Monday, 27 October 2014

Personal identity: a short task

In a previous blog I wrote about the importance of having an identity that is not solely based around your successes as an athlete.  I want to take this opportunity to share a task that I asked young talented individual to complete as part of a workshop I ran on dual careers a few weeks ago.  This is a useful task for individuals of all ages to complete, and is a good starting point for career planning, a way of focusing and motivating individuals, or simply an exercise to boost confidence.

This is me
Explore your personal identity by filling an A3 sheet of paper with things that make up you and your personality.  Use words, phrases, sentences, pictures, or images cut from magazines and lay out the page in whatever way you feel appropriate.  Include some or all of the following:
  • Successes that you have had outside of sport
  • Characteristics that define your personality (e.g. three words that describe you)
  • Long term goals – 1 for sport; 1 for education/career; 1 for life in general
  • What I would like to be when I ‘grow up’.
  • Hobbies
  • Things you like (food, books, tv) – Pick one and explain why you like it
  • Skills (maybe things that you’ve learned from sport that you can apply to life
  • Things that make you happy/laugh
  • Things that you like about your sport
  • Why you do your sport
  • Favourite subjects at school
  • Your coping skills
  • You top values*
This should be a positive document.  Use only positive words.  From this task you should see that there is more to you than just a person that goes to school, or a person that does sport.  You are multidimensional!

* Values-type exercises are among my favourite career planning tools.  Below is a list of some values.  Take some time working through the list and thinking about what each word means to you (each individual will interpret the values differently).  The theory is that those who are happiest in their careers have work and careers which meet their values.  Once you’ve made a list of the values that are most important to you, write them on a small piece of paper, and place it in your wallet.  Check it regularly and ensure that your values are being met on a daily basis.

Older individuals can take the above task a step further to help with career decisions.  Instead of just depicting the current you on a sheet of paper, you can depict your career so far as a journey or timeline, and explain how you’ve got from one stage to the next.  In a metaphorical sense, plotting your journey so far will help to see where the road is leading you.  Write down the key stages and words and talk through the plot with a friend or any willing listener.  This is a useful task when big decisions have to be made, as it takes the emphasis away from the pressure decision, and helps get you into your comfort zone.  We are all experts in our own lives, so that’s where we should focus our attentions.

I’ve included a further adaptation of the ‘This is Me’ task from a career perspective below.  This is something that I did for a recent job interview.  Essentially all of my work experience is in a sporting perspective, but writing it down like I did below helped me realise just how broad that experience is.  It’s ok to have life experiences that are just sports related, but recognising the skills that are transferable is key.  We’ll explore transferable skills in a future post.

Hopefully doing the above task will help you realise just how multi-dimensional you are and highlight areas that you can branch into.  Maybe it’ll inspire you to take up a new hobby, or generate an interest that you can explore on training camps when you have plenty of time on your hands.

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