Last week we discussed just how important it is for young professionals to take the time to look in the mirror and consider how we are responsible for our own lives. This week we offer five simple questions that can be used as cues in this important self-reflection practice. While it is neither healthy nor productive to judge ourselves too harshly, it is beneficial for both our careers and personal development to engage in constructive self-critiquing on a regular basis.
While the term “looking in the mirror” is often considered figurative, it actually doesn’t have to be. Self-reflection can be done in a variety of ways, from journaling to blogging, creating to meditating, or to straight up looking in the mirror and asking yourself one or more of these questions:
Would you hire you?
Putting yourself in the shoes of others is always a valuable way to gain a broader perspective. When it comes to reflecting on your talents, skills, work ethic, productivity, etc., placing yourself in the role of the employer that is considering hiring or firing you, who trains or manages you, can offer important insights into ourselves as workers. If you were the boss, would you hire someone with your experience, character, skills? The goal in asking such questions of ourselves isn’t to point out our weaknesses, but is to offer self-awareness of the areas in which we can improve.
Would you be friends with you?
What traits do you look for in a friend? Loyalty? Positive attitude? Genuine personality? When making or maintaining friendships, self-reflection offers us the opportunity to ask ourselves if we are being the type of person that we would want to spend our own time with. For YPs in particular, with lives so often in flux due to changing personal and professional statuses, it is not uncommon that aspects of our personalities also undergo change. To keep in touch with your true character, try checking in with yourself via regular self-reflection.
Would you date you?
Similarly, looking in the mirror and asking yourself if you would date or have a serious relationship with someone like you can answer questions that we may have about ourselves as potential partners. What makes a good partner, and do you exhibit those traits yourself? If you seek a partner that is honest, trustworthy, and easy going, for example, and are having a hard time finding such a person, take a moment to reflect on whether or not you genuinely and consistently exhibit those qualities yourself.
Would you work for you?
Think back to a teacher, coach, or employer that you looked up to and were eager to work for. How did they treat you, teach you, lead you? And have you taken on such techniques? Even as the boss, self-reflection is an important skill to master if we are to maintain a style of leadership that others will want to follow. Ask yourself: How would I respond to this tactic? Would I respect this decision? Would I work well for me?
Would you buy from you?
Finally, for all of you YP salespeople out there, self-reflection is an extremely valuable tool in the ongoing pursuit of the perfect sales strategy. In its most basic form, literally looking in the mirror to observe and listen to yourself in sales mode can offer incredible insights into what looks and sounds good, and what does not. On a richer level, journaling about our sales tactics and personality can lead to realizations about those areas of our strategy and character that are working for us, and those that are not.