APPENDIX 6

Best Self-Portrait Best Practices

Excellent

Because no special layout requirements were set for this paper, I decided to use this opportunity and write the intro before I pass any tests identifying strengths and talents or ask anyone’s opinion.

What I wanted to do first was take a moment and think on my strong sides without any biases. While I always saw myself as a positive thinker (which could be the first of worthy traits), it turned out that I see my own faults much clearer than positive traits, even when trying to concentrate on the strengths. Whenever I think on a strong side, I can find the case when this trait has not worked so well. So, probably self-criticism or self-objectivity is another good trait. One more moment that comes to my mind is an intention to treat people in a good way and be a good person. Flexibility is a trait that can be considered as a positive as well.

These are the personality tones that are most obvious to me, but now I would like to take some tests and talk to my boss, subordinate, and boyfriend to understand whether what I see is similar to what is seen by others. These three people were chosen, because they are in touch with me on a daily basis. The interviews were hold in an informal way, where interviewees were allowed to talk without any mentioning of tests results or other spoilers or influences from my side.

So, let us take a look at the results I received (similar traits are marked in the same colors):

The correlation of my own vision with opinion of others shows that all the traits I have defined initially are mentioned by interviewees as well. So, I have no illusions about myself. In the meantime, it is really pleasant to find out that the most commonly mentioned strengths are related to my intention to be nice to people, which means that I succeed in that direction.

Own vision versus other sources

Own vision

Authentic Happiness Tests (VIA Survey of Character Strengths, Brief Strengths Test, The Grit Survey)

Company MD (direct supervisor)

Subordinate

Boyfriend

Positive thinker

Appreciation of beauty and excellence

Ability to see the full picture (perfect accomplishment, even if only general information or direction is given, not a detailed task)

Intuition (always know what exactly is the best action in any situation)

Beautiful

Self-criticism/self-objectivity

Judgment, critical thinking, open-mindedness

Ability to work independently, without being controlled

Logic, practical, rational thinking (ability to handle even finance issues)

Ready to help

Treating people in a good way (efforts to be a good person)

Creativity, ingenuity, originality

Precision and fast working pace

Pathfinder, explorer (compared to Columbus)—looking for new challenges and fresh ideas to try

Sincere and honest

Flexibility—meaning ability to operate in different circumstances, communicate with different people, even if I do not like it that much

Forgiveness and mercy

Rational thinking and understanding of technologies combined with creativity (both figures and art, which is rare and valuable combination)

Sophistication, good taste, quality and femininity

Sensitive

Kindness and generosity

Reliable (no need for reminders, everything will be done in time and in a good manner)

Fun, interesting to be with

Passion for long-term goals (suggestion to accomplish very difficult challenges)

Work and time management, priority setting (huge work flow, but high efficiency; able to manage lots of things)

Optimistic

Open and friendly (ability to communicate with people in a pleasant way, with empathy, respecting others)

Generous, Kind

Responsible

Modest

Polite

Another great surprise is the fact that other people and tests showed much more positive feedbacks about me than I could come up with myself. Some things seemed natural and for granted (e.g., appreciation of beauty and excellence, forgiveness and mercy, reliability, responsibility, honesty), while they turned out to be very important at work and in personal life. Moreover, I found out that some traits I always perceived more as cons are highly appreciated and evaluated by people around me (modesty, sensitivity, sometimes excessive politeness). On top of that, I noticed that my vision of myself may differ from day to day (depending on the mood, success of hair stylist, presence of the sun, and other factors), while others see me more or less the same.

It is also curious to take a closer look on how vision is different by type of my relationships with interviewees (please refer to the following table). Of course, my boyfriend is the one who knows me the best from personal point of view, which is the reason why he mentioned personal traits only. In the meantime, people from working environment focus more on business issues. Still, it is obvious that some personal pros are relevant for working processes as well. Besides, these qualities differ depending on working relationships type (e.g., being friendly and responsible—is important for supervisor, being creative and sophisticated—for subordinate). On top of that, the same traits are seen differently by different people: appreciation of beauty is the same as sophistication, good taste, and even sensitivity, while responsibility in combination with honesty may be perceived as reliability. Unexpectedly, the most frequently mentioned talent is creativity, which I supposed was the part of my job responsibilities as a marketing person.

