Leading People and Organizations in Public Health Self-Reflection

4950 words (20 pages) Essay in Personal Development

08/02/20 Personal Development Reference this

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Introduction

The evidence-based Reflected Best Self Exercise was created by the Center for Positive Organizations at University of Michigan in 2004. The aim of the Reflected Best Self Exercise is to allow individuals to engage in a deep and critical self-reflection of their best-self moments in life so far. This tool allows individuals to discover, understand, focus and build upon the strengths in all aspects of their lives – personal, relational and situational. It allows individuals to apply these learnings to unleash their own capabilities and capitalize on their strengths constructively. Therefore, this strengths-based model of development paves a way for successful actions to occur.

 The Phase 1 process of this exercise involved reaching out to important individuals in my life – for example: family members, friends, coworkers, peers, professors, mentors, etc. – to write three short stories of when I was at my best. These influential individuals have seen me in different aspects of my life thus they have a honest perception of my strengths, contributions and talents. I was able to garner nine individuals, thus receiving an overwhelming total of twenty-seven responses and I was blown away by the eagerness of their ability to contribute to this exercise along with the sincerity and thoughtfulness of the responses. Some responses did indeed make me tear up a bit as they reminded of the moments which I had thought were not a big deal or that I did not make an impact, however, according to that individual, it was a huge gesture and contribution. Therefore, this exercise was a learning experience to see myself at my best through the eyes of a different individual. Simultaneously, I wrote three of my own best-self stories. It was extremely difficult and challenging to think of my strength-based moments as I truly do hone on my weaknesses and try to challenge and improve those underdeveloped skills. Afterwards, I analyzed and compiled the stories into common patterns and themes through a process of searching for repeated adjectives, nouns and verbs. The analysis of the common patterns and themes are highlighted in Appendix A – Table of Aggregated Story Reflections, and the patterns and themes are listed in relation to the frequency of the responses. As a result, an authentic reflected best-self portrait was articulated which captured the themes, patterns and declarations.

 The Phase 2 process of this exercise involved identifying and analyzing the personal, relational and situational enablers and blockers which contribute to my ability to be the best version of myself. Utilizing this list of elements, I produce the reflected best-self to life by creating an action plan to enhance my personal, relational and situational aspects in life. It will allow me to envision the choices I can make in the future days, weeks, months and years in order to support the current strengths which allow me to be my best-self and to strive to flourish into making my best-self better.

 Current research indicates that individuals who receive relational affirmations (from close individuals like family, peers and co-workers who highlight the strengths and positive impacts) before entering a team, will contribute to improved team performance on creative problem-solving tasks (Lee, Gino, Cable, & Staats, 2016). Thus, this exercise is highly beneficial and important, as currently, I am part of team- and case-based Master of Public Health program and this exercise can facilitate an expansion of my knowledge and understanding of who I am and how I can contribute to my team, thus applying these learnings to practice.

My Best-Self Stories

1.

