MODULE 1 About Me
Self Awareness
Understanding Change
Curiosity
Openness
Resilience
Adaptability
Self efficacy
Motivation
MODULE 1 About Me

MODULE 1 About Me

 

The focus of this first module is the theme “About me". The module is divided into 8 skills, comprising 2 exercises per skill (16 exercises in total). 

 

The units in this module reflect fundamental attributes, dispositions and attitudinal responses which fit individuals well to operate optimally in the modern workplace. This module serves as a baseline assessment to enable deep reflection on the self, on what individuals bring to any workplace or operational setting and enables reflection on past situations where individuals may have demonstrated efficacy. This self-generated narrative feeds forward into the portfolio.

The units will require 30 minutes to two hours for completion. Ideally all learners should complete two exercises to aid portfolio building. Other extended activities are optional.

Each unit focuses on a soft skill; the definition, why it is important and exercises to help development, or reflection on, the skill. Upon completion of the module (and its 16 exercises) learners will have developed their abilities regarding the following soft skills:

 

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Understanding change
  3. Curiosity
  4. Openness
  5. Resilience
  6. Adaptability
  7. Self-efficacy
  8. Motivation

 

Self Awareness

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Self-awareness

Understanding one’s thoughts, behaviours and emotions.

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

Self-awareness is the ability to reflect on your needs, aspirations and wants. Through self-awareness you will be able to recognise and modulate your feelings, behaviours and thoughts.

 

Why is this an important skill?

People who are self-aware tend to feel more comfortable in their own skin which helps to build positive professional and personal relationships. Not only will you have a better relationship with yourself, but you will also have a better relationship with those around you. Being self-aware is important because it helps build strong relationships and develops control over life decisions and overall wellbeing.

Self-aware employees have a stronger understanding of their personal strengths and weaknesses; therefore, they are able to select tasks which are suitable for them and identify steps they must take in order to develop.

 

Open Education Resources + Icebreakers

 

Have a look at some of the following materials before completing the exercises. Reflect on how and when these skills have been applied by you or someone else.

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

 

Exercise 1: COPS

 

Challenges, Opportunities, Potential weaknesses, Strengths (COPS)

 

A brief guide to COPS analysis:

 

Challenges

 

  • How can you attract employers?
  • How can you be more effective?
  • How can you develop yourself?
  • What are the barriers you face?

 

Opportunities

 

  • Where is there a gap in the market?
  • What sector best suits your skills and experience?
  • Where can you further develop yourself?
  • What opportunity would be enticing to you?

 

Potential weaknesses

 

  • What do others do better than you?
  • Where is your experience lacking?
  • Where are you lacking adequate resources?
  • What skills need improving?

 

Strengths

 

  • What do you do better than others?
  • How strong is your reputation?
  • What experience do you have?
  • What skills can you rely on?

 

When it comes to searching for a job, it is important that you are able to identify and evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, potential threats, and opportunities. Using the COPS analysis is a beneficial method to go about this. COPS has been adapted from a strategic planning tool created by Albert Humphrey (SWOT). Users of COPS specify the objective and then identify the internal and external factors that are helpful and harmful to achieving that objective.

 

Click here to download the COPS chart analysis, and focusing on your job search, fill in the information relating to the different sections of the chart.

 

 

 

Exercise 2: Johari Window

 

The Johari window was developed by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. This technique enables users to better understand their relationship with themselves and others. This simplistic model emphasises the importance of soft skills such as self-awareness and allows users to develop their ability in this area. This model promotes personal growth and a greater understanding of oneself (strengths and weaknesses).

 

You can find a downloadable list of adjectives, print these off and give them to friends and family, they will choose five adjectives which they think are relevant to you. You will also choose five adjectives which you believe are relevant to yourself.

 

When you have collected all the adjectives from your friends and family, compare them with the adjectives you chose for yourself. Now you can put these into the Johari Window:

 

  • Any adjectives that you and your network chose should go in the top left corner.
  • Any adjectives that your network chose, but you didn’t go in the top right corner.
  • Any adjectives that you chose, but your network didn’t go in the bottom left corner.
  • The left-over adjectives go in the bottom right corner. These adjectives are where there is room for personal improvement, and this is where you should focus your energies.

 

 

Click here to download the Johari Window template and put the adjectives as described above.

 

Next steps

 

Having completed these exercises, can you think of any evidence you have that demonstrates your self-awareness? What would someone who knows you well say about your self-awareness skills?

How did you adapt? What did you learn about yourself and your capabilities during this period?

 

 

Make some notes now.

 

Remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When you are thinking about how you have demonstrated these soft skills, draw from all your life experiences (both in and outside the workplace). You can include these as evidence in your portfolio. Examples may include teamwork skills developed from being part of a sports team, resilience skills developed from moving to a new city for university or leadership skills developed through role as a society committee member of a local club.

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

 

Evidence based story

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated the skill of self-awareness? Look at the examples below for some guidance.

 

  • Giana is angry about something her boss did at work. She recognises her feelings and evaluates them in order to better understand what is at the root of her emotions. Rather than reacting aggressively, she comes to terms with the issue and overcomes it.
  • Leo is searching for a job in the public sector. As he has only recently graduated from university, he is aware of his lack of professional experience. In order to overcome this barrier, he begins volunteering at the local council in order to develop a better understanding of the sector.

Now it’s your turn!

 

Write an example of when you have demonstrated self-awareness and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]

 

 

Understanding Change

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Understanding Change

 Being open to, and aware of, the benefits of change.

