Self-Reflection In Your Career

  • Past, present, and future
  • Identity and the way it has been influenced by external and internal factors
  • Character and actions
  • Set aside some time for your reflection when you won’t be distracted or interrupted. You can reflect for any period of time!
  • Your self-reflection process can be very informal; just let your mind wander and ponder as you go for a walk, complete a routine chore, or sit in a quiet relaxing space.
  • If you want your self-reflection to be more structured, you can try some form of journaling to record your thoughts and build on them over time. Your journaling can be as simple as writing bullet point lists, or as intricate as creating detailed mind maps. When I reflected, I organized my thoughts in a bullet point list in a Powerpoint presentation ¯\_ (ツ)_/¯ whatever works for you!

Interests

Hopefully this is an easy one! We all have things we’re interested in, whether those are topics we like learning about, activities we enjoy doing, or causes we’re passionate about. Your interests show you what to spend your time and energy on to feel happier. In terms of your career, your interests can show you what type of work you would enjoy doing or what company mission would help motivate you.

  • What were your hobbies as a child? What are your hobbies now?
  • What activities (clubs, sports, volunteering, etc.) have you been involved in over the years? Which ones did you enjoy the most?
  • What would you like to learn about for fun?
  • What have been your favorite classes? Are there classes you wish you could have taken but didn’t have time to?
  • If you had to teach someone else about a topic for ten minutes, what would you teach about?
  • When you have free time, what do you do with it?
  • What does an ideal day look like for you?
  • You may find that some interests point to things that you would like to do as part of your job; for example, working with the community, being creative, or being physically active.
  • Other interests might point towards the type of organization you want to work at; for example, one that is centered around healthcare, education, or animal welfare.

Strengths and Weaknesses

These positive and negative traits come in many forms. Strengths can be skills and talents you’ve developed, or positive personality traits that make you shine! Your weaknesses could be bad habits, limitations, or even just skills you have yet to master. Strengths and weaknesses can change over time, and often are a matter of perspective. They can help you see which roles you might naturally thrive in, or show you areas for improvement.

  • 16 Personalities: this popular test will label you as one of 16 personality types based on the MBTI (Myers–Briggs Type Indicator) format. Bonus: this website includes a resources section with articles related to professional development, so you can gain some extra ideas from the community.
  • Big Five: this test uses a different well-known model of personality centered around five main factors.
  • Enneagram Test: in this test, people call into a combination of personality types (nine at most) with one as your “basic” personality type.
  • Hogwarts House Test: this version of the popular Hogwarts House Sorting Hat test uses psychometric items for a slightly more “scientific” twist.
  • Animal In You: a fun quiz that lets you discover your wild side.
  • myColor: our personalities can be quite colorful…but specifically which color?
  • What qualities do you like most about yourself?
  • What recurring habits (good and bad) have you developed over the years?
  • What qualities or skills do you think you would have if you were the best version of yourself?
  • What situations consistently cause you to struggle or make you feel worse about yourself?

Values

This final reflection topic may be a little less straightforward than the previous topics, but it can also lead to some of the most important insights. Your values are the things you prioritize in life, and living according to your values will naturally lead to more happiness. They help determine your actions and decisions, and violating your values can lead to feelings of shame or distress. In your career, living according to you values can help you determine the various twists and turns of your career path and the goals you most want to fulfill.

  • What big moments have made you feel happy and fulfilled? What small experiences have made you feel happy and fulfilled?
  • Think of some important decisions you’ve had to make. What factors did you consider? Why did you make the choices you did?
  • Who do you admire and why?
  • Think of a time that you took a risk. What motivated you to act?
  • What are important qualities that you look for in friends or partners? What are important qualities that you look for in mentors or advisors?
  • What do you want to contribute to the world? What would you want to be remembered for?

Bonus: Reflecting Beyond Your Career

As you explore the above prompts and find ways to apply your interests, strengths, weaknesses, and values to your career, don’t disregard the connections to your life beyond work. No matter where you are in your career or what type of job you do, you are more than your work. Did you find an interest that you only want to pursue as a fun hobby? Are there habits you want to build to improve your relationships with friends and family? All of these insights are valuable and will help you actively and holistically become your best self!

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