Developing your career is a unique opportunity to express yourself and spend your life doing what you enjoy most. Careers start in our dreams and imagination, and require courage, risk, and belief in ourselves to become reality. If you dream about doing something different to what you do now, then you are not fulfilling your career aspirations. This probably means you are not as happy as you could be!
There are, of course, many valid reasons why this might be the case. The point of self-exploration is to help you develop a fuller perspective of yourself. You can then use this information to inform the next steps you take on your career journey. Interestingly, it also allows your imagination to build new dreams based on seeing things differently!
Exploring yourself is, like exploring anything, dependant on the way you approach it and what questions you ask. We are reminded of the classic story of the blind men and the elephant, as it seems that we are as well-equipped to knowing ourselves as blind men are to describing an elephant.
The Blind Men and the Elephant John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a WALL!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, "Ho, what have we here,
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a SPEAR!"
The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he,
"the Elephant Is very like a SNAKE!"
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he:
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a TREE!"
The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a FAN!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a ROPE!"
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
From a career development point of view, self-exploration is primarily about identifying your talents, strengths and weakness, what motivates you, what your hopes and aspirations are, and using this information to point you in a particular direction. Equally important, but outside the scope of this website are issues concerning your self-confidence, physical and mental well-being, and personal belief system.
And the full picture may of course include other considerations none of us have yet considered! We can start the process by completing some self-assessment exercises. None are going to provide you with a complete picture, but they all provide some perspective, and can be used to open your mind to new possibilities or simply confirm what you already know (that’s not a bad thing, as it can increase your confidence in that area).
Go to Self-Assessment Exercises