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

 

Understanding change is the ability to anticipate and include change during the creating process. In addition, this skill enables you to embrace change as a concept which will hold new opportunities.

 

Why is this an important skill?

 

Change is an inevitable and unavoidable factor of life; therefore, it is important to be aware of it and prepared for it. Many people are scared of the unknown, and as change directs us into uncharted territory, we can become concerned. However, it is important to envision change as something positive. Through change you can grow and experience new things which will develop who you are.

In regard to employability, change can be particularly concerning. Nevertheless, through change you can progress both professionally and personally.

 

Open Education Resources + Icebreakers

 

Have a look at some of the following materials before completing the exercises. Reflect on how and when these skills have been applied by you or someone else.

 

 

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

Exercise 1: Lifeline/Milestones

 

Our life can feature milestones, some of them are positive and some of them are negative. Visualising these milestones is a beneficial method for better understanding change.

On a blank sheet, list out some of the key events in your life: education, employment, relationships and any key changes. This list should be shaped around what your life goals were at these various points in your life.

Think about how you were feeling about your life at that time and then rate each event from minus 10 to plus 10. This data will be used to plot your milestones in terms of highs and lows on a timeline. 

 

You can download the time plot template here

 

Write key words alongside the milestones to indicate what event they represent. The positive events will be plotted above the central line (high points) while the negative events will be plotted below the central line (low points).  Once you have finished plotting the events, it will look similar to the diagram below:

 

 

Exercise 2: Covey

 

Stephen Covey was an American educator, who was renowned for his popular book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Covey created the Circle of Concern and Control, which is a tool that helps users to realise the power they have over things that feel out of their control. In life, we feel concerned by a multitude of aspects, and many of these issues cannot be impacted by our actions, as they lie outside our circle of control. Instead of focusing on concerning issues which lie outside our circle of control, we should focus on the things we can do. As we focus our efforts on the circle of control, this area will expand and will begin to affect the circle of control which lies outside our control.

 

The Circle of Concern and Control is an effective method of coming to terms with change. Covey’s concept builds the resilience of its users as they become more aware of the influence that they can have.

Below is a diagram of the Circle of Concern and Control:

 

Below is a story, choose what lies within the speaker’s circle of control and what is outside her area of control. In addition, describe the actions she could take to gain control over her concerns.

 

Case study

 

A friend of yours has been having a hard time for a while now. She is concerned every day about how she will be able to secure her dream job as a chartered accountant for a big firm. As the economy is not doing very well in the country she lives in, she is worried that there will not be many vacancies for chartered accountants in the next few years. She is losing a lot of sleep over her predicament and she is eager to start a career in this industry.

 

Solution: Use the downloadable template

 

This activity can be adapted to any situation. If you are concerned about something, why not use it and see whether it expands your circle of control and enables you to reduce your concerns?

 

Next steps

Having completed these exercises, can you think of any evidence you have that demonstrates ability to understand change? What would someone who knows you well say about your ability to understand change?

 

Make some notes now.

 

Remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When you are thinking about how you have demonstrated these soft skills, draw from all your life experiences (both in and outside the workplace). You can include these as evidence in your portfolio. Examples may include teamwork skills developed from being part of a sports team, resilience skills developed from moving to a new city for university or leadership skills developed through role as a society committee member of a local club.

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

Evidence based story

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated an ability to understand change? How did you adapt to change? What did you learn about yourself and your capabilities during this period?

Look at the examples below for some guidance.

 

  • Lydia is 25 and she has been in education for her whole life. She has just graduated from her PhD and she is preparing to enter the workforce. She is anxious about this change in her life; however, she is also excited and eager to try something new in order to adapt her academic background to a professional environment.
  • Phil has been working as a cleaner for a big bank. His employers have just lost their contract with the bank and he will be losing his job in 4 weeks’ time. The prospect of not having a job is daunting; however, he feels that he is ready for a change and this will enable him to explore different paths of employment.

 

Now it’s your turn!

 

Write an example of when you have demonstrated an ability to understand change and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]

 

Curiosity

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Curiosity

The desire to know and learn about different aspects of life.

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

 

Cultivating and exercising our sense of curiosity triggers other key career drivers. It opens up our willingness to embrace new experiences, unknown situations and varied environments. Plus, it lays the foundations for discovery, whether that is new information, people or experiences. A sense of curiosity may produce a positive outcome or one that is less exciting. At its heart, it is about a willingness to take risks with a possibility that the result may not be beneficialbut knowing that the learning process alone will add value.

 

Why is this an important skill?

 

Almost every day, we encounter tasks that aren’t particularly interesting or enjoyable, but that we have to do anyway. Sometimes we merely go through the motions and take an experience for granted when we could be getting much more out of it. Or we avoid an activity because we think we’re not interested or would dislike it, when in fact we are missing out on ways it could enrich our lives.

Approaching these situations and others with curiosity can not only make them more enriching but help us experience more happiness in life.

 

Open Education Resources + Icebreakers

 

 

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

Exercise 1: Get curious!

 

Overview: This exercise is designed to raise awareness about the importance of curiosity at work and in every aspect of life.

 

Time estimate: Variable

 

Material needed: paper and 1 pen or pencil

 

Activity: Choose an activity that you think you are not interested in or even dislike, such as a daily task or chore. Alternatively, you could try something out of the ordinary for you, like listening to a genre of music that’s not your favourite, eating a food you disliked as a child, watching a sport you think is boring, or learning a hobby you’ve never before found intriguing.

 

Try to let go of any expectations, positive or negative, that you have about the experience. Simply keep an open, curious mind.

