Example Self Development Essay

Reflection on Personal Development in Relation to Self-Awareness and Listening Skills

rodrigo | December 18, 2012

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Introduction

This essay will examine my personal self development in relation to self-awareness and listening skills. Personal development refers to a set of activities that one can engage in for the purpose of enhancing self knowledge and identity. It involves talent and potential development, building of human capital as well as employability, improving the quality of life, and last but not least, playing a role towards the realization of aspirations and dreams. The idea of personal development is not only limited to self development, but also entails formal and informal activities meant to develop others, as well. For instance, counseling, teaching, guiding, mentoring, coaching and managing, for instance, just as required of a mental healthcare practitioner.

Body

Before, while working as a mental healthcare practitioner, I came to realize that, I had the desire to attend to others, but was really poor at listening. I felt like most people I was attending to were not really sure of what they actually wanted and that, I knew better what they were in need of. Because I had trouble being patient enough to listen, I often never got to understand what they were talking about. The problem with this experience was that I never really got to provide sufficient solutions to most problems that were relayed to me. After realizing this challenge and making an effort to start listening better, I have realized how easy it can be to communicate and understand others much better. Consequently, I have been able to be of much help in my endeavors anywhere and at anytime. Given a chance again probably as a healthcare practitioner, I know I can be able to build rapport with my fellow colleagues, bosses and even the clients.

Self awareness is a fundamental factor at the core of this broad and significant pursuit. Widening one’s self awareness involves discovering new truths about an individual. Self awareness can be described as a circle whereby everything within and without the circle is the self. Those things that exist within the circle are the things that one’s current level of self awareness allows one to consciously comprehend (Johns, 2005). As a person’s circle of self awareness expands, not only is he or she consciously aware of a greater portion of him or herself, but also the borders of his or her awareness have enlarged in such a way that, his or her self awareness borders upon a widened area of future discovery and development. The more doors an individual opens, the more he or she realizes there are to be opened. Personal development starts at a point of self awareness. In fact, it may as well be the ultimate end (Johns, 2005).

As I have come to learn, self awareness is quite important. The views we hold concerning the daily happenings of the world and even of our personal lives hugely determines for an individual the state of the world he or she is living in as well as his/her being. Therefore, one important lesson which can be learnt in life is the significance of the things we focus on. When a person thinks about failure, he or she will definitely find reasons to certainly succumb to it. When you think about health and well-being, you will essentially make the important decision of doing everything within your reach that will lead to better health and well-being (Johns, 2005).

At a personal level, the idea of personal development involves activities such as improving self knowledge and awareness, building identity, developing strengths, spiritual development, enhancing potential, improving health, fulfilling aspirations, enhancing lifestyles,  improving wealth, improving social abilities, and building human capital (Johns, 2005). In my pursuit of personal development, I have come to notice that, any kind of development whether personal, economic, geological, political or organizational, demands a framework to be able to know whether change has in reality occurred. For the case of personal development, a person frequently operates as the principal judge of improvement. Corroboration of objective improvement requires an assessment which has to be carried out using a standard criterion (Johns, 2005). These frameworks comprise of benchmarks or goals that define the strategies, end-points or plans for achieving goals, appraisals and evaluation of progress, levels that describe milestones, and finally a feedback mechanism that provides information on developments.

Poor communication is an inexorable cause of stress (Moss, 2008). One area of communication where most people are worst at is listening. It is through the significant impact of personal development that an individual can grow and improve his or her relationships, wealth, happiness, health, and careers. According to Burnand (1997), listening and attending are by far the most vital aspects of being an   effective healthcare professional. Most times, I feel I am obliged to talk and do only a little listening. Over-talking on the part of healthcare professionals is normally considered to be less productive (Burnand, 1997). I  will develop in my listening skills  so that I can be of  help to other people.  It is  important to understand the difference between attending and listening to a person. Attending generally involves ,a true direction of focus on the other person you are communicating with. It requires one to consciously pay attention of what the person is actually saying and what he or she is trying to communicate. Listening, on the other hand, is the process of hearing the other person you are communicating with. It requires an individual to not only note what the other person is saying, but also the other many, aspects of communication (Burnand, 1997).

Before, I never used to have the capacity to consciously choose the perspectives I took. Most of my thoughts, which I may consider as being stealthy behavior, had been rolling with life, becoming influenced by events around me, the media, as well as my peers. This made me feel like I gave up my power as a human being to come up with my world the way I possibly see it. In other words, it felt like I was using my own power against myself to make myself feel absolutely powerless. It was impossible to develop and grow myself with a lack of self awareness Johns, (2005).

