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Why significant life events matter in assessing potential?

Here at My Creative Brain, there is one phrase that unites us all: equal access to opportunities. We establish our philosophy and purpose on the idea that in this fast-paced world, where a skill’s shelf-life is about 2 years and context changes every 5 meters to the right, traditional professional and academic points of reference […]

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Here at My Creative Brain, there is one phrase that unites us all: equal access to opportunities. We establish our philosophy and purpose on the idea that in this fast-paced world, where a skill’s shelf-life is about 2 years and context changes every 5 meters to the right, traditional professional and academic points of reference are not sufficient to formulate a successful development plan.

           “You can’t learn in school what the world is going to do next year.” -Henry Ford

We are here to expand this quote since it seems you can’t learn that at work either! It is in our nature to look at the past in order to predict the future. We do the similar when trying to retrace steps which led someone to success.

Beware!

Out of 10 latest research studies analyzing what great leadership looks like, 8 drew conclusions looking at very homogenous sample group – old, white man.

That goes deep into systemic problems of fewer women on top, lack of ethnic diversity but that’s a whole another topic. The most important is to notice that development programs are often modelled after these recommendations! How can you expect applying the same formula will make you thrive as well? No offence, but the reality these, in many ways, great leaders, were taking their initial career steps in, the way they learned, process information, not to mention the changes that occurred in the world over the past 30 years…

           You need a growth formula that accounts for all the details that make you, you. Guess what, we provide just that. And in this post, we will give away the secret to this: your significant life experiences.

 Why?

           Why are significant life events such a big deal for us? Well, allow us to elaborate. Robust psychological research supports that major life events cause changes that are unavoidable for our survival. Events that impose novel behavioural, cognitive, and/or emotional demands help us acquire new skills that eventually promote adaptation.

The clock is ticking from early on! Even early-life experiences are capable of shaping our personality and thinking patterns. The list of major life-changing situations is long and exceeds the typical professional steps like for instance the first time you finally stood up for yourself, leaving family home early on, losing a dear person abruptly, major heartbreak or betrayal. We are mindful of the importance of the subjectivity here, even a piece of important feedback or a realization about ourselves can trigger a reflection that ultimately can change the way we assign meaning to events.

And why does that matter? Because the meaning and nuance connected with each experience are what hugely impacts how we process it and what we develop as a result of going through that experience. To give you a very prescriptive example – rape victims (something that would rarely make it to a promotion appraisal or an interview) often assign emotions of shame, blame, embarrassment, fear, numbness, overwhelm to their trauma. Amount of work they put in to process this traumatic event is unimaginable and leaves an imprint on their character, mindsets and approaches they apply, as well, in their professional life.

Let us zoom-in on the embarrassment. Having worked through it, one can find a way this shapes their story and discover how loud their voice can be heard. That will impact a person’s confidence, strengthen their resilience, allow to become authentic in setting boundaries and develop a strong sense of self-awareness, all these being crucial in a professional setting. All normally not accounted for in any kind of assessments of our potential. Is this person ready for the next career step? Maybe. Can they tell us? Probably not. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Now, think. Each of us has encountered major life events in different life phases. Each one of us has a unique idiosyncrasy that distinguishes us. Each of us processes the experiences in our own way. The combinations, you understand, are endless.

Only a formula that sheds the necessary light on your specific thinking patterns, is capable of identifying what individual elements that can accelerate YOUR progress. -Mary Senkowska

The devil seems to be in the details. That’s what most of the major developmental theories and educational programs lack.

In what ways?

           It is crucial to understand that there are several ways, major life events influence our personalities, the way we process information and most importantly how we assign meaning to the events going forward. Research has some hints on important events that tend to universally alter specific traits. For instance, it has indicated that men become more extroverted after they become fathers and that work experiences improve dependability and organization skills. Women, on the other hand, shift priorities and often times redefine what professional success means to them. A lot of research is still required to draw firm conclusions; however, it is undeniable that our experiences shape us cognitively. Another keyword on this topic is interpretation. Different people evaluate the importance of experience in very different ways. The meaning each of us gives to our experiences is unique and usually correlates with other aspects of our personalities and system we are a part of. Therefore, it is necessary to address these differences in order to optimize the results of a personalized assessment. 

How?

           Most assessment models focus on professional titles, academic education, achievements, and other information that try to prove expertise. Often, this approach results in canned reports that use similar descriptions for vastly different individuals. This undeniably hinders accuracy and progress and now more than ever, a cultural transformation is needed! Now, especially that traditional career paths are becoming obsolete and benchmarking one candidate versus another virtually impossible. Therefore, we choose to consider elements that truly make you the person that you are; your professional and personal experiences as well as the specific context in which it occurs, personal interpretations, emotion management, and thought processes you’ve developed.

You are a holistic human being, and we see you this way. This is why we’ve developed a methodology that allows us to guide you in designing a hyper-personalized plan that aims to accelerate your development in your unique way.

Sounds interesting? Connect with us, let’s talk about how you can accelerate your or your employees’ progress, especially in this reality of pandemic.

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