 

While engaged in the activity, take note of at least three new things about it that you have never noticed before.

 

You may find your preconceived ideas changing, opening up new possibilities for interest and enjoyment in your life. Even if not, you will have added a few new and interesting things to your catalogue of experience!

 

Exercise 2: Learning new things is fun

 

Overview: This exercise helps us to learn new things and treasure the importance of curiosity.

 

Time estimate: Variable

 

Material needed: Newspapers and 1 pen or pencil

 

Activity: This activity is very simple and it will allow us to pay more attention to our curiosity and work on our eagerness to learn substantially increasing them.

 

All we have to do is to find some time to get a newspaper (or a magazine) and choose an article. This article should be, possibly, about something we are not very interested in.

 

We should underline all the new concepts that we come across and, if possible, do a little research about them.

 

In the evening (or right after reading), ask yourself, “What have I learned today?” and make some notes.

 

 

Next steps

In order to keep training your curiosity you should remember how important is to learn from others, by taking notes and not being afraid of asking questions.

Now is the moment to adapt all you have worked below to remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When finding examples, it is then completely valid to draw from all your life experiences. These examples can be used in your job interviews, application letters and even in your CV.

Curiosity is the soft skill that not just will be highly appreciated by organisations but will also help you having a renewed optimism about your career.

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

 

Evidence based story

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated curiosity? Look at the examples below for some guidance.

 

  • During one holiday with my friends I decided to improvise and deviate from the itinerary that we have planned. My friends agreed and we discovered so many beautiful areas and small streets that were not touristy at all and that we would never have visited without my curiosity.
  • All my life I have been doing just one sport: football. During my university years, a friend, after having insisted for months, convinced me to go with him for a free trial lesson of Taekwondo. After having tried it, I was so excited that I decided to continue with it and I still practice this great sport. Sometimes you have to try and know new things and you can have some very pleasant surprises.

 

Now it’s your turn!

Write an example of when you have demonstrated curiosity and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]

 

Openness

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Openness

Ability to be open-minded, open to experience and willing to try new things.

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

Openness is often considered to be a personality trait. It appears in those who are imaginative and curious. A person, demonstrating a high level of openness, is drawn towards unusual ideas and is not afraid of change. Moreover, openness is closely related to ‘creativity’ and the ability to be in touch with one’s own feelings. In order to better understand the soft skill of ‘openness’, we can think of the attitude of a person considered as ‘closed-off’. In this case, this person will, more than often, be analytical and practical to the extent of not allowing any kind of change to interfere with their life, blocking possible creative outcomes that could benefit them and others alike.

 

Why is this an important skill?

 

Openness is extremely important, mostly for jobs which require high levels of creativity and being intellectually flexible, as, for example, in most professions of the creative business sector. In order to be intellectually flexible, one must constantly try to embrace inquiry and put into action multiple points of view in a multi-perspective attitude towards reality. However, openness is considered as a valuable skill and trait in all kinds of professional careers. Even in jobs involving high levels of routine work, openness can make the difference in placing the individual in the vantage point of suggesting productive change, based on a new mix of conditions and practices that can lead to more effective outcomes, even within the limited prospects of work routine.

Employers are, thus, appreciative of the ability to be open, irrespective of the creative make-up of the job at hand, since having an open mindset drives innovation at all circumstances; can give direction during changes in circumstances or organisational setting; can encourage others along the way, while it allows for attitudes and abilities to grow through constant learning, as part of self-development through being open.

 

Open Education Resources + Icebreakers

 

You can find below some sources and reading materials in order to delve a bit deeper into the concept of ‘openness’. These will help you to go through the exercises and gain the most out of this training unit:

 

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

Exercise 1: Openness as part of the ‘Big Five personality’ theory – Track where you stand!

 

The Big Five personality theory is the result of research across many years until recently, when the initial model was extended and optimised (Tupes, E.C., Christal, R.E.; "Recurrent Personality Factors Based on Trait Ratings," Technical Report ASD-TR-61-97, Lackland Air Force Base, TX: Personnel Laboratory, Air Force Systems Command, 1961. // Digman, J.M., "Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factormodel," Annual Review of Psychology, 41, 417-440, 1990 // Goldberg, L.R., "The structure of phenotypic personality traits," American Psychologist, 48, 26-34, 1993).

 

According to the theory and model, there are 5 core traits in the role of underlying dimensions that play a significant role in an individual’s personality. These traits are the following (built on the initial letters of each dimension, the model is also known by the name ‘OCEAN’):

 

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness (being/not being reliable, organised and methodical)
  • Extraversion (being/not being energetic, talkative, and assertive)
  • Agreeableness (being/not being friendly, compassionate, and cooperative)
  • Neuroticism (being emotional stable and tense, including experiencing often negative emotions)

 

For the needs of this training unit, the model offers itself as a tool to test one’s self in the dimension of Openness. According to the model, Openness involves 6 sub-dimensions:

 

  • Imagination (levels of using fantasy, perceiving/not perceiving the world as simple, being oriented/not oriented to facts rather than fantasy)
  • Artistic interests (levels of absorption in and appreciation of art and beauty, as well as aesthetic sensitivity)
  • Emotionality (awareness of own feelings and open expression of own emotions)
  • Adventurousness (eagerness to try new things and activities, preference/non-preference for familiar contexts and routine)
  • Intellect (enjoying/not enjoying abstract ideas, intellectual exercises, discussing intellectual issues. Intellect as a dimension in this model is more about an attitude, not to be confused with intelligence, which is an ability)
  • Liberalism (challenging/not challenging authority, conformity, stability and security)