On a personal level, I feel like I was at my best when I was able to recognize my eating disorder, anorexia nervosa and ask for external help and resources in order to be a healthy female teenager. In Grade 9, I wasn’t happy nor content. I became obsessed with my body, weight and outer appearance. I couldn’t figure out why. I was a teenager lucky enough to have everything I ever needed and wanted: amazing parents who love and support me, loving siblings and friends, a roof over my head and food. I was succeeding in academics and sports. It was only dietary restrictions at first, which then escalated to skipping meals and exercising at midnight until 2 AM. It eventually led to starving myself. I was constantly agitated and moody. I would come home from school and cry on the bathroom floor. It was the most confusing thing. Why was I starving myself? The tiny 5’2 frame of 120 pounds transformed to a frightening 75 pounds near the end of one school year. It was a long battle of negative self-esteem and self-doubts. I was able to recognize my health deteriorating as I lost my menstruation cycle, thus having the condition, amenorrhea. I searched the condition on the Internet and found lasting health effects including infertility and osteoporosis. I self-reflected that very moment on what I wanted from life and told myself, I couldn’t let this go any further as I envisioned a future of having a family with my babies and living a long life. Finally, one day, feeling extremely uneasy and light-headed, I cried for my mother. I confessed. My mother was calm and told me that I will be okay. However, I was fully aware it was difficult for my immigrant parents to comprehend this problem due to the little focus on mental health, specifically eating disorders, in my culture. They did what they knew best; they went to health care professionals. It was one of the hardest yet most rewarding days of my life, having to go to the family physician and expressing the reason why I didn’t eat. This moment is seared in my mind as it reminds of how I was able to critically analyze the dire and delicate situation in hand at that moment in life. I was able to be true to my deepest self and to continuously push through. In order to continue being my best-self, I had to hold myself accountable to be honest with my health care team of professionals, including my dietician and psychologist. The team of health care professionals affirmed that I was extraordinary and strong for coming forward as millions of Canadian go undiagnosed and silently suffer because of the stigma attached with eating disorders. I continued to push through this situation by pursuing my goals of being healthy even when I had setbacks and relapses, by keeping in mind my full potential as a human being, where nothing is impossible, if I keep trying my best. I was strong and I was my best-self during the process and present day, after my recovery.

2.

On a relationship level, I feel I was at my best in helping my roommate to receive the help she required. It was during the first semester of 4th year university, when my roommate was experiencing suicidal thoughts. She showcased symptoms of wanting to be alone all the time and not being the talkative individual she was in our apartment setting. Her parents were travelling at that time period, thus she couldn’t go home when she felt homesick. On a Sunday night, she wrote on a small whiteboard, of wanting to commit suicide and to harm others. The very next morning, my third roommate was the first to witness the whiteboard and she immediately informed me. Instead of getting overwhelmed, I analyzed the pressing situation and reached out to our university resources to ask for what the next steps that should be taken. Fortunately, I was able to connect with the roommate by Tuesday evening, and we had a deep conversation of her current state of mind, feelings and emotions. We had decided it was best she went to our university urgent care to assess her health and well-being, alongside with getting in contact with our university counselling team. Moreover, we were able to connect with her parents and she was able to vocalize her feelings to them. In this week, I had to also ensure my other roommate and I felt safe in our apartment, thus I had to maintain a positive and hopeful attitude. I wasn’t able to attend my classes for that week and sleep was very minimal. However, I was able to help my roommate by being there for my roommate by taking her to the hospital, specialist referral appointments, and counselling appointments that week. This experience allowed me to reflect on my ability to not panic and to focus on what was possible during that time period. It reminded me of my capacity to persist my own adversities and rather envision a goal of getting my roommate the help she needed to be her best-self. I was delighted to know that she was able to recover from this delicate situation and we were able to bond in a way that united us for hopefully a lifetime.

3.

On a situational level, I feel I was at my best in helping my work place prepare for its annual gala event. I was hired right after the completion of my undergraduate degree, thus I was only three weeks in with this organization. The lead supervisor quit a week before the annual gala. Our team was behind and the pressure was on to ensure this gala would still occur. As a team, we were not completing our tasks as appropriately as we were more focused on the panic of the gala occurring in less than a week. I noticed this and I decided to take a step back and evaluate what had to have occurred to ensure the gala would still occur. I spoke with my manager and to take the job role of delegating tasks of high importance to be completed by individuals within our team based on their strengths – he agreed and allowed me to take in charge as he himself was overloaded with tasks. It was also important to effectively communicate during this week. For example, the seating plan had to be coordinated amongst us the organization, the hotel and its of day event planner. This meant having to politely ask for an extension of creating the seating plan as we were still waiting on late RSVPs. Moreover, it was important to continuously remind each individual on our team of their contributions at the end of each day including the day of the gala and post gala to ensure that their time, capability of completing the tasks and contributions were valued for the desired outcomes to occur. The gala did occur and all of our long over-time days paid off as we created a gala which raised money for the Syrian refugees and the feedback from our attendees was phenomenal.

