Ten tips for managing your self both personally and
1. Get off to a good start
- The start of your foundation year is an ideal time to
consider what matters most to you in your life. Take time to
reflect on how you would like your career to progress over the
coming period. You may want to spend some time identifying your
values which relate not only to your career, but those which
resonate with your personal life as well (eg ‘adventure’, ‘status’,
‘security’, ‘honesty’, ‘connection’). Then ask yourself: “What
would it take to ensure that my top values are honoured in my daily
2. Put your best foot forward
- When attending your inductions and networking, become
aware of how you present yourself in these new situations. How do
others perceive you? What impression do you make? And is this
consistent with the professional persona you wish to depict? If
not, polish up your appearance, behaviour and attitude for a more
consistently professional impact.
3. Make the most of support
- Before seeking support from senior colleagues, note down
the outcomes you would like from conversations and meetings.
Spending some time in advance to order your thoughts and questions
will help bring greater clarity and focus to your meeting, leading
to more valuable discussions. The added bonus of preparation:
you’ll look and feel more confident and professional.
4. Powerful portfolios
- In putting together your portfolio, organisation is key.
Have you identified any particular skills you may need in order to
update your portfolio with ease? Seek advice from others and model
your portfolio on examples from well-organised colleagues. Make a
commitment to yourself to take action now.
5. Know your self - Ask
colleagues what they consider to be your specific areas of strength
or unique expertise. What do others think you do particularly well
and with ease? Reminding yourself of these qualities can help
strengthen self belief. Similarly, by challenging any negative
thoughts and reframing negative beliefs and limiting assumptions,
you can create the foundation for overcoming blocks to your
6. Positive affirmations
– Allow your subconscious mind to work for, rather than
against you. Once you’ve identified the negative self-talk traps
(“I’m not assertive enough” or ‘’No one listens to my ideas”), try
introducing a more liberating and affirming statement. Make it
positive, personal and in the present tense and repeat it to
yourself and out loud many times a day, every day. “I’m confident,
competent and doing a great job.”
7. Check in – Knowing
yourself well will ensure your career decisions match your personal
aspirations, and not those imposed on you by others. As you
progress through foundation, have an honest conversation with
yourself from time to time. Be curious about what brings you joy
and satisfaction in your work. Refer back to your values and ask
· What do I enjoy
most about my work?
· What gives me
greatest satisfaction in my job?
· What would I miss
most if it wasn’t part of my next role?
8. Plan for success -
What skills, qualities and expertise does the successful candidate
possess which gets them the ideal job? Focus your efforts on
developing any areas to strengthen your CV/application and
interview techniques. Commit to your career by prioritising certain
events you’d like to attend. Make a plan – and then stick to
9. Enhance your well being
- Learn how to manage your response to stressors and build
inner resilience. Easier said than done, however you could explore
new ways of enriching your life. Discovering a new, healthy or
creative activity could help you to relax or boost energy levels.
Yoga, mindfulness and meditation, healthy cooking and eating,
creative expression (singing, music, dance, art) are just a few.
What could you try? When could you start?
10. Confident communication
- Practise being an authentically confident communicator
by paying attention to body language and non-verbal communication.
At your next presentation or meeting, try this:
· Sit or stand tall with
shoulders dropped, chest open and your gaze slightly upwards
· Relax your facial
· Breathe from your
diaphragm to project your voice
· Maintain good eye
contact – look at people, not at your shoes!
· Use open, slightly
animated hand gestures
· Use body language to
build rapport, eg match and mirror others
Kathleen Sullivan is part-time Teaching Fellow
for Managing Medical Careers at Health Education KSS.