It’s Not What You Know, It’s How You Use It
I’m sure we all remember that one kid at school who was incredibly bright and was an academic whizz kid, pulling out the top marks in everything and yet they seemed to have no common sense whatsoever. Or perhaps you know someone who is the most technically gifted person within your field of work but who has been held back due to the fact that they are unable to utilise that knowledge effectively? The point is that yes whilst knowledge is power to a certain extent, if it cannot be channeled properly or we do not work on our other skills it can be wasted. The trick is to work on all of the areas of ourselves not just what we know. Developing oneself involves developing areas such as organisation, self-management, communication skills and attitude. So why is it that these skills often get shunted so far down the pecking order? You need to work on these but how exactly? They are often not taught in school or further education and neglected equally in the workplace. What sort of things could you be doing to improve your ways of using what you know to its full potential?
Work Out Your Strengths & Weaknesses
You need to be completely honest with yourself and fairly analyse what it is you are stronger and weaker at doing. The best way to do this is to write out a list. Go through everything you feel is a strength and everything with room for improvement. Think of as many things as possible and look at skills such as talking in public or remaining patient under stressful situations. Don’t con yourself otherwise the exercise is pointless. Go through as many points as you can possibly think of and then look back over it. Again, be honest with yourself. Are you really as good at certain things as you think or can they still be worked on further? One good way of getting a subjective point of view is to ask work colleagues or friends to write down 3 things they see as a strength in you and three things you could improve. If you are worried that you might take offense from people, then you can do it entirely anonymous if you wish. Once you have done this, compare it to your own self-analysis and see if there are any glaring discrepancies. For example, if you believe one of your strengths is your communication skills and yet most people you ask think the opposite, the problem will immediately become apparent. Your belief that you are good at something which others perceive you as weak in is probably why the issue exists. You are probably either unaware or misinformed of how you are in a certain way and by learning what your weaknesses are you will then have some targets to aim for.
Create A Personal Development Plan
Once you have ascertained what your strengths and weaknesses are you will be in a position to identify what to work on next. Compare your own analysis against that of others and from that generate your best and worst assets. It is important that you don’t get all high and mighty and deny all of the feedback you had from other people. Take it on the chin and think how can I change it no matter whether it’s factually accurate or merely a perception. Either way, it will be something you should focus on as an area of development. You should note down the top three to five pros and cons. It is important you note down the pros as much as the cons because there is no use in thinking because you are good at something you can’t do better. If anything these should be the easy wins for you as they will probably be skills which come naturally to you, so maximise them. Write out some ways which you can try to build on the factors you have recorded and place a timescale against which you can measure them. Track your performance and after a period of time conduct the same questions with people to see if anything has changed. This way you will be able to check if you are on the right path or need to change your approach.
Consider Self-Development Courses
It is fair to say that sometimes we can struggle to improve ourselves in certain ways without the help of others. Sometimes we might simply deny the feedback or it could be that there are things you are already aware of as areas of improvement but you have no idea how to go about making them better. If this is the case it may be very helpful to attend self-development classes. Many training companies out there now such a that will offer free introductory taster sessions so you can see if it is the thing for you before you fork out on something which isn’t quite what you thought it might be. Go into them with an open mind or else they will be of no benefit to you and remember you will probably be able to do these sorts of courses with complete strangers and so you will feel less embarrassed or under duress to attend.