The power of knowing who you are; what you want in your life, understanding your dreams and your feelings can never be underestimated. Self-knowledge is both understanding who you are mentally and physically, and does take time but comes with rewards at the end. Self-knowledge can be defined as having a clear and accurate perception of who you are, including your strengths, capabilities, character, feelings, and motivations. It’s the foundation on which development is built, both personally and professionally. According to career services, Knowledge about our dreams and motivations doesn’t arise spontaneously: unfortunately, we are not born ‘knowing ourselves,’ on basis of which it would be fairly easy to make decisions. Another misconception is that self-knowledge and self-awareness are natural bi-products of life experience. A lot of experience could indeed be useful, but it doesn’t necessarily give you a clear vision of what you want to do in life. In other words, if you seek to get to know yourself better, you’ll have to do something about it and make a conscious effort. Diane Mugabo a communication specialist says that self-knowledge is key to knowing what you want to do and what fits you. “When we are done with school, most people know what to do, what job fits them and what career is for them. And this is a really great thing because you never get misled or end up doing what you don’t like, knowing yourself is vital and especially in the career world because it makes it easier to chase your dreams and succeed in what you do,” she says. Ernest Mugisha, Chief Executive Officer at INFIM AG-TRANSFORM AFRICA LTD-a manufacturing company currently dealing in the agriculture value chain, says that there are three pillars that inevitably benefit an individual when they know themselves. There is self-awareness, the power of being able to recognise your feelings, how other people see you and to tune in your emotions. “There is also time allocation; when someone knows themselves they know what interests them, they also know how to allocate their time to things that add value to their lives rather than what isn’t. And there is also avoiding rest until you are tired, sitting around and doing nothing until you are tired is not good but when you know yourself, you know what you want which helps you to work hard until you deserve the rest,” he says. He also adds that when a person doesn’t know who they are and what they are good at, they can never accomplish a task they were given at work. Whenever a person doubts their capacity, they never know where they can reach, Mugisha notes. How is this beneficial for one’s career? Many hours in our lives are hours we spend working at the jobs we have. So of course we care about our career path, we would like to enjoy the work we do. But most people will most likely confirm that finding a job that fits is not easy. Career vision, a career management page shares five keys to self-knowledge: Goals: What do I want? To define your goals, use these questions as starting points: “What do I want out of life? What kind of life do I envision for myself?” “What do I want to achieve? What kind of contribution or difference do I want to make?” The best goals are written down and follow the SMART. Aptitudes: What are my strengths? Aptitudes are objectively-measured natural talents. They reveal a person’s potential to acquire the skills needed to perform various tasks competently. Aptitudes stabilise around the age of 15 and remain relatively stable across the lifespan. Interests: What do I like? What don’t I like? By discovering what you’re interested in, you become aware of what motivates you. Interests serve primarily to select, out of a mix of potential activities, the ones you’re most likely to engage in full and enjoy doing. Personality style: How do I think, feel, and behave? Your unique personality is expressed through permanent traits and characteristic response patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Based on your natural temperament, some jobs, occupations, work environments, and company cultures may be a better fit for you than others. Values: What’s important to me? Values are the criteria by which you evaluate the things and activities that are most important to you in life and work. They serve as a compass, keeping you focused on what really matters as you set priorities and make decisions.