My Best-Self Portrait

 At my best, I am persistent. I strive towards excellence. I want to feel success. Success ia uniquely defined by me for each different goal. I want to reach that milestone and feel that level of euphoria. I push my boundaries and limits. I face all the adversities and challenges. I develop a plan of how to reach and achieve that desired outcome. I commit myself completely to that desired outcome. I give it my all. I pour my soul into achieving it. If I face any setbacks, I persist. I do not waste time thinking about my past failures. Instead, I search for alternate avenues and options to achieve the end goal. I modify my goals. I do whatever it takes. I step out of my comfort zone. I repeat my goal nightly until I made it.

 

When I am at my best, I am reliable, compassionate and empowering. I honour my relationships with individuals who rely and confide in me. I am able to provide support, compassion and empathy. I want to be that individual that they can pour their heart to. I take their issues as I would of my own. I strive to make the individuals feel loved and valued. I sacrifice my time for people who are of importance in my life even if I may be facing significant challenges at that time. I believe I need to be that reliable source for them at any time. I listen attentively to them and try to understand their current conditions and needs. I am present with them. I empower them to do their best. I believe in potential of these individuals to do awe-inspiring and amazing work. I use my effective communication skills to get to the deeper root of any problems these individuals may be facing. I try to help the individuals to come up with a solution which is feasible for them to embrace. I give them the message of setting themselves free for growth.

I am my best self when I am creative. I believe I always take a creative approach in expressing my ideas, thoughts and emotions. I get very excited to be bold and creative. I like to think outside the box. I want to utilize different ways to express the normal conventional ideas. I want to be original and unique. I am constantly searching for new ways to express myself and my ideas. I am not insecure about what others may say of these unique and creative approaches. I am focused on achieving the desired outcome through a creative approach which makes me truly happy. It reflects who I am as an individual. I tend to use creative and visionary approaches to understand complex and multi-factored concepts. I draw out my ideas to visualize the concept. I present my ideas in new ways for others to easily understand the difficult concepts in academics or other aspects in life.  

 

Action Plan

Personal – Refer to Appendix C – Table of Action Plan – Table 1- Personal

When I feel stressed out during the final stretch of this semester, I will know I am my best self when I practice stress management practices by ensuring I give myself adequate time to complete the assignments and to not procrastinate with the ample time I have. I will come up with an action plan of dates and deadlines. I will create to-do list in which the high importance tasks are listed at the top. I will cross off items when completed in order to stay on track. I will reward myself with practicing self-care. I will be making my best self better by exercising and I will have to make time in schedule to do this. However, I am well aware exercising is time correctly spent as it allows my body to release chemicals called endorphins. This will allow for positive feelings to occur in my mindset. It will allow me to feel re-energized. I will be able to think clearer and work effectively.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be traveling back home to Vancouver, British Columbia to spend the holiday season with my family and loved ones. I will need to be able to adequately show my love and care for all my loved ones in my life, however I do have to recognize I have three short weeks at home and I do also have to take care of myself during this time period. I will know I am my best-self when I pre-organize and mark my calendar with the days of holiday events and my pre-planned hangouts with my loved ones. This will ensure I do spend time with the most important people in my lives. I will be making my best self better by being fully present during each of the hangouts. I will be limiting the use of technology (iPhone and electronic devices) to ensure I spend quality time bonding and reconnecting.

In the future months to come, I will know I am my best self when I try to repair a broken relationship. I will reach out via a text-message. I will come up with an action plan for if the individual does reply or does not reply. If the individual does reply, I will be making my best self better by seeking to follow-up and ensure I reply back in the appropriate time frame. I will seek to make an effort to see this individual in person. I believe face-to-face communication is a better mode of effectively communicating with the individual. I will need to be emotionally equipped to see this individual. I will need to make time to see this individual.