As a result, it is clear to me that I am much better person than I could even imagine. It is nice to know that people around me are ready to find time to support me (even MD agreed to free some time in a tight schedule for the interview and discussion needed to prepare this paper). Even more, they see me as a good person and valuable colleague.

The idea of what my strengths are was occupying my mind for some time already, but I never succeeded to find the answers until today.

Differences by source of information

Own vision

Authentic Happiness Tests (VIA Survey of Character Strengths, Brief Strengths Test, The Grit Survey)

Company MD (direct supervisor)

Subordinate

Boyfriend

Positive thinker

Appreciation of beauty and excellence

Ability to see the full picture (perfect accomplishment, even if only general information or direction is given, not a detailed task)

Intuition (always know what exactly is the best action in any situation)

Beautiful

Self-criticism/self-objectivity

Judgment, critical thinking, open-mindedness

Ability to work independently, without being controlled

Logic, practical, rational thinking (ability to handle even finance issues)

Ready to help

Treating people in a good way (efforts to be a good person)

Creativity, ingenuity, originality

Precision and fast working pace

Pathfinder, explorer (compared to Columbus)—looking for new challenges and fresh ideas to try

Sincere and honest

Flexibility—meaning ability to operate in different circumstances, communicate with different people, even if I do not like it that much

Forgiveness and mercy

Rational thinking and understanding of technologies combined with creativity (both figures and art, which is rare and valuable combination)

Sophistication, good taste, quality and femininity

Sensitive

Kindness and generosity

Reliable (no need for reminders, everything will be done in time and in a good manner)

Fun, interesting to be with

Passion for long-term goals (suggestion to accomplish very difficult challenges)

Work and time management, priority setting (huge work flow, but high efficiency; able to manage lots of things)

Optimistic

Open and friendly (ability to communicate with people in a pleasant way, with empathy, respecting others)

Generous/ kind

Responsible

Modest

Polite

This task definitely helped me to analyze myself, focusing on the positive traits, and finally, I can see that there are reasons to be proud of myself and go further with even more positive expectations and be grateful. In fact, now I am more confident than ever and see the direction for both personal and career development in future.

I guess the best conclusion might be the quote of my supervisor: “You have no right to be so humble about your strength, because you have really convincing reasons to be proud of yourself.” All the feedbacks I received, including this one, were worth given exercise to be fulfilled!

PS: Here is the visualization of my strengths:

Good

From an early age, I have always been developing and acting on ideas. I would say that I am not the traditional entrepreneur; I like to consider myself more as an ideas addict. I am always armed with my notepad rather than an iPad, constantly jotting down ideas and brainstorming.

I get a feeling of excitement when sharing ideas and mapping out plans with other people. In the development stages, I often get in a bit of a zone, potentially even slightly over excitable, but this passion and energy often rubs off on to other people. During the developmental stages, I am quite introverted, but during the sharing stages, I am very much extraverted. The sensation of appreciation and support gives me a real fillip, and the energy to give it a shot!!

I remember, at my 21st birthday celebrations, my father stated to close friends and family that I tend to live life on the edge. I think this is a fair observation to sum up my attitude while taking on new challenges and seizing on opportunities. This is the main reason why I chose the path to work for myself and be an entrepreneur.

I am a great believer in the power of the mind. I often refer to this poem when I feel not so confident and doubtful of my abilities and need a kick up the backside. It inspires me to think differently and adopt new approaches to help me overcome moments of difficulty in life:

If you think you are beaten, you are,

If you think you dare not, you don’t.

