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Develop Your Personal Philosophy in Four Steps

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We all operate from a personal philosophy, whether we are aware of it or not. When our career is in the helping professions, it is important that we take time to explore this notion of personal philosophy as it relates to our work; and further, as it relates to vocation as an opportunity for self-expression.

Step One – Examine your Personal Lens

Spend some time considering the make-up of your personal lens

  1. Identify values, attitudes, belief systems, personal experiences and assumptions – if you completed the self-reflective exercise in the previous blog, draw on your responses for this part
  2. What theoretical frameworks, ethical guidelines, and best practices form the foundation of your particular profession?
  3. What is the essence of the experience you hope to create for yourself?
  4. How can you engage in meaningful contribution
  5. Think about your personal style – your approach – how you do what you do in your unique and creative way.

Step Two – What Motivates You?

What are your personal motivations for working in the helping professions? What is your Inspired Intention? Here are some questions to guide your process:

  1. Did you experience a sense of calling, so often common amongst those who enter into a service vocation? If so, do you still feel called?
  2. Can you differentiate between an intrinsic (internal) motivating force and an extrinsic (external) one? For example, curiosity about others might be considered intrinsic in nature, while collecting the pay cheque would be an extrinsic motivator.
  3. What aspects of your work make you feel like jumping out of bed in the morning ready to dive right in?
  4. What motivators are most powerful for you right now? What motivators will likely be most powerful for you over the long haul?

Resist the urge to judge any motivating factor as right or wrong, good or bad. Embrace all the elements of motivation as a valid component of your experience. Some motivators will hold more power for you than others and will provide a wonderful source of information and learning for you as you reflect upon them.

Step Three – Draft Your Statement

Take all the information you have gathered in the exercises above and draft your personal philosophy statement. This is a living statement – you aren’t carving anything in stone! Here are some tips to help you with the process:

  1. Write your statement in present tense. For example, instead of saying, “I want to find opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways,” try “I have many opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways everyday.” Write and say it like it already exists.
  2. Use “I am.” These two words are very powerful so be sure to follow them with the purest intentions of what you wish to create in your life. Again, no “trying” or “wanting.” Focus on “being” and then “doing.”
  3. Ensure that you most deeply held values and beliefs at this time are reflected in your statement. This creates alignment and is very powerful.
  4. Focus on essence and experience as opposed to thinking in terms of a particular relationship, job position or employer, for example. Consider those elements that will make your experiences meaningful for you on a personal level.
  5. Seek congruence in your statement between your personal and professional life. Your personal philosophy statement is something that can guide you in all aspects of living.

Step Four – Live it Out Loud!

Bring your statement to life – live your mission in a conscious manner.

  1. Reflect daily on your statement and consider the ways in which you are living your philosophy and the ways in which you are challenged to do so.
  2. Refine your statement as you see fit and use it as a means for maintaining personal integrity in all aspects of your life.

Let’s get started!

Declare your Personal Philosophy Statements out loud right here!

Elizabeth Bishop is the creator of the Conscious Service Approach designed to support helping professionals to reconnect with and fulfill their desire to make a difference in the lives of those they support. Following the completion of a diploma in Developmental Services and a degree in Psychology and Religious Studies, she completed a Masters in Adult Education through St. Francis Xavier University, providing the opportunity to test and refine the elements of the Conscious Service Approach. Elizabeth is the host of Serving Consciously, a new show on Contact Talk Radio. Simply tune in to www.ctrnetwork.com and click Listen Live at 12pm PST every 2nd and 4th Friday.

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