After, making enough efforts to get myself into a point of self awareness with improved listening skills, I have been able to maintain a high level of self awareness by keeping my attention focused on everything going on around me. It is true to say that human beings are complex and diverse Elearn Limited, (2005). To develop my self awareness, I have been able to develop an understanding of myself based on a number of self awareness areas for example personality, habits, emotions, values, and needs. Through, a personal study of myself it has been evident to me that, personal needs, and values can not be changed based on what I have been able to learn about myself. However, an understanding of my personality has enabled me to discover those areas where I can flourish, and avoid situations that are likely to cause unwarranted stress to my life. For instance, I have come to acknowledge the fact that I am an introvert.

It is essential for each person to acknowledge and focus on personal values. My current priority has been to build my relationship with God. It has been very hard personally for me to keep sight of this priority on a day-to-day basis. During a normal busy day, I face so many challenges and arising opportunities that my list of “things to be done” often exceeds the time available for me to do them. Because of this reason, before, a lot of times I used to find myself spending much time on activities of lower priority since only few of these things are related to what I value most. Currently, I can get myself to focus enough attention on my values, and as a result, I am always much more likely to realize those things I consider most important.

Habits can be described as those behaviors that one routinely and frequently automatically repeats (Elearn Limited, 2005). I have realized that, I always have the urge to develop habits that would enable me to interact effectively with other people, especially while executing my duties as a mental health practitioner. Before, in while attending to my patients, I never used to often consult enough before making important decisions. This habit interfered with my ability to build the commitment of the people around me towards the decisions I make. I have since come to learn that, there are a number of psychological needs that fuels a person’s behaviors, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Personally, I have been able to understand how certain needs in my life affect my interpersonal relationships. After making this realization, today, I am able to know which needs actually influences my behaviors most.

Looking at my life, I am always in a high need for status. I am very much attracted to high-status occupations, and desperately in need for high-status positions in high status organizations. This is one of the reasons why I found myself joining the( medical )industry. I always have the desire to be shown respect, and get privileges that most people of a lower status are not able to acquire. For this reason, many times, I find myself fighting for things that other groups of people consider inconsequential, for example spacious rooms and fancy things.  It is evident to me that needs cause motivations. When they are not fulfilled they cause   lot of frustrations, unease, stress and conflict.

Emotional self awareness is a topic that causes much excitement to me because of its impacts (Pavlina, 2008). It also happens to be one of the components of emotional intelligence. Being in a state whereby you are able to understand your own feelings, the things that trigger them, as well as how they impact on your thoughts together with your actions on a daily basis can be considered to be emotional self awareness. Before, while starting my career as a mental healthcare worker, I realized that, at first I was very much enthusiastic. Slowly I started losing the motivation and the excitement faded.

Before, the question that lingered on my mind most was whether I could be able to get the excitement once again. To answer this question I managed to seek the services of a counselor who informed me that, before I can be able to answer that question I needed to understand the internal processes that are concerned with getting excited. For sure this sounds quite easier than it actually is. She gave me another perspective of looking at the matter i.e. associating the internal processes that are concerned with getting excited in my work place.

Most patients are aggressive, restless and irritable on admission, this  makes me feel like  nursing stable patients only, however I become excited when patients are mentally stable and on their way home.

Similarly, an individual with high standards of emotional self awareness is better informed about the internal processes involved with emotional experiences and, therefore, has a better control over them (Pavlina, 2008). People can develop interests towards their jobs by probably doing things differently. This way, I have been able to sustain my subsequent jobs that I have been taking. I  have evaluated my perfomance and identified areas of which I would like to develop in order to improve my standard of achievements in my skills. Kolb‘s learning cycle(currently have a better control over my feelings and emotional experiences thus, I am able to tackle things differently in different environments, in different occasions and in different ways. Concerning my personal awareness, I will      have become aware of my good qualities and weaknesses. Therefore I will arrange clinical supervision with my mentor to plan future development. Butterworth (1996) suggested minimum clinical supervision of 45minutes every four weeks.

 

Conclusion

Personal development refers to a set of activities that one can engage in for the purpose of enhancing self knowledge and identity. It involves talent and potential development, building of human capital as well as employability, improving the quality of life, and last but not least playing a role towards the realization of aspirations and dreams. The idea of personal development is not only limited to self development, but also entails formal and informal activities meant to develop others, as well. As a person’s circle of self awareness expands, not only is he or she consciously aware of a greater portion of him or herself, but also the borders of his or her awareness have enlarged in such a way that, his or her self awareness borders upon a widened area of future discovery and development. The more doors an individual opens, the more he or she realizes there are to be opened.