 

What you need to do

 

Consider the 6 sub-dimensions of Openness above and think of the way you approach tasks, obligations, other people, ideas, change and challenges. Keep track of your actual behaviour and course of action in each of these sub-dimensions using a simple scale like ‘High-Average-Low’. Think mostly within the context of your professional life, or if there is not much experience in this, think of yourself along the way of dealing with diverse situations in your life, since openness is rather a way of dealing with life issues, which more than often spills or will spill over in your professional life as well. Once you have scored yourself, reflect on the following:

 

  • Do you know of others who have dealt with professional or life aspects in a more open or closed-off way than you? What was the outcome? What is it exactly that they have benefitted from their attitude? What does this suggest to you and your chosen attitude?
  • Which of the 6 sub-dimensions is/are the one(s) that you scored better on (having selected ‘High’ in the respective scale)? How did this score in the situation at hand help you?
  • Which of the 6 sub-dimensions is/are the one(s) that you scored worse on (having selected ‘Low’ in the respective scale)? What was the impact of this for you?
  • What is your combined score in ‘High’ and ‘Average’? If they count to 4 or more, you are already on the positive side of being ‘open’.
  • Think of the reasons you either scored ‘High’ or ‘Low’ in certain dimensions. Why is it so, and how could you change your attitude? (examine life or work experiences, think of yourself as a young child, a pupil at school, the way you react to ‘changes of plans’, the way you organise your day, your holidays, or even the path you take when driving or walking back home.

 

For a more elaborate assessment of your performance in Openness, you can use this free, online test:

https://www.truity.com/test/how-open-are-you

 

Exercise 2: Turning assumptions from barriers to facilitators of openness

 

Assumptions seem to be the main barriers in achieving the state of being open. More than this, it is our propensity to hold assumptions as truths, rather than beliefs. When facing, or about to face a situation, a relationship, a new idea, assumptions seem to form the first level of reaction, even at a subconscious level.

 

Openness, as already demonstrated, is considered a personality trait. Those who lack this trait can ‘train’ themselves to deal with assumptions in order to minimise their effect as barriers to openness. This in turn makes the process of tackling assumptions a learned skill, that eventually can lead to openness.

 

In the following video, assumptions are analysed and brought forward in order to be challenged and ideally suspended themselves; that is, turned from barriers to facilitators of openness.

 

The Magical Assumptions behind Openness

https://youtu.be/67m0ucdAr1w

 

What you need to do

 

Watch the video and reflect on the two situations presented, in order to first understand the power of assumptions.

Try to recall real-life situations out of your experience where you have been either as the producer of assumptions in a relevant situation, or the observer of assumptions made by others on the face of these situations.

Keep track of the process suggested in the video in order to minimise the power of assumptions, using their supposed qualities as tools towards that goal (registering assumptions, suspending belief so that new ideas can emerge, challenging assumptions).

 

Then, judging from the outcome in those situations ask yourself the following questions:

 

  1. a) In what way have your assumptions affected the outcome of a situation? In the case when another person has shared her/his assumptions in a situation, ask yourself the same question.
  2. c) Reflect on how often you tend to make assumptions in diverse situation and examine the power of them in your case.
  3. d) Reconsider the ‘scenario’ of a situation and think of what the outcome would be if you tried to bring your assumptions to the surface, in order to turn them into something that can be challenged.
  4. e) Think of possible situations when assumptions have proved to be a ‘false alarm’ and made you pay the cost of not being open.
  5. f) In the case that you can recall situations where you fought against assumptions, try to recall, in detail if possible, about the process you followed to deactivate those assumptions.

 

At a meta-cognitive level, this kind of mental process will gradually help you to become more and more aware of your assumptions and prepare you to work against them in a similar manner in future situations.

 

 

Next steps

Having completed these exercises, can you think of any evidence you have that demonstrates your openness? What would someone who knows you well say about your openness skills?

 

Make some notes now.

 

Remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When you are thinking about how you have demonstrated these soft skills, draw from all your life experiences (both in and outside the workplace). You can include these as evidence in your portfolio. Examples may thus include openness skills as applied in various contexts, which demonstrate both the level of understanding openness, in addition to the benefits of openness for you and others.

Lastly, think of openness as a cross-cutting trait and as a skill that can positively impact the development of other skills, especially those within Module 2 (Context: How we work).

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

Evidence based story

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated the skill of Openness? Look at the example below for some guidance.

 

Sara has been working as a secretary for many years. This job position has helped her to acquire excellent communication skills in order to collaborate with all employees and management staff. One reason why all her colleagues really appreciate her and her work, is that she always succeeds in meeting objectives, by constantly avoiding being one-track minded.

 

From the everyday tasks to those which require more time, planning, and managing diverse persons and personal characteristics, Sara holds it as a rule to never allow her thoughts to be preoccupied, rush into making judgements without acquiring enough information first, or ‘lock herself’ in a certain course of action, just because it sounds as the most convenient or familiar to her.

 

She approaches tasks, projects and persons as a challenge whereby she can be creative and connect supposedly irrelevant elements that come into play. More importantly, she always monitors her way of doing things and checks results in terms of effectiveness and productivity, by ensuring at the same time a healthy and professional balance in work-place relationships, within and beyond the company she works for. She reflects on her actions and their results to fine-tune behaviour and strategy to remain open to future situations.

 

Now it’s your turn!

 

Write an example of when you have demonstrated openness and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]

 

Resilience

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Resilience

The ability to adapt and cope with stress.

