Tag Archives: self development

Know yourself – an introduction


In a lot of my previous posts I have always said to be successful in most endeavours you have to know yourself. Self-awareness can be a big differentiator in the business world. There are many tools and models out there to help you understand aspects of your personality. All are flawed and debated in one way or another.

So where do you start?

Well if you have chosen to become more self-aware then you have already made the first step. If you are reading this and are curious you have the most important tool to becoming more self-aware. Alongside this you must be driven to discovering more about yourself, particularly in times of difficulty. The third skill you will require is honesty with yourself. We are all pre-programmed to protect ourselves physically and we learn to protect ourselves mentally as well. No one likes to know they are bad at something or have it pointed out. The skill of acknowledging your flaws will allow you continue to be curious and determined.

The first tool you will need is to find out your preferred learning style. If you want to learn more about yourself, tapping into your preferred learning style will make this happen quicker and easier. 

So step 1 into better self-awareness is your learning style.

There are 2 main models of learning style which are in general use. These are:

Honey and Mumford’s learning styles which are activist/reflector/pragmatist/theorist. You can learn more about this model here.

The second is the VAK learning styles – visual/auditory/kinaesthetic. You can learn more about this one here.

Both of these models display preferences and you may have a mixture of these. Indeed, there may be parts of these and other models which resonate with you together. If this is already happening then you are more self-aware than you realise. If not don’t be discouraged. This is where your curiosity and determination will come into play. I would recommend learning more about these tools and others until you find things that make sense to your actions. 

Alongside all these models I will offer my own perspective on learning. I believe that learning preferences, particularly in the case of skill development,  can fall on 2 continuums: social or individual and imposed and free learning. 




A social learner will receive learning points and evaluation from others while an individual learner will create their own learning objectives and will self-evaluate, however representative this may be.

Structured learning will have a set of criteria and objectives often using a curriculum like a school class to increase learning where free learning is born out of experience and reflection on that experience. Free learning does require more curiosity as it can have no start point or end point. 

You may place your own comfort area on both continuums which will land in one of the four quadrants. Examples of learning situations from all quadrants are;

Someone who is a social free learner may observe and reflect on skills in social situations or may discuss issues with a coach.

Someone who is an individual free learner may improve skills through practice, such as speech giving in front of the mirror.

Someone who is an individual structured learner may learn from textbooks, online courses or in classroom situations.

Someone who is a social structured learner may learn best in group tasks such as team building exercises or may conduct a 360 degree feedback exercise and pull together their conclusions.

If we look back to the honey and mumford and VAK models, these would resonate most with individual structured learners. In opposition there may be some of you who would like to discover your learning style and may want to discuss this with a group, being a social free learner.

The important thing to remember is that there is no right or wrong answer to self-awareness and that these tools or mindsets can only be used by you to help discover more about yourself. 

If you are still interested in becoming more self-aware then my next few blog posts will cover more tools and ideas to help discover more about yourself and how you can use this knowledge to achieve more.

Thanks for reading.



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Grow yourself – the basics

cultivatePersonal development is key to a successful career. No one is ready to be a CEO from birth so these skills take time to grow. Below are some basics to help on your development path.

1. Don’t pigeon hole yourself. There are so many tools to help understand yourself better like MBTI, Honey and Mumford learning styles, Belbin team roles etc. These can help but don’t give you the full picture. In fact most of these tools focus on your preferences. Sometimes the more powerful development happens when you challenge your fears or weaknesses. Always play to your strengths but understand your weaknesses.

2. Carpe diem. I mean this in two ways. First off be pro-active in your development path. Find every opportunity to develop yourself and schedule it into your time. Secondly take development from the every day. You may have behaviours or habits that you want to change, or you may even want to understand why something works. In your day to day work take a second to think about the mechanics of each task.

3. Learn from the good and the bad. Don’t just learn from your mistakes. As long as you practice number 2, you can understand why you are successful and apply that in other parts of your work. Also take time over your mistakes. You should only make a mistake once. And don’t beat yourself up when you do. Yes acknowledge it, but don’t let it stop you going further.

4. Ask. Looking in a mirror will only show you one side of yourself. Find a mentor or manager who you know will offer a balanced viewpoint. All bad or all good is no reflection of anyone. The more perceptions you can get the more you can see the full picture. This can be tough to hear sometimes. Tough doesn’t always mean bad.

5. Document the wins. Remember where you came from and how far you have gone. It can keep you motivated to reach where you want to go to.

Whatever you want to achieve you will have to grow to get there. This takes time and effort. Keep it up and everyone can get there.

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