In the year(s), I will know I am my best self when I focus on my passion project. I will set out time to work on my passion project. I will allocate time monthly in my schedule to do this. I will create a vision board. I will come up with an action plan. I will present my action plan and passion project to my current contacts. I will utilize my network of connections to slowly commence my passion project. I will communicate with the contacts to help me get resources I need to execute my passion project. I will be making my best self better by not being afraid to reach out to new contacts for mentorship and support for this passion project. I will contact them via email or social media platforms to collaborate. I will attentively listen to them as they can offer new things and experiences to learn from. I truly believe everyone has something incredible to offer in this world. I will be doing this passion project because it truly makes me happy and I will put in all the hard work.

Situational/Professional – Refer to Appendix C – Table of Action Plan – Table 2 – Situational/Professional 

 I have also completed another action plan for the professional and situational aspect of my life. I have wrote in great detail on the table of action plan. Please refer to Appendix C – Table of Action Plan – Table 2 – Situational/Professional.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Reflected Best-Self Exercise was an unique way to expand the individuals knowledge and understanding of who they are, what they do and how they do so at their best-self. This tool involves retrieving and critically analyzing feedback through strength-based and positive impact stories.

 I was able to gain insight on to my unique strengths and talents which occur in my personal, relational and situational life. This exercise allowed me to understand and discover myself at a deeper level thus being able to recharge myself and to facilitate the ability to flourish in all aspects of my life. Currently, I am in a learning team for my Master of Public Health, thus this self-reflection will allow me to critically and creatively contribute to my teams improved performance. 

Appendices

Appendix A – Table of Aggregated Story Reflections

Patterns/Themes

Declarations

Examples Given

  1. Persistence

I believe in striving towards excellence and success which is uniquely defined by me for each different goal. I will push through any adversities and if required, modify my goals in order to see desired outcomes. 

1. Almost failed Grade 1 and lost all hope during elementary school of ever being successful, however persevered through putting a lot of effort on my own along with receiving extra support given in- and out of- school.

2. I worked very hard to be resilient and face the challenges in ensuring I was healthy again.

3. I focused on the final outcomes of ensuring the gala occurred.

  1. Reliability/Compassionate/ Empowering

I believe I am able to honour my relationships with individuals who rely on me, even in times when I may be facing significant challenges. I believe this is due to my compassionate nature and my ability to empower them as I truly do believe in the potential of these individuals to do amazing work.

1. Offered free tutoring and mentorship to high school young females in their academics through my undergraduate organization.

2. Support and provide assistance (emotional, homework, life advice, etc.) to my younger three sisters and brother during any time of the day (ex. during this grad program, I receive phone calls during the late night hours of 1:00 AM, as at home it is only 10:00 PM).
3. Helped my roommate to stay as positive as she can and being that reliable, compassionate and empowering individual she counted on during that tough time period.

  1. Creative

I believe I always take a creative approach in expressing my ideas, thoughts and emotions.

1. Express my feelings for my loved ones through creative and unique ways suited for that particular individual, instead of through the ordinary forms.

2. During a work event in a foreign city, I was able to think outside the box for an alternate option, when even the backup plan had failed us.

3. Transformed an existing and stagnant undergraduate club to flourish through a creative approach of creating a new website and social media platforms to reach the female undergraduates in STEM. In addition, to utilizing the unique skills of us all members to create an annual empowerment event to create a champion effect in the younger generation of females.

Appendix B – Table of Enablers and Blockers

Enablers

Blockers

Personal – I am very detail oriented and enjoy completing tasks which require precision.

Personal – The insensible belief of feeling not good enough and not deserving is one of the key blockers of why I may never reach my full potential as I may miss out on opportunities by simply not trying.

Relational – I value the input and feedback from others including family, loved ones, peers, professors and mentors.