If you like to win, but you think you can’t,

It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,

For out in the world we find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will.

It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,

You’ve got to think high to rise,

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before

You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go

To the stronger or faster man.

But soon or late the man who wins,

Is the man who thinks he can.

~ C. W. Longenecker ~

Creativity is the secret to my success in being able to develop ideas and think intuitively. At school, I enjoyed my fine art course, and I know when I find the time to paint time seems to fly by. Again, I fall back into the zone!! This is the case when working in any creative form, whether it is making films, brainstorming, designing concepts, photographing; I like to think I can offer a creative edge and mindset to almost anything. Before moving to Latvia, I was working in schools assisting teachers to teach traditional subjects such as geography, history, math, etc. in a creative way, using with film, painting, or drama. A colleague once gave me the feedback “working with you Aus, I learnt that business can be creative.” I will never forget, this and I always try to encourage those I associate with and manage to be creative and intuitive in their work; it certainly makes it more fun and enjoyable!

I am fairly sensitive and responsive to other people’s feelings and concerns; I have a high sense of emotional intelligence. I always try to see the positives and strengths in other people’s personalities and can get frustrated at times when they do not utilize them to their full potential. I tend to set myself very ambitious targets and others very high expectations of others. This, at times, can cause friction, as more often than not conflicts are caused when expectations are not met, but I have learned to manage this more effectively relatively recently by establishing clearer expectations with people.

This heightened sense of personal intelligence is helping me with my new role as a father. Without a doubt, xxx is the best thing that has ever happened in my life and I am eternal grateful that wife and I have the opportunity to share such a beautiful and rewarding gift. It is so exciting monitoring his development and journey in life!! It also gives you a really deep understanding of what unconditional love is!

Clowning around with xxx is the best hobby anyone could ask for. I suppose this reflects my sense of humor. I am not able to remember and crack a load of jokes, but I often see the funny side and try not to take life too seriously… it is too short after all!! My eccentricness and impulsive outlook to life often creates some attention and laughs as a consequence.

All of my life I have been playing sport. My family is very sporty, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play many sports from an early age, both team and individual. Passion, enthusiasm, and eagerness to do my best are virtues I take on to the sports field. I would not say that I am especially gifted at any one particular sport, but I have the ability to learn and play any sport at a reasonable level fairly quickly. I think playing sport has really helped me to become a team player in all walks of life. It teaches you to respect others and a sense of fairness. After all, there is nothing worse than a person who is a bad sport.

I am in a period of my life where I need to lead by example. With the birth of my son and being the CEO of xxx, I obviously have more responsibilities than I had when I was 22. With responsibilities does come a sense of pressure. In my childhood, I was not so good at dealing with pressure, I would often get very nervous for exams and not succeeding. This, in some ways, has had a positive impact to always set high expectations and have big ambitions, but I also feel I have found ways to manage pressure more effectively. The RBS Leadership course has certainly helped me manage my thoughts, taught me strategies, and leveled my persona in quite a testing period of my life.

This openness and curiosity to learn new skills is the vehicle that has taken me on this exciting journey. Without this eagerness to respond to and also seek new opportunities, I would certainly not be writing this best-self portrait now. I still feel that I am reasonably young at heart, but because of the many experiences and people I have been fortunate to be acquainted with, I would say I have quite a reflective, rounded and wise outlook to life.

But, sometimes, I can overcomplicate life and what it means. Then, I reflect back to a saying that my father once told me. Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.

When playing golf or working on a project, I can find myself simply trying too hard. When this happens, I often try to take a step back, take a deep breath, and compose myself. It is then when the task in hand seems less daunting and achievable. I guess it is a case of being able to rationalize.

I am not particularly religious, but a good friend of the family who is vicar once told me during a very difficult time in my life. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” Should a genie give me one wish I would ask for in this world, I would simply ask him to encourage this philosophy to each and every one of us.

Thank you.

