At Protagion, we regularly suggest forward-looking self-reflection exercises for our members, especially as they can help us imagine possibilities by shifting our focus from present constraints. One example is our career timecapsule exercise which encourages long-term thinking.
We came across another application of this future-self idea, thanks to Tara Mohr, author of Playing Big*. It's an exercise she herself learnt from the Coaches Training Institute, and involves imagining an older, wiser you, decades into the future. Tara refers to this vision as our “inner mentor” and with her coaching clients has found that once we have a vivid sense of this future version of ourselves, we discover that he/she exists as a voice within us right now.
There is a voice in each of us that is unburdened by fear and untouched by insecurity, that has utter calm, that emanates love for oneself and others, and that knows exactly who we would be if we were brave enough to show up as our true selves. The ‘inner mentor’ is a way of accessing that part of us, a tool to tap into it. It can then become one’s personal guide to playing bigger.”
The visualisation exercise is most useful when we have some life experience, including being more open to listening to our elders – even if it’s an internal rather than external elder we’re tapping into. So, it works better for qualified professionals than scholars or students, for example. We feel your inner mentor is a helpful addition to your Mentorship Board, especially as they will know you best of all your mentors, and are always accessible to you. Our inner mentors function as a source of guidance, a voice we can draw on to develop a vision for our lives and careers, to help us make tough decisions, and to chart our unique paths.
Interestingly, an inner mentor is conceptually aligned with, although opposite to, the ‘advice I’d give my younger self’ style of career guidance experienced mentors share. An example on our website is Tim Rozar’s career advice. In this vein, we can consider an inner mentor as ‘advice I’d ask my older self for’.
Read more to see how to envisage your inner mentor and consult with him/her, compare ‘outer’ and inner mentors, and consider how to grow toward our inner mentors step by step, decision by decision.
A new year, a fresh beginning, and a further opportunity to make personal improvements. Given the stresses of the year that’s past and a jolly festive season, right now many of us are likely to be thinking about our fitness levels and managing our weight and health. Some will have tested different techniques in the past, with varying degrees of success for us. We explore a few of these in this post, and use the fitness analogy to position how Protagion’s services can help to get your career into shape too.
To put different techniques or interventions in context, let’s consider a framework with two dimensions:
Our preference for different techniques will depend on a wide variety of factors, including:
Once our interest in improving our fitness has been piqued, our first step is probably to do some research: what have others done, what’s been personally successful or not for us in the past etc. This helps us frame our initial goals, the targets we set for ourselves once we’ve taken the active decision to move from exploring to doing.
Read more to see examples of techniques in all the quadrants of the framework, from generalised activities we can do on our own, to more personalised examples of technology-supported guidance, to activities where we are supported by others (the human touch): generalised fitness communities to personalised coaching and training. We then apply the same framework to getting our careers in shape, highlighting career-related examples of resources and services, including those offered by Protagion Active Career Management. Hopefully these inspire you to achieve your professional goals too.
Our proteges know that we at Protagion are strong proponents of understanding ourselves, our aspirations, skills, passions, interests, strengths and weaknesses, in order to achieve our career goals. So much so that ‘knowing yourself’ forms the foundation of the self-directed component of our career management platform, including the Journey of Self-Discovery.
This post explores career self-reflection, specifically clarifying your career and job aspirations in your own mind. This includes looking at where your career is going, what your transferable skills are, what interests, excites and motivates you, and what you actually want from your career.
It is based on a podcast discussion between Elayne Grace, the CEO of the Actuaries Institute in Australia, and Lesley Traverso, director of the Talent Insights Group in Sydney. Lesley has experience of the United Kingdom, Middle East, Asia and Australia, is heavily involved with the actuarial profession in Australia on topics from Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to diversity, and is currently completing her Masters in Culture.
While the podcast was aimed an actuarial audience in Australia, we feel its messages are highly relevant for all professionals globally. It touches on broadly-applicable elements like upskilling ourselves, career transitions, and engaging with our employers about our goals.