Relational – The thought process manifesting the idea of the necessity to earn the approval of other people in my life can create restrictions on many aspects of my life. This cognitive attitude can avert my own individualistic needs, thoughts, behaviours, actions and goals to doing something just for other’s pleasure and approval.

Situational – I am not afraid of managing to understand complex tasks or situations which others may consider dangerous or risky.

Situational – The default mode of constantly want to challenge myself, thus not having the ability to say “no.” Alongside, with each task having to be completed to the highest standard can cause stress as the task numbers increase.  

Personal – I am confident in abilities and like to keep my brain stimulated and challenged.

Personal – I may be overconfident at times, especially when I take on new tasks which I have not completed before.

Situational – I like to give each task my best effort even if the task is not of high importance to me or of high interest.

Situational – I want results from my work in a very short turnaround time period.

Situational – I thrive in team settings as I truly enjoy hearing others ideas and perspectives thus facilitating introspective and intellectual discussions.

Situational – I do need the time to do my portion of the work on my own and then to regroup with everyone else, which may portray the image of me not being fully on board.

Personal – I am happy with myself and content with where I am in life right now.

Appendix C – Table of Action Plan

Table 1- Personal

Days

Weeks

Months

Years

What to do reduce stress and practice self-care to ensure I do not experience anxiety and panic attacks? 

How to adequately show my love and care for all my loved ones in the short 3 weeks at home?

Repair a broken relationship.

Focus on my passion project. 

Being my best self

To ensure I give myself adequate time to complete assignments and to not procrastinate with the time I have.

To pre-organize my calendar of holiday events and pre-plan my hangouts with my loved ones, thus I ensure I do spend time with my parents, siblings, friends and loved ones. 

To reach out via a text-message and have an action plan ready if the individual does or does not reply.

To set out time to work on my passion project in order to show my current contacts of my vision for my project. Thus, to utilize my network connections to slowly commence my passion project. 

Making my best self better

To go to workouts in the following days as I am aware exercising allows me to release endorphins and feel re-energized, thus I am able to think clearer and work effectively.

To be present during each of the hangouts, thus to limit the technology use of my iPhone and electronic devices and spend quality time bonding.

To follow-up and ensure I reply back in appropriate time frames. To make an effort to see this individual in person as face-to-face communication is a better mode of effective communication.  

To not be afraid to reach out to new contacts for mentorship and support for this passion project as they can offer new things and experiences to learn from, as everyone has something incredible to offer in this world.

Table 2- Situational/Professional

Days

Weeks

Months

Years

What to do in tomorrow’s class?

How to prepare for the next semester in January 2019?

How to prepare for and succeed in my practicum?

Acquiring a job position in the field of public health

Being my best self

To participate once in each MPH class, thus three times each school day.

To take the upcoming holiday break as a breather to relax, rejuvenate and refresh my mind, thus to not think of the submitted deliverables and the pending grades by not checking the platform OWL during this break.

To apply for practicum positions which truly represent my interests in public health. Moreover, once landing the practicum position, it is important to do research on the practicum position I have acquired, alongside to do research on the company’s mission statement, vision and goals.

To perform and display the best version of myself during my practicum, thus hopefully landing a job position with that company.

Making my best self better

To have researched and read beyond the scope of the required materials, thus I am able to make wider connections.

To engage in reading one book pertaining to growth, success and failures alongside, with buying a journal which I will start completing on a daily basis in the new semester of (a) something I achieved today; (b) something I learnt today; (c) something I am thankful for; (d) how could I have made today better.

To strategically plan out my assignments and tasks to ensure I meet the deadlines and to ask the practicum supervisor to monitor me as an individual and my work during the practicum placement, thus providing me with a rigorous evaluation from baseline to endline. 

To not be afraid to step out of my comfort zone and to network during the practicum and to follow up with contact cards given.

References

 

  • Lee, J. J., Gino, F., Cable, D. M., & Staats, B. R. (2016). Preparing the self for team entry: How relational affirmation improves team performance. Harvard Business School, 16-111.
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