Whether it is your little sister, nephew, or your own child, most of us are familiar with quickness and intensity that a child can learn that word. That can cause all of us to fear when we see that “ME” is the first of Dr. Laura Jana’s Qi (key) Skills. The last thing that any workplace needs is a group of intensely self-centered people. Fortunately, the “ME” Qi Skill is far from that image.[For an introduction to Dr. Laura Jana’s Qi Skills, please visit the introductory blog in this series]
The First Skill
The “ME” Qi Skill can be summed up with the words of business leadership guru, Peter Drucker, that success in the workplace will come to “those who know themselves – their strengths, their values, and how they best perform” (Drucker, 2017). The “Me” skill is self-awareness, self-control, and self-regulation. Rather than focusing on the external challenges that inspire the cry of “Mine!” in a toddler, the “ME” Qi Skill focuses on internal challenges that help us know ourselves better. President Harry Truman agrees with this element of human nature, “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.”
Knowing your strengths can be a challenge for a generation that received trophies for participation, however, there are other ways to determine your strengths. A good place to begin is your interests. What captures your attention? In a career path, one way to discover what interests you is job shadowing. These short-term exposures will allow you to imagine yourself in that position. Does it interest you? A “no” answer is as good as a “yes.”
As you self-reflect on your strengths, you will also be evaluating what challenges you; areas where you need to learn and grow. These challenges remind you of the value of being a life-long learner and help you set goals for continued growth. Another value of this self-reflection is being well prepared for a job interview. You can almost plan to be asked a question that addresses personal growth. A thoughtful answer based on a pattern of self-reflection will be impressive.
Another result of self-reflection is the establishment of a clear set of strongly held personal values. These core values that impact our personal relationships in the workplace and beyond might include integrity, diligence, accountability, and grit.
I have had many conversations with employers that simply want a few basic things from their teams. They want you to show up when expected, listen well, and be willing to learn. With those “Me” Qi Skills established, they will teach you the performance skills you need to help you and your employer succeed.
Hopefully, as you have read this post, you have a new view of how “ME First” can positively impact your work experiences. Each of the Qi Skills flows from this one. Remember the words of the man from Missouri, President Truman, self-discipline is the first victory.
Drucker, P. (2017). Managing Oneself. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation.
Jana, L. (2017). The toddler brain. Boston: Da Capo Press.