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

Resilience at work refers to an individual’s ability to deal with stressful or tough situations. A resilient person has a large capacity to cope with pressure and overcome barriers in the workplace. Resilience can be learnt and cultivated by building habits that support and strengthen this ability to cope with stress.

 

 

Why is this an important skill?

Employers value resilience in potential employees, as they are likely to be better equipped for dealing with dynamic work environments and challenges at work. Resilient employees are more likely to remain focussed during difficult times, be future-oriented and curious to learn.

Resilience helps employees to deal with stress in the workplace. Stressful work environments can negatively impact on organisations, therefore resilient employees are attractive to employers, as they are less likely to be affected by stress.

Facing setbacks and challenges at work is almost inevitable. Resilient employees will not perceive this negatively but will be able to ‘bounce back’ and learn from their experience.

Resilience is closely linked to workplace wellbeing, which can be affected by social lives, leisure pursuits, mental and physical health. Happier and healthier employees are more likely to perform well.

 

 

Open Education Resources + Icebreakers

 

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

 

 

Exercise 1: Energy Givers and Energy Takers

 

This exercise is designed to help you identify the overall energy givers and energy takers in your life, to help you to see the bigger picture and work out which areas require greater focus for improved satisfaction and productivity.

Consider the nine ‘life domains’ as identified by the NDTI (n.d.) (see image below). It is important that when evaluating one aspect of our lives, e.g. work, we understand how the many other factions of our lives influence this. In the image below, you will see how your identity can be divided into nine key areas, each one just as important as another. Using this image, take a few minutes to think of what you could include in each domain.

 

 

 


 

Activity

Research a potential employing organisation

Do the laundry

Get a haircut

Send off job application

 

Once you have completed this, put a ‘+’ or a ‘-‘ next to each activity to indicate whether this task either gives you energy or takes your energy away (download here the Activity template).

 

Example:

 

Activity

Energy – giver or taker?

Research a potential employing organisation

+

Do the laundry

-

Get a haircut

+

Send off job application

+

 

Now review your list. How is the balance between energy givers and energy takers? Are there any steps you could take to increase the number of energy givers?

Think about your identity domains (see above image). Are there any that you have not covered on your list? And if so, would it boost your energy to do so? E.g. a creative person who does nothing to do with the ‘arts’ domain may experience reduced energy, as they are not fulfilling their passion.

 

Notice the energy-giving activities. Think about why these activities give you energy and how you can incorporate more of this into your daily life. Do these activities have anything in common? Perhaps you notice that you get a lot of energy from tasks that involve interacting with others.

 

Completing this exercise can help you to become more aware of your overall energy levels and take more notice of the activities that boost and reduce your energy levels. With this knowledge, you will be more able to plan and structure your days to allow for a balanced workload. You will know which tasks to focus on when you need an energy boost and which tasks you can delay until you are feeling more resilient. Being able to manage your workload will enable you to remain productive and give you better control over your overall wellbeing.

 

Exercise 2: Dealing with Setbacks

 

Experiencing setbacks at work is somewhat inevitable. Therefore, we need to be able to cope with them and retain a positive mindset.

 

How we deal with setbacks is important. Do we respond with hope or despair? Do we say things like “I knew I couldn’t do it” and “this was never going to work” or do we ask, “what can we learn from this?” or say “we tried our best! Better luck next time”. Taking a positive approach to setbacks demonstrates resilience.

 

Part A:

 

Think about how you dealt with a recent setback. Did you face the situation with despair? Did it make you feel angry or disappointed? What did you think/say to yourself? What judgements did you make about yourself and/or others if something fails? Were you critical? Did you allow yourself to fail? Write down your thoughts.

 

Part B:

 

Now think about how you could have responded to these setbacks with hope. Try to replace each negative comment with a positive one. Try considering what your manager’s expectations were and what you could have done to achieve this. How could you have impressed them? What could you still do/have done to add to the results to improve them? Try using the table below to help you (download here YOUR Reframing template)

 

Your Original Thoughts/Comments

Positive Reframing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By retaining a positive mindset and approaching the situation with hope, you are more likely to improve the situation by finding alternative ways to reach the desired result. Furthermore, even when it is not possible to change the outcome, facing a setback is still a valuable experience to have and learn from.

 

Tips

 

  • Next time you face a setback, try to consider the following:
  • Is there anything you can still do to improve the situation?
  • Ask for feedback, where possible, so that you can learn from it
  • Analyse the situation – what worked well? What was challenging?
  • What could you do differently next time?
  • How would a resilient person react to this situation?

 

Source: SME Tools to Prevent Burnout e-learning ( https://www.losglobos.eu/form/burnout )

 

 

Next steps

Having completed these exercises, can you think of any evidence you have that demonstrates your resilience? What would someone who knows you well say about your resilience skills?

 

Make some notes now.

 

Remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When you are thinking about how you have demonstrated these soft skills, draw from all your life experiences (both in and outside the workplace). You can include these as evidence in your portfolio. Examples may include teamwork skills developed from being part of a sports team, resilience skills developed from moving to a new city for university or leadership skills developed through role as a society committee member of a local club.

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

 

Evidence based story:

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated the skill of resilience? Look at the examples below for some guidance.

  • When I was visiting another city on my own, I had my bag robbed. It had all of my money, ID and phone inside. I was really concerned about how I was going to get home, but I managed to stay calm and positive. I used the hotel phone and made a call to my dad, who was working in a nearby town. Together we managed to devise a plan to get me home safely.
  • During the first year of university, I was struggling to achieve a 2:1 on my essays. I persisted and attended extra classes related to essay writing. By the end of the year, I had developed a strong written ability and had learnt a lot about my own resilience.

