Chapter 4 Building career self-insight

‘Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.'


We have discussed the value of self-awareness, including knowing what has shaped your career, values, and career drivers or motivators. Reviewing your own career will prove invaluable when helping others move towards their career goals.

This chapter provides some simple and quick techniques and exercises that will enable you to discover the key elements of your own career and provide a sound foundation for helping others do the same. There are a plethora of career assessment methods out there, but I have found the following techniques most valuable in assisting others to gain career clarity and focus.

A good place to start is to reflect on every career step you have made since leaving school and document each milestone on a timeline. As the saying goes, you can't navigate a ship by looking at its wake, but that said (and with apologies for the mixed metaphor!), checking the ‘rear vision mirror' can help you visualise the future.

As you think back over your career, reflect on:

  1. how you made each career move or transition
  2. who influenced your decisions
  3. when you were happiest in your career and what was going on for you at that time
  4. whether your work-related values were satisfied in each role (the values exercise that follows will help you identify the most important ones)
  5. the best and worst boss you ever had, and their attributes and leadership ...

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