What’s the difference between Humans and Vampires? Self-Reflection…

image via gobankingrates.com
image via gobankingrates.com

Let’s be honest, it would suck to be a Vampire (pun intended). You can’t eat garlic, you sleep in a coffin, and going to the beach is a massive no-no. Also, how are you going to do your hair in the morning if you can’t see yourself in a mirror? Not being able to see yourself as others see you is a big issue, whether at work, at Uni, in your life or fighting werewolves.

Which brings me smoothly on to Self-Reflection. I’m going to deal with it in two parts – the first bit is about knowing yourself (Self Awareness), the second about doing something about it (Self-Improvement).

Self-awareness is crucial to success in any field – if you know how you work best, what you’re good at, what you’re not so good at, you can create a work/study/social environment to maximise your strengths and support you in developing your weaknesses. Consider a personality-type questionnaire like Myers Briggs or DISC (free versions are available if you search!), but be careful not to be limited by what it says about you – just because you have a preference for introversion, it doesn’t mean that you ‘are’ an introvert – use this as a tool to see what you could work on.

image via edbean.com
image via edbean.com

Ask other people what they think – honest feedback from colleagues, bosses, families and friends is invaluable – they probably see different things in you than you may realise…Again, challenge yourself to break free of the image other people have of you.

The self-improvement aspect is again all about challenging yourself to be better. It is not the same as self-assessment – it should not be judgemental. It is not just a description of what you have done during a day – it needs to be analytical. It is definitely not what I call ‘social introspection’ – a Facebook status telling everyone how awesome/awful your life is. Effective self-reflection goes in a cycle: (click to enlarge)

FlowChart

The format is unimportant – write it, draw it, video it – whatever works best for you.

The most important bits are also the bits that everyone misses out:

1) Identifying sources of support – whatever the challenge is, you don’t have to do it alone. Approach other people who may have been in/currently are in a similar situation, and ask them how they got on – you can always repay the favour down the line. If it’s course-related, ask your coursemates, teaching staff or support staff. If it’s in your job, your colleagues/supervisors should be able to help. In other areas of your life, friends/families/contacts will be happy to help out – another reason to keep your networks as broad as possible.

2) The follow-up – After you have worked out how to overcome the issue, make sure you try it out as soon as possible – actively seek out tasks and situations which challenge you and approach them in different ways. After a few months, look back at your reflections and see if you’ve made any progress, if not, have another go at coming up with a different solution.

Vampires are stuck in a constant cycle of sucking blood, avoiding sunlight and dodging stakes through the heart – they can never stop being what they are, unless they die.

Don’t let the same be said of you…

Got any top tips for self-reflection? Anything that works particularly well for you? Please share below…
– Luke

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