 

Now it’s your turn!

 

Write an example of when you have demonstrated resilience and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]

 

 

Adaptability

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Adaptability

The ability to modify one’s thinking, attitudes or behaviours to better suit contexts and perform in different environments.

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

 

The digital era we live in demands from employees that they are  able to perform in a constantly changing environment. It is proven that great leaders seek out change in order to be innovative. Embracing change, remaining optimistic about it and seizing the opportunities that come with change is vital to succeed in the current climate. Possessing the skill of adaptability means not just embracing change, but showing resilience and emotional intelligence. Being adaptable is to possess the right set of skills that gets you ready to successfully face any challenging issues and constant changes in plans that are an intrinsic part of our time.

 

Why is this an important skill?

 

Adaptability is an essential skill you should train in order to make the most out of the unplanned situations you will keep having to face, not just in the workplace, but in your daily life.

The benefits of developing your adaptability are multiple. You will work without boundaries, always be open to new ideas and finding innovative solutions to problems. It will also lead you to anticipate contingencies and handle them with confidence. You will enjoy challenges, remain optimistic about them and won’t let fears or stress get in the way. In fact, research has found a clear link between job satisfaction and adaptability. 

Moreover, you will remain relevant in your workplace, being the employee always open to experiment with new techniques and strategies to achieve the best outcomes. Workplaces change faster than ever before, if you don’t know how to change with them, you will be left behind.

 

Open education Resources + Icebreakers

 

    • 4 Ways To Embrace Adaptability. Jeff Boss – Forbes

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2014/07/21/5-ways-to-embrace-adaptability/#47e6f2a75c49

    • How to Be More Adaptable at Work: 6 Exercises to Try. Clifford Chi - Hubspot

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-be-more-adaptable

    • 6 Ways To Improve Your AdaptAbility - Glenn A. Williams

https://www.glennawilliams.com/blog/2017/9/20/6-ways-to-improve-your-adaptability

  • 3 ways to measure your adaptability – and how to improve it. Natalie Fratto | TED Residency

https://www.ted.com/talks/natalie_fratto_3_ways_to_measure_your_adaptability_and_how_to_improve_it/transcript

 

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

 

Exercise 1: Assessing my level of adaptability

 

Let’s start by investing sometime thinking about how adaptable we currently are.

Below you will find a list of questions extracted from a typical job interview where the interviewer tries to assess your level of flexibility and adaptability in the workplace. Firstly, read through all the questions. Secondly, take your time to think about different situations you went through that were especially challenging in your life (both professional and personal) and real-life situations in which you experimented where the questions below could be applied.

Take your time to remember how those situations made you feel, your specific reactions and the consequences of your reactions. Now try to note down the answers to these questions being completely honest with yourself.

 

  • How do you adjust to changes you have no control over? (e.g. A person from your team decides to quit.)
  • If your co-workers had a “this is how we do it” attitude to learning something new, how would you try to convince them to follow a different, more effective method of working?
  • What are the biggest challenges you’re facing when starting a new job?
  • You have been working on a client’s project for a while, when your manager informs you that the project’s requirements changed suddenly. What would you do?
  • How do you re-adjust your schedule when your manager asks you to prepare a report within an hour? How do you make sure you don’t fall behind your regular tasks?
  • Describe a time you were assigned new tasks (e.g. due to job enrichment or promotion.) How did you adapt?
  • The new HR Manager implements formal, quarterly performance reviews for all employees. How would you prepare yourself and your team, if you were used to having only informal meetings?
  • Tell me about a time you had to learn how to use a new tool at work. How long did it take you to understand its features and use it daily?

 

Exercise2: Commitments to improve my adaptability

 

Phase 1:

 

Now give yourself again some more time to think about those challenging moments you went through, this time focusing on those where, on reflection, you are not so satisfied with how you handled them. The aim is to identify those moments where you didn’t react with the flexibility required to succeed and remain optimistic.

Now think, based on your answers in exercise 1, how could you have reacted better to those situations? If faced with the same situation now, how could you change your behaviour? The aim is to think about your development needs here. How do you think you could have better taken advantage of the situation and achieve more positive results? Make notes of your thoughts.

 

Phase 2:

 

To finalize the exercise you should now make a list with 2 columns, one where you identify the skills you need to develop which you identified related to your adaptability and flexibility towards change and challenges, and one with your ideas on how to train in such  skills from now on. Once your list has at least 5 skills to improve and details how to improve them, commit yourself to start implementing a personal training plan to develop them daily.  Come back to this list in a set time period to update it and consciously log your improvements. 

 

 

WHAT AM I LACKING?

HOW CAN I TRAIN TO IMPROVE

 

1.       Remaining calm when something unplanned comes up

 

 

 

1.       When any plan of my daily personal/professional life changes unexpectedly, note down a list of the positive opportunities and outcomes resulting from this unplanned change.

 

 

 

Next steps

In order to keep training your adaptability you should remember how important it is to learn from others, by taking notes and not being afraid to ask questions.

Now is the moment to adapt all you have worked on previously to remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When finding examples to demonstrate skills,  it is  valid to draw upon  all your life experiences. These examples can be used in your job interviews, application letters and even in your CV.

Adaptability is the soft skill that will help you be highly appreciated by organisations and will also help you find renewed optimism about your career.

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

 

Evidence based story

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated the skill of adaptability? Look at the examples below for some guidance.