Listening and attending are by far the most vital aspects of being an effective healthcare professional. Over-talking on the part of healthcare professional is normally considered to be less productive. If people can train themselves to learn on how to really listen to others, then they can be of really much help to the society. Personal development starts at a point of self awareness. In fact, it may as well be the ultimate end. It through the significant impact of personal development that an individual can grow and improve his or her relationships, wealth, happiness, health, and careers. Self awareness is a fundamental factor at the core of this broad and significant pursuit. Widening ones self awareness involves discovering new truths about an individual. Any kind of development whether personal, economic, geological, political or organizational, demands a framework for one to be able to know whether change has in reality occurred. For the case of personal development, a person frequently operates as the principal judge of improvement. Corroboration of objective improvement requires an assessment which has to be carried out using a standard criterion.

 

Reference list

Butterworth, T.1996.Primary attempts at research based evaluation of clinical supervision.

Nursing Times Research 1(2):96-112

Burnand, P., 1997. Effective communication skills for healthcare professionals. Cheltenham:          Nelson Thornes.

Elearn Limited., 2005. Managing yourself. Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

Johns, H., 2005. Personal development in counselor training. London: Sage Publishers.

Moss, B., 2008. Communication skills for health and social care. London: Sage.

Pavlina, S., 2008. Personal development for smart people. London: Hayhouse.

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D. & Jasper, M., 2001. Critical reflection for nursing and helping    professionals. Palgrave MacMillan.

 

Related

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Category: Free Essays, Health

Introduction

A personal development plan is one of the most effective tools for students and professionals who want to achieve excellence in their respective fields. It utilizes the concept of reflection to enable one keep track of the steps they have made to acquire skills and knowledge. It enables one to keep track of the changes required in their life and the weak spots requiring improvement. The plan provides a gauge for a person to see their progress, and determine the skills to be achieved in the future. It aids in the achievement of personal and professional development goals. This is because success requires planning and goal setting. The goals set in the plan have to be clear and measurable.

Review of the initial PDP

According to my initial PDP, communication and social skills acquisition was the main goal for the semester. I had planned to communicate more with my instructors in the areas of my weaknesses. The utilization of the instructors’ office hours and the taking of extra time to get in touch with them enabled deeper understanding of the concepts taught in class. This was the main change that I had to make. During this semester, I have been able to increase the amount of time spent with instructors on learning after classes and ensured that I go over everything I learned in class. If there was a point or an idea that needed clarification, I have been leaving it to myself to talk to the teacher in order to understand the concept before the next class.

Interpersonal skills

Social development was also a significant part of my PDP; I discovered that I lack soft skills in relation to other people. The importance of these skills in the work place is significant, and I required developing them in order to avoid the skill mismatch in the workplace (Zenger and Folkman, 2009, p. 137). The improvement of interaction with other people was one of the main goals of my PDP. During this semester, I have changed how I relate with people by leaving more time for the interaction with them. I was able to achieve this by seeking an elective post as a representative in one of the professional clubs at the school. Acquiring this leadership position was important for my development of leadership skills. The acquisition of this post has also helped me develop communication skills since I had to communicate the needs and issues of the club members to the club leaders. It has also made me a good listener and a more focused person due to having other responsibilities besides schoolwork.

Extra-curricular activities

I also intended to improve my social interactions inside and outside the campus. One effective way that I chose to achieve this goal was getting involved in extra-curricular activities. Choosing a sport or a club was not easy because I am not too athletic. However, I knew the importance of this and thus decided to join the badminton team and have become an active and competent badminton player over time. Having an extra-curricular activity and a social group outside of classroom has enabled me to deal with stress more effectively. It has also allowed me to relax actively and to live a more productive life. Joining the badminton team has proved to be helpful and beneficial in many ways.

Time management

On the issue of time management, I planned a weekly schedule of the things I would be doing every week in order to make sure that I was not falling behind on time. The weekly schedules have been effective but I have had problems achieving some of the overall goals set for the semester. The time schedule has been a difficult one to follow due to overcrowding and poor execution. Some of the milestones that had to be achieved by the end of the semester such as reading inspirational books have not been completed. The schedule made for the reading of inspirational literature has been too overcrowded, and I have only achieved half of what I had planned. According to Zenger and Folkman (2009), Inspirational literature is very important for motivation (p. 24). My inability to finish the reading plan is bothering and discouraging. This highlights a time management problem that I have to take into account in the next personal development plan.

