Reflected Best Self - Yiming Chen 2.pdf

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<ul><li><p>Reflected Best Self Exercise </p><p>Yiming CHEN </p><p>1. Introduction </p><p>When Dr. Gooty first introduced the Reflected Best Self assignment, I was not so sure </p><p>about the potential benefits I can get from such an exercise. Its my second semester in </p><p>the part-time MBA program. I am eager to complete all the required courses, so that I can </p><p>focus on the finance concentration. With a Ph.D. in Biomolecular Engineering and five </p><p>years of experience in medical technology development, I am ready to expand my </p><p>knowledge and advance my career in company valuation and venture capital investment. </p><p>I have reached an age that I am quite aware of my strengths and weaknesses. Also, I felt </p><p>very nervous that I had to reach out to more than ten people to ask them giving me </p><p>compliments on moments of my best-self. From where I was born and raised, a </p><p>conservative family from China, the standard proper answer to any compliment is: no, </p><p>no, I am really not that good, and I still have a long way to go. </p><p>With the doubt in mind, I spent 2 months to go through this exercise. I reached out to </p><p>eleven people explaining the design of the assignment and the types of feedback I </p><p>needed. Almost all my friends and colleagues responded with great enthusiasm. I </p><p>organized and analyzed all the data carefully, and to my surprise, going through the </p><p>exercise allowed me to see myself a little bit differently. And Ive gained new insights </p><p>using the information to better understand myself and to improve myself. </p><p>This report documents the process, the data, my analysis, and my key take-away from </p><p>the Reflected Best Self experience. </p></li><li><p>2. My first self-best portrait </p><p>When I first reflected about the times when I was at my best self, I was mainly </p><p>focused on personal factors: </p><p>I see myself as a very intelligent person. I feel I was at my best tackling a major </p><p>research project when I was doing my Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University. Before I </p><p>took on the project to predict the extent of polymer chain agglomeration, three of my </p><p>fellow graduate students tried and concluded that it was not doable. I developed a new </p><p>algorithm to solve the problem and generated great results that were later validated by </p><p>experiment data. When I was ready to graduate, my advisor told his colleague that: She </p><p>is not just one of the best graduate students Ive had over the years. She is the best. That </p><p>was the best compliment I have ever heard from my advisor. </p><p>I am a person with good perception. I am good at understanding the challenge, the </p><p>big picture, the pros, cons and risks of options. I feel I was at my best making difficult </p><p>decisions under a lot of uncertainty. In 2012, I was working at the Carey Business School </p><p>at Johns Hopkins. My husband got a faculty position at the same School, and another </p><p>offer from Wells Fargo. Each choice has its benefits and limits. And it was most </p><p>convenient for us to choose to stay in Baltimore. I analyzed the situation, our own career </p><p>goals, and the long-term career potential in Baltimore and Charlotte. I convinced my </p><p>husband to accept the offer from Wells Fargo, and I would move to Charlotte to find a </p><p>new job. This allowed us to accumulate solid industrial experience before going back to </p><p>academia. We are both very happy and satisfied by this decision. </p><p>I am also productive and efficient when I put my minds to work. In fall 2014, I </p><p>enrolled in MBA program at UNCC. At that time, I just got a promotion with increased </p></li><li><p>responsibility at work. While having a full-time job with heavy workload, I took nine </p><p>credit hours of courses each semester. I came up with a time-management system to </p><p>make sure that I perform well at work as well as in school. I divided a typical work day </p><p>into five one-hour sessions, each devoted to one project. I concentrated on school work </p><p>on Saturdays, using the morning to read textbooks and articles, the afternoon to do </p><p>homework, and the evening to review class notes. I found myself highly productive under </p><p>pressure. I got another promotion after six months, and a 4.0 GPA. </p><p>3. Feedback process: Analysis &amp; observations </p><p>I reached out to five colleagues, four friends, and two family members to collect my </p><p>best-self stories. These are people who interact with me at least once every week, most on </p><p>a daily basis. Their names, current positions and contact information are listed in </p><p>Appendix I. All respondents provided two to three stories of when I was at my best in </p><p>their eyes, and my positive contributions in the stories. I initiated follow-up