 

  • When I was at University, one professor left halfway through the semester due to health reasons and another one came in to replace him/her. Unfortunately, the teaching and evaluating methods of the second professor were totally different from those of the first one. I had to adapt very quickly to the new method and, at the end of the semester, I managed to pass the exam with excellent results.
  • During my time at university, I had several flatmates. The fact of changing flatmates implies numerous changes in one's life. When you are used to a lifestyle of a person it is not easy to get used to the one of another person, especially if it consistently differs from yours. When I first had to face this change it was complicated, nevertheless I managed to stay calm and get used to the new flatmate without creating conflict when I did not like something.

 

Now it’s your turn!

Write an example of when you have demonstrated resilience and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]

 

 

Self efficacy

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Self-efficacy

A belief in oneself and an ability to develop

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

 

Self-efficacy is the ability of an individual to identify and assess their own strengths and weaknesses. In addition, self-efficacy promotes an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of those around us. Through self-efficacy, individuals will experience an increase in their ability to influence the course of events despite uncertainty, setbacks and temporary failures.

 

Why is this an important skill?

 

Self-efficacy was researched extensively by Albert Bandura, who describes it as "the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations." In other words, it is a belief in one’s ability to succeed.

Therefore, self-efficacy is important because it fosters self-belief in personal successes. This, in turn, develops a stronger understanding of yourself and the ways in which you can increase your strengths and awareness of your weaknesses.

 

Open Education Resources + Icebreakers

 

Have a look at some of the following materials before completing the exercises. Reflect on how and when these skills have been applied by you or someone else.

 

 

 

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

 

Exercise 1: Positive Affirmations

 

Look at the positive affirmations below, choose one which is relevant to you (if none of them feel relevant, create one of your own). You should try and entwine this affirmation into your day – chant it in the morning, say it to yourself in the mirror, write it in your diary – whichever way works best for you.

 

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions

 

I attribute my success to my efforts and determination

 

I am worthy

 

I am beautiful

 

I am full of love

 

I am grateful for my life

 

I find joy in everyday

 

I make myself better everyday

 

I am learning

 

I find beauty in ordinary things

 

I am free

 

I am powerful

 

I am independent

 

I am unapologetically myself

 

I am at peace

 

I am successful in whatever I do

 

I am energetic

 

I have the power to change myself

 

I am wonderful

 

Exercise 2: Meditation and Visualisation

 


 

Meditation is a key player when it comes to mindfulness and wellbeing. Through mindfulness, one is able to become more present in the moment. Mindfulness and self-efficacy are closely linked, as when you become more mindful, your awareness of your goals and performance increases. Therefore, those who are seeking to increase their self-efficacy often practice meditation.

 

Below are some simple meditation guidelines for beginners:

 

  1. Get into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Breathe naturally and try not to control the breath.
  4. Focus on your breath and how each inhalation and exhalation affect your body. You should be able to notice slight movements throughout your body as you breathe.
  5. If your attention strays, bring it back to your breath. A wandering mind is not a failure!
  6. Maintain this meditation for two to three minutes.
  7. Evaluate how the meditation made you feel and how you feel now that you have completed it.

 

Many people include meditation in their daily routine and they claim that it makes them more productive and mindful. Why not try introducing meditation into your routine?

 

 

Next steps

Having completed these exercises, can you think of any evidence you have that demonstrates self-efficacy? Think of a time in the past when you were particularly successful and had belief in yourself. Amplify those memories in your mind’s eye. Where were you? What did you do? What were you feeling? What positive self-talk were you telling yourself?

 

Make some notes now.

 

Can you bring forward any of those past feelings into the present? What do you know about yourself? What self-knowledge contributes to your self-efficacy?

 

Remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When you are thinking about how you have demonstrated these soft skills, draw from all your life experiences (both in and outside the workplace). You can include these as evidence in your portfolio. Examples may include teamwork skills developed from being part of a sports team, resilience skills developed from moving to a new city for university or leadership skills developed through role as a society committee member of a local club.

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

 

Evidence based story

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated the skill of self-efficacy? Look at the examples below for some guidance.

 

  • Cynthia has just accepted a job position in a role she has never performed before, but feels that she has the ability to learn and perform her job well.
  • Richard has achieved a low grade on a maths test. Maths is his strongest subject, and he always scores above 80%. He is aware that he was very sick the week before the test and was unable to attend class for three days; therefore, he knows that the low grade is not representative of his mathematical ability.

 

Now it’s your turn!

 

Write an example of when you have demonstrated self-efficacy and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]

 

 

Motivation

MODULE 1 About Me

 

Motivation

Having an incentive or a strong desire to succeed in some pursuit.

 

 

 

Introduction to the soft skill

 

Motivation is the urge to behave or act in a way that will satisfy your wishes, desires, or goals. Psychologists believe that motivation is rooted in a basic impulse to optimise well-being, minimise physical pain, and maximise happiness. In a work sense, it is demonstrated by employees who are energised and have an incentive to prosper, so reach higher levels of success and add greater value to the company through their performance. There are many benefits of being motivated, both for individuals and for organisations.

 

Why is this an important skill?

 

Employers value motivation because it can lead to increased productivity and allow an organisation to achieve higher levels of output, improving the likelihood of meeting company goals and increasing profits. Being motivated demonstrates a good work ethic within the company and the positivity can be infectious within the team. Motivated employees are often more committed and benefit from greater work satisfaction.