A reflection on my performance

My academic performance during the semester has been at par with other semesters. There has not been any considerable difference in my performance, which is not satisfactory. I intended to improve my GPA performance every semester in order to graduate with honors. Therefore, more needs to be done and dedicating more time to studying is necessary. According to my PDP, I required to achieve an average of 70% in all the tests and assignments before the end of the semester. The more time spent consulting the lecturers and instructors has only had a marginal effect on my performance. This implies that more time should be spent on doing so in order to achieve the desired results. One of my instructors said that what I needed was more practice as opposed to theory. Changes in the amount of practice required have not been implemented effectively since the results have not been satisfactory.

Gaining hands-on experience in the field has been an important factor and determinant of success. I intended to work part time during my free time to gain experience and practice in the field to aid the theory learned in class. This step has only been partially achieved because I could not secure employment in my field of specialization. The job I acquired was in car sales, which is not what I consider perfect for the practicing of the skills learned in my course of study. I actually spent more time than the experience I gained was worth. Yet in my next PDP I will surely include more time for finding suitable work to ensure that experience is gained in the perfect field and the perfect job.

Overall, I have learned that I have potential I have not been utilizing. Previously, I could not find time to engage in other activities besides class work, yet I did not perform exceptionally well. I have discovered that I can live a more holistic life without compromising the time spent on studies. Planning has enabled me to visualize what needs to be achieved and decide how to achieve it. I learned that my poor performance in school has been the result of little or no practice. It has also shown me that personal skills are important, and they are not as difficult to learn as I thought earlier.

PDP for the next four semesters

My current performance level is average and needs to be improved by the end of the semester to ensure that I graduate with honors. Therefore, more time will have to be spent on activities that improve the amount of knowledge gained during class time and outside of class. Practice is also required; therefore, the time spent practicing the learned skills will have to be increased over the next four semesters. My academic performance is the most important aspect of my studies, thus more time will be dedicated to it alongside the inclusion of other activities such as sports. I will keep a record of the activities that I am involved in concerning work experience, personal character development, and other life experiences. The main aim of the plan will be to achieve the knowledge and skills that will match the market requirements (Fry, 2009, p. 120).

Personal development

The plan will also integrate academic development with personal development. Personal learning activities such as spending more time in the library conducting research on some important aspects of my professional field will also be considered. This means that I will require dedicating more time to find work that is in line with my field. This learning experience will be aimed at learning from other people and encompassing the learned ideas and methods into my skill set (Niven, 2006, p. 295). Developmental changes are necessary to ensure improvements in the overall well-being of my career prospects. I will undertake more involvement in social activities and situations to develop confidence. The goal is to attend at least one social event every two weeks. In addition, acquisition of leadership and interpersonal skills will be given proper attention since these skills are what the professional world requires.

Learning habits

Establishment of learning habits will become a major part of the plan since life is all about continuous learning (Fry, 2009, p. 124). Motivational literature will form a significant part of my learning culture and habits. I will improve my time management skills to ensure that I read two or more motivational books every month. In order to improve my employment prospects and recognize the weak points I need to work on, I will ask one teacher to become my mentor. I will then make sure that I meet with the teacher at least once a semester. During these meetings with the teacher, I will ask for feedback on my career prospects in the field and the type of skills I need to work on. I will also ensure that the teacher gets a chance to criticize my efforts and improvements, and suggest areas for improvement.

Financial independence

Another important aspect of life that has to be included in the development plan is the achievement of financial goals. This is one of my main weaknesses and it was not included in the previous PDP. The goal is to achieve financial freedom and independence by the end of the four semesters. This will be achieved by ensuring that I obtain the habit of saving money. I will save half of the money that I earn during holidays. Doing so I aim to save at least $ 5,000 every year. These savings will be used to cover living expenses upon completion of my course of study until I get a permanent job. This goal will be achieved by ensuring that I change my spending habits to only spend on the necessary things. Avoidance of unnecessary and non-value adding activities will be the main weapon against excessive expenditures.

Conclusion

The personal development plan is very important in enabling the tracking of developmental changes that are necessary for the achievement of set goals. Planning is very important since it provides a medium for a person to set goals and decide how they will have to be achieved. My personal development plan will…

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