Less Than Good

I have divided my best-self portrait into two parts: professional (related to work) and private (related to out-of-office time).

Professional

As we quite recently (in April) had 360-degree evaluation at work, I already had feedback from my subordinates, colleagues, and superior. Certainly, there were also comments about some necessary improvements. However, in this paper, I will talk only about positive feedback. There will be following structure in this paper: initially I will display some specific comment that people told about me (I will use form he because these comments were prepared in written form and sent to the HR department), and then I will provide additional comments and interpretation from my side:

“He has strong skills of analytical thinking.” I would say that this is my strongest professional skill that differentiates me from a lot of other people. It is related both to analysis of numbers and analysis of processes. I can make qualitative analysis and interpretation of different data. I am able to put together a big picture from small pieces and can also divide a big picture to small pieces.

“He fulfils his duties with all his heart.” High level of responsibility also is one of my strongest qualities. If there is a task that I have to accomplish, then I will certainly execute it. I do not need additional motivation for this. Even if needed, then I will find some internal motivation because it is my responsibility and I have to do this. I do not like to disappoint people who rely on me.

“He is a competent person in his area, knowledgeable and constructive.” I chose sphere of activity where I knew that I can provide good results and constantly I improve my skills and knowledge that also helps improving professional results. For example, despite having one master’s degree, I am studying at RBS and going for second master’s degree.

“He is leading his department close to an excellence.” I know that I am as good leader as good is my team. Thus, I invest my time in order to develop my subordinates and increase their professional skills. Also, I organize different out-of-office events in order to strengthening collaboration between all team members.

“He is precise and almost never make mistakes.” I am accurate and always double-check data if they are important. Thus, I can avoid mistakes and people trust that information, which will be provided from my side, always is precise.

“He is always well prepared for meetings and can justify his viewpoint.” In order to be more constructive in the meetings, I always make preparation work before a meeting. I wrote down all questions where I would like to get answers, I prepare necessary data that can help analyze situation and make decision, I think about possible solution that we can use, and so on. Thus, I am always ready to answer on specific questions in meetings and ready to strongly argue my viewpoint.

“He is always friendly, open, and positive. It is easy to communicate with him.” I am positively minded. It helps me to move further through everyday life. Also, it helps in the communication process with other people because I am seeking for win–win situations where both parties become satisfied.

“He is loyal to the company.” As the company hired me, I am loyal to this company, and all my activities are directed for the interests of the company. Also, as the person, I am honest and never cheat. However, if needed for the company, I can bluff; that is completely different approach comparing with lying.

“He is correct and hold in respect others.” I have respect toward other people, regardless of their social status. Also, lower-level employees in our company produce certain result that is important in order to achieve main targets. Even if somebody makes mistake, I am not the judge who has to punish him. I can indicate him how to avoid mistakes in the future and improve performance.

Private

I asked for positive feedback about me from my family (wife and children) and friends. This feedback I received directly and by word of mouth. Thus, I will use a form you:

“You have a good sense of humor.” I can make different people laughing. Certainly I can be and I am serious in the important meetings, for example, with collaboration partners. However, if I see that a bit of cheerfulness will help to maintain a non-stressful atmosphere, then I naturally utilize my sense of humor even in these meetings.

“You spend much time with children despite hard load at work.” Certainly, the work itself is important, as it provides financial resources for me and my family. However, the family is the most important in my life, and thus, they get majority of my out of office time. I enjoy talking and playing with my kids and they also enjoy it.

“It is interesting to spend time with you because you are always oriented on some activities.” I prefer any activities comparing with sitting, eating, drinking, and talking. I would say that I am always in motion. Either these are some sport activities or playing table games or playing outdoor games, like photo hunting, and so on

“You take care of your physical shape.” I need a lot of internal energy in order to use it externally. Physical activities are the way how I can supplement the level of my internal energy. I am cycling in the summertime, going to swimming pool in the wintertime, and playing table tennis throughout the year.

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