“To be honest, I realized that I’m a good dancer does not mean I should become a professional dancer”

The above quote is an excerpt from an email I received, few days ago, from a good friend of mine. The main focus of the email was centred on a career decision she made after reading my recent article titled – “How To Conduct A Career SWOT Analysis”. This quote was so apt and deep sited on a core fact which I narrowed to Self-Discovery. For young Africans to make the best decisions regarding career, there is need for self-discovery – you need to know who you are!

A very interesting concept that I find instrumental in the work in progress journey of self discovery is self assessment. Through self-assessment you get a more thorough understanding of yourself. It is believed in the career development field that this understanding is the beginning of the career planning process. In an employment setting this knowledge will allow you to gauge your fit for certain jobs or careers, leading to a career choice that can be a natural extension of who you are.

During a self assessment you gather information about yourself in order to make an informed career decision. A self assessment should include a look at the following: values, interests, personality, and skills.

Values: the things that are important to you, like achievement, status, and autonomy

Interests: what you enjoy doing, i.e. playing golf, taking long walks, hanging out with friends

Personality: a person’s individual traits, motivational drives, needs, and attitudes

Skills: the activities you are good at, such as writing, computer programming, teaching

An understanding of these individual traits adds up depicting a comprehensive picture of yourself and what is important to you in life, which you can then apply in determining career fit.

To find answers to the self assessment areas outlined above, you can make use of a combination of self assessment tools that will be of help to you in this regard. The good news is that some of these self assessment tools are available for FREE on the internet. So what are you waiting for? Get up, ‘Google them’ and start with the self-assessment tools. Useful search terms are Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Holland’s Theory of Vocational Personalities and Work Environments.

Please note that self-assessments tools and inventories are not meant to direct you to a specific career. They are a means to gather information about yourself which can then be applied in a thoughtful consideration of career decisions. Career planning and development is a lifelong process; you are likely to continue to re-evaluate your goals and career.

The subject of Self-Discovery is a broad subject which may take a life time to understand no doubt. However, today’s post is an attempt to point your attention to it and how it can be useful to your career. The effort you invest in it now will help to establish the foundation for your future.

Feel free to drop your views in the comment section of this post.

Till next time, we are all work in progress!

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