Written by Maisarah Firuz

Emellia Shariff (centre) speaks to Chuman Dev (left) and Shu Yi Ang (right) in our latest podcast

As we bid goodbye to January, it’s time to take a moment to reflect on the resolutions we made beginning this year. The initial enthusiasm of the new year may be tapering off, settling into the rhythm of daily life, where work has resumed its familiar hustle and bustle.

In the midst of these moments, it’s important to apply a sense of self-accountability into our journey of personal growth. How you may ask?

Emellia Shariff, the CEO of MIDP, Malaysia’s leading and award-winning soft skills education institution, spoke to Chuman Dev (Talent Lead and Business Partner for Asia, Mars) and Shu Yi Ang (Founder and Lead of Impian Kencana) to find out the following 3 takeaways about becoming a better person, be it at work, school or in personal life.

Takeaway 1: Practise Self-Reflection & Self-Feedback

Image: Disney

Implementing our resolutions must come with regularly checking in with ourselves and reflecting how we are truly getting along. Ask these 3 simple questions:

  • How did we do this week?
  • In hindsight, what could I have done better?
  • What lesson or growth have I experienced?

This self-inquiry, although difficult, serves as a checkpoint, demanding an honest assessment of our efforts in achieving the goals we set for ourselves. One of the best approaches is to schedule a time for reflective journaling.  A study has shown it to improve self-regulation, mindset and performance.[1] 

I’ve been journaling for years and one of the questions I add into my journaling practice is asking myself, ‘Am I doing things that help me to be better?’ This motivates me to continue” said Shu Yi.

Indeed modern life often makes it difficult to carve out moments for reflection and self-feedback due to the constant demands and distractions. Even so, we can overcome this by conscious prioritisation.

Takeaway 2: Be Your Own Cheerleader

Equally important but often overlooked is the practice of giving oneself recognition. Try saying these 3 things to yourself:

  • I am so proud of myself for doing this, well done me!
  • I may make some mistakes but I was so brave to do it anyway despite my fears.
  • I tried something new today and I’m sure I’ll only get better over time!

“I’ve learned in my late 20s that self-recognition and self-assurance is very important but it takes a lot of practice,” Emellia shares.

In the fast currents of daily demands, it’s really easy to overlook our own achievements or downplay the value of our contributions and progress. Acknowledging our personal accomplishments, no matter how small, not only lifts our morale but also inculcates the confidence we need to navigate different challenges at present or in future. 

Self-recognition and assurance are the compass that keeps us on course even when the waters get rough. This is especially vital when you’re a leader, as things can get pretty lonely at the top. You don’t always get praise or automatic reassurance from others and that’s why it’s important to be your own cheerleader. 

Takeaway 3: Confront Your Unconscious Bias 

It’s important to celebrate diversity and create an inclusive environment for everyone around you. To truly achieve that, you have to confront your unconscious bias. 

Unconscious biases are subtle associations and silent judgements we form in our brain around someone or a group of people, and it impacts our opinions, decisions, attitudes and actions.

“Make sure you have a concerted conversation about people and having a 360-degree view removes you from your bias”, Chuman advises from the perspective of a HR lead.

Recognising and challenging these biases is crucial for fostering professional and personal growth as it promotes empathy, improves interpersonal relationships and ensures fair decisions.

Image: Liz Climo, lizclimo.tumblr.com

Onward and Upward!

As January comes to an end, this juncture serves as a checkpoint, rather than a final ‘verdict’ on our resolutions. It’s an opportunity to really evaluate our progress, acknowledge the wins (small or big), and adapt our goals as needed. 

Remember, embracing this process with kindness and a strong commitment to growth is key. It’s a journey but you’ll need to be able to put the work in. So here’s to a better you this 2024!

For more nuggets of wisdom on how to be the best version of yourself, listen to this podcast. For more info on MIDP and the great work that we do to help you improve yourself, visit our website!