Personal growth

We can all find ourselves placed in situations and environments that can be stressful, difficult and challenging. This can create a range of different responses in individuals according to their values.

When life changes, either at home or at work, it can affect our own wellbeing. Taking time to understand what helps your personal wellbeing so that it can be preserved and improved is a key step.

Setting yourself goals and re-evaluating them can be helpful when circumstances change at home or at work.

Pyramid of happiness

The pyramid of happiness visually represents the many layers of wellbeing. It also highlights how ‘higher’ needs rest upon the ‘lower’ or more basic needs and can only be achieved if our more basic needs are met first.

Knowing who you are

Knowing yourself means understanding your strengths and weaknesses, your passions and fears, your desires and dreams. It also means being aware of your likes and dislikes, and your tolerances and limitations.

The benefits of self-knowledge may seem obvious, but here are a few reasons why coming to understand ourselves better can help to improve your quality of life:

You will feel happier when you can express who you are.

When our outside actions align with our inside feelings and values, we experience less inner conflict.

We make better choices about everything when they come from who we are, from small to big decisions; like having a compass guide.

We can better understand what motivates us, which strengthens against bad habits and helps sustain and maintain the good ones!

When grounded in our own values and preferences, we are less likely to say “yes” when we want to say “no”.

Awareness of the things we sometimes struggle with can help us to empathise with others.

Are both enhanced by being who we truly are.

VITALS: a tool for deepening self-knowledge

The capital letters in VITAL Signs form an acronym for the six building blocks of “self”. The letters stand for:


Values such as helping others, being creative, health, and financial security are guides to decision-making and motivators for goals. The motivation provided by knowing your values can keep you going even when you are tired. If you want to self-motivate, it is helpful to know your values.


Interests include your passions, hobbies, and anything that holds your attention over a period of time. Being interested in something may give you clues to your deepest passions. So, ask yourself the following and write them down:

  • What you pay attention to
  • What you are curious about
  • What concerns you


Temperament describes your inborn preferences. Knowing the answers to questions like the below can help you gravitate towards situations where you flourish and avoid situations where you might not.

  • Do you restore your energy from being alone (introvert) or from being with people (extrovert)?
  • Are you a planner or go-with-the-flow type of person?
  • Do you make decisions based more on feelings or thoughts and facts?
  • Do you prefer details or big ideas?


Around-the-clock refers to when you like to do things—your natural biorhythms. If you schedule activities when you are at your best, you are respecting your personal biology.

  • Are you a morning person or an evening person, for example?
  • At what time of day does your energy peak? Or ebb?

Life mission

What have been the most meaningful events of your life to date?


Knowing your strengths is an important foundation of inner self-confidence. They can include not only abilities, skills, and talents, but also character strengths such as loyalty, respect for others, emotional intelligence, fairness, and more.

Post-traumatic growth

Post-traumatic growth or ‘benefit finding’ is a positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other life challenges.

It can be possible for these seven areas of growth to come from adverse life events:

  • greater appreciation of life

  • greater appreciation and strengthening of close relationships

  • increased compassion and altruism

  • identification of new possibilities or a purpose in life

  • greater awareness and utilisation of personal strengths

  • enhanced spiritual development

  • greater creativity

Appreciating and celebrating your successes

The human mind is known to have a ‘negativity bias’ meaning that we tend to focus on how we think we are failing, rather than recognising how much we do and have to offer others. In overlooking all the good and not appreciating our worth, we under-value ourselves.

This is why it is so important to take time to consciously focus on our achievements to fully and more realistically appreciate ourselves. You will have achieved many things in your life, some small and others much greater, but have you ever taken time to think of all the things you have done, celebrating the things you have accomplished?

Consciously recognising what you do well each day can help you to appreciate that even the little things you do can make a big difference to yourself and those around you.

Here are some things you can try:

Try to think back as far as you can. Don’t limit yourself! As well as feeling good, this can also help to give you confidence in your ability to go do what you set your mind to.

It will get you to write about them and how you got to where you are. You could even consider sharing your blog so others can see what you have achieved or use it as self-reflection. Seeing it written down can also motivate you to achieve even more.

If you don’t have goals defined, start with these. To-do lists are good tools unless you are not performing the right tasks. High-level goals will help you determine what you need to be doing on your to-do lists.

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