Some personal benefits can include increased energy levels, resulting in higher focus, better performance and greater happiness when successful. Furthermore, motivation helps with effective time management, as when you want to succeed, you often become better organised and allocate set times and deadlines to tasks; in turn this can build self-confidence, as you feel more in control from better planning. By understanding what motivates you to do better, you can enhance your own performance for future goals, such as getting a job or a promotion.

 

Open Education Resources + Icebreakers

 

Have a look at some of the following materials before completing the exercises. Reflect on how and when these skills have been applied by you or someone else.

 

Have a look at some of the following materials before completing the exercises. Reflect on how and when these skills have been applied by you or someone else.

 

 

Exercises to help you develop this skill

Exercise 1: Mindmap

 

Employers want to see evidence of drive and motivation in candidates, so it is valuable to undertake some self-analysis to identify what your drivers are.

Think of the most motivated person you know. It could be a parent, teacher, friend, family member or colleague. Analyse how they show they are motivated in their behaviour. How do they communicate? What do they do? What have you noticed about them?

Using the example below to help you, create a mind map of their motivation. You can download your editable Motivation Mindmap here. In the square boxes, provide examples of a time they demonstrated motivation and in the surrounding circles, indicate which behaviours they demonstrated during this time. Highlight or underline the behaviours with one colour of your choice.

 

 

Now it is time to identify how you have been motivated in your behaviour.

 

What did you do? How would people have known you were motivated? Is there something important that you learnt from that time? Where were you? What activities were you doing? Why were you engaged and motivated? How does that feed forward into your current situation?

 

Take a minute to think of some examples and add these to your mind map. When have you demonstrated motivation? What behaviours did you exhibit?

 

Then use a second, different colour to highlight these qualities of yours. If you find that you share a trait with the motivated person you have chosen, use a third colour of your choice to indicate that you both have this quality (see example below to help you).

 

By the end of the exercise, you should have a diagram that looks a bit like the one below. What have you learnt from completing this exercise?

 

This should help you to learn from someone who is motivated, going forward, recognise that you share some characteristics that you admire and also identify your unique motivation traits too.

 

Think about what unique traits you have that distinguish you from others. How could you use this to your advantage when finding a job? How could you apply this trait in the future to help you be more motivated?

 

Exercise 2: ‘Motivation Rope’

 

It is human nature to move towards things which we find interesting and stimulating and away from things which cause us distress, pain or do not interest us.

 

What are your drivers? Are you focusing your search around your strengths?

 

Imagine a piece of rope. You could draw it on a big sheet of paper. To the right add TOWARDS and to the left write AWAY FROM. The centre of the rope is the NEUTRAL zone. Think about all your activities in life currently and in the past: work experience, hobbies, prior jobs, internships and volunteering, social life and try to identify what you felt motivated by, or unmotivated by. If you felt motivated, then write the experience under or near to ‘Towards’ depending on how motivated you felt. Do the same with unmotivated. For example, you may find that from past work experience in a restaurant, you tend to gravitate towards teamwork, as you enjoy working with others. Equally, you may want to move away from repetitive work, as you seek more challenging tasks.

 

Your ‘away from’ should work as a tool of identifying areas you don’t want to work on. Your ‘towards’ can make you ask yourself ‘What could you do to fully make the most of these motivations, and use them for success?’ ‘What does this tell you about yourself?’ ‘Does your current job search match your ‘toward’ ideas?’ ‘Are your strengths and job search fields aligned?’

 


 

Sourcedfrom:

https://pixabay.com/illustrations/risk-balance-tightrope-business-4097298/

 

 

Example: Seema and career decisions.

 

Seema is a fine art graduate who has graduated recently, but has found it hard to get a job. She chose the degree because she loves to be creative and technical, but is now unsure of her career prospects.

 

Here’s her rope line.

 

 

 

After analysing this, Seema realised that she does not feel motivated by doing a job where she feels isolated and does not have a variety of tasks. She has also recognised a career path she does not want to pursue – jewellery making.

 

When looking at what she is motivated towards, Seema realises that she likes being creative. Combining this with her passion for designing and decorating, along with her mathematical skills, she realises that a career in Interior design could be perfect for her! She would work with people and always have diverse tasks. As she has a degree linked to this role, Seema’s next steps would be to research the career, and start finding opportunities for work or experience.

 

Now you try!

 

 

Next steps

Having completed these exercises, can you think of any evidence you have that demonstrates your motivation? What would someone who knows you well say about your motivational skills?

 

Make some notes now.

 

Remember that soft skills are not just learnt in the workplace! When you are thinking about how you have demonstrated these soft skills, draw from all your life experiences (both in and outside the workplace). You can include these as evidence in your portfolio. Examples may include teamwork skills developed from being part of a sports team, resilience skills developed from moving to a new city for university or leadership skills developed through role as a society committee member of a local club.

 

Why don’t you add this skill to your portfolio? [hyperlink]

 

 

Evidence based story

Can you provide some evidence of when you have demonstrated the skill of motivation? Look at the examples below for some guidance.

 

  • In my final year of college, I wanted to get a B in Biology, because this would give me enough points to get into the right university. I became really motivated, studying every day in order to ensure that I could achieve my goal. In the end the hard work paid off, I got a B and I got a place in the university of my choice.
  • In my second year at university I was the goal defender on the netball team. Our team was doing really well in the national competition. This success resulted in myself, and the other team players, becoming motivated. Whilst we didn’t win the competition, we did place the highest of our university in the past ten years, which was amazing.

 

Now it’s your turn!

 

Write an example of when you have demonstrated motivation and it will be added to your soft skills. [hyperlink]