazines, podcasts or videos do you invest your time in order to keep up-to-date?

  • Which same things do you spend time or invest money in for simply enjoyment reasons?

  • Which community, business, professional, social, or other organizations do you belong to or have you belonged to?

  • And, which of these experiences give you the greatest pleasure and why is that?

  • Describe people you seek out either in the work environment or away from it and why do you seek them out?

Then consider your unique factors. These are the distinct characteristics that make you who you are and how your uniqueness best contributes to your organization. What are those skills and traits do you share with others in your field? And, what skills and traits do you have that are very different from others in your organization or field?

Next, record your formal or informal education if you haven't already done so. You want to maintain an ongoing list of all your professional and personal development. For example, this course. What learning opportunities have molded your thinking processes to be what it is today? The formal learning opportunities that contribute to who you are today are very important to keep track of.

Factor in your formal education background while in private or public schools, the Levels completed, any Degrees or Certifications, Major and Minor areas of study, Institutions attended, the dates when completed. Consider additional formal learning opportunities you have had including seminars, workshops, non-credit classes – anything that contributed to you learning more.

Think also about any informal learning that has been significant to you. This includes books, magazines, audio and videotapes, podcasts, shadowing, and mentoring experiences. All of these provide you with personal and/or professional growth.

Then, which professional affiliations do you or have you belonged to that have provided you with exposure to something new?

What are those community activities that you participated in and committed your time and energy, and perhaps in cases even money? What places have you been and where have you traveled, what have you seen and done in life?

Which cultural groups and ethnic associations have you interacted with? Do you speak a foreign language? What involvement do you have or have you had in clubs, organizations, or any kind of group? Have you been or are you involved in a formalized religion? Have you been or are you involved with political parties or causes? Do you have any Military history? What has made life a little more interesting because of the exposure you've had?

Then look at your experiences. they are a little bit different than your exposures. Experiences are those bitter and sweet things that have occurred in my life that contribute to making you, you?

Is there anything that has gone on in your life that might be considered unusual?

Was there any notable, unpleasant event in your life that required you to regroup and do life differently because of it? Did you subsequently acquire new skills?

Have you ever had to face any kind of loss in your life? Were there any new skills you developed from the process of dealing with loss?

What kinds of good changes have you experienced in the past? How did these good changes affect the way you needed to approach your world? Were you challenged then to acquire new skills?

Next, take the time to check out your natural resources. People rarely do it and they rarely talk about it. These are the things that work for and against you by virtue of the way you look, sound, or smell. It may sound trivial to focus on these things, but it really isn't.

Are you at a point in your life that you have made peace with your height and weight? Is there anything that you can and/or want to do to improve your appearance? Do you have any reason to reconsider your attention to personal hygiene issues? Do you wear appropriate clothing for your age, your height, and your weight? Do you have an expected dress code for your profession or industry? For your organization?

Does your voice, pitch, volume, and rate of speech enhance or detract from your message? Is your hair appropriate for your face, height, weight, age, and position? Are you attentive to the grooming dictates for your nails, teeth, face, and hair? Do you use or abuse makeup, jewelry, hair, or nail products? Are you conscious of offending others because of foul odors from bad breath or body odors? Do you moderate your usage of perfumes, colognes, aftershaves, lotions, powders, or anything with a scent?

Now, this final piece of the puzzle of you that we're going to talk about in this lesson is about your developmental gaps. These are those growth opportunities you could develop to make you even more marketable.

  • Do you see anything that is lacking in your personal and professional growth?

  • What would make you like yourself more, and incidentally, make you even more marketable?

  • What experiences would you like to have in your life at this time?

  • What exposures would make you feel better about yourself?

  • What formal education would you like to add to your learning?

  • What courses, workshops, seminars would be fun and/or useful to you?

  • What else do you dream about knowing, doing, or changing about yourself?

There may be nothing that you want or need to do. And, that's OK too.

With all this information collected about you, with your increased awareness about who you are and what you have to offer, this is a good time to explore your goals starting with your professional and then moving on to your personal goals.

Image Description
Written by

Sylvia Gaffney, PhD