phone calls </p><p>and conversations when further clarifications and details were needed. A summary of all </p><p>the stories collected is included in Appendix II. After I read and analyzed the context of </p><p>each story, I included my own reflections and grouped the thirty three stories into eight </p><p>themes based on the underlying traits and qualities suggested by the stories, as shown in </p><p>Table 1. </p><p> Most of the feedback on my quality and strength are in accordance with how I see </p><p>myself. My family, friends, and colleagues shared examples showing that I am smart, </p><p>perspective, and very productive at generating results. Its interesting that what impressed </p><p>them the most was not my achievements or qualifications, but more on how I interacted </p></li><li><p>with and supported other people. Many thanked me for the help or encouragement I gave </p><p>during their difficult times. Most were small favors that I did, which I could barely recall. </p><p>This is a thought-provoking finding to me from this exercise. I used to believe that my </p><p>core identity is mainly defined by my IQ, qualifications, and achievements. Now I start to </p><p>realize that is not the whole picture. As social being, I am also defined by how I build and </p><p>cultivate meaningful relationships and bonds with people around me, and how I grow </p><p>with everyone in the same network. Another wonderful surprise was the feedback that I </p><p>am courageous and resilient when facing difficult situations. This theme is supported by </p><p>five stories. To be more calm and resilient towards challenging people or situation is a </p><p>strength that I have always wanted to build. I am very glad to see the confirmation of the </p><p>progress I made. </p><p>Patterns/Themes </p><p>Declarations Examples Given </p><p>Intelligent I am very intelligent and always willing to work hard towards my goal. </p><p>1. Doing full-time work and full-time MBA, have performed well in both </p><p>2. Tackled challenging research topic 3. Gained qualification and experience in </p><p>research, technology transfer, and finance in five years </p><p>Perceptive I have good insights and understanding of situation, and use critical thinking skills to solve problems. </p><p>1. Helped my husband to pick a job offer that fits our long term goal </p><p>2. Justified why the my teams annual goals needed to be revisited with sufficient data </p><p>3. Made the decision to transfer my father to a better hospital for surgery at tough times </p><p>4. Arranged my mothers deep brain stimulation surgery </p><p>5. Determined IP strategy for a novel ophthalmology instrument </p><p>Productive I am highly focused and efficient to finish tasks. </p><p>1. Colleague doesnt realize I am in office when I am focused to complete my work. </p><p>2. Spent less time each week to finish 9 credit MBA courses each semester </p><p>3. Gathered my team, made plan, and tackled a new overwhelming project within </p></li><li><p>timeline Management skills </p><p>I am good at organizing activities, and can coordinate resources efficiently. </p><p>1. Organized BBQ event to speed up food preparation and serving </p><p>2. Helped arrange friends move across town </p><p>Empowering I believe in the potential of others, and always encourage others. </p><p>1. Stimulated friends to come up with the best strategy when played board games together </p><p>2. Gave friend advice and shared books to help him fight his depression </p><p>3. Called friend every day in her last two weeks of MCAT preparation to encourage her </p><p>4. Gradually gave new hire more responsibilities as time progressed, ensuring she had time to become more acclimated to our companys culture and her work load </p><p>5. Shared my IP knowledge with my friend and encouraged her to discuss the ownership issue with her supervisor </p><p>Team-player I believe in teamwork, and work hard to contribute my best </p><p>1. Played board games tactically to help my team achieve goals </p><p>2. Continued to work online to meet deadline during family loss </p><p>3. Walked Elizabeth through the process of patenting in easy-to-understand terms </p><p>4. Answered question for teammate at group presentation </p><p>Courageous and resilient </p><p>I believe in facing challenge with courage, can withstand pressure, and recover from difficult conditions. </p><p>1. Calmly approached and came to a peaceful resolution with an irate customer </p><p>2. Made the decision to pursue the best high school in spite of the high risk </p><p>3. Moved into grandfathers room after he passed away. Stayed there alone to study late every night. </p><p>4. Spoke up facing tumultuous work situation </p><p>5. Handled an abrasive manager in a professional manner </p><p>Friendly and delightful </p><p>I believe in treating others with kindness and respect. My friends find it pleasant to hang out with me. </p><p>1. Approached Lingling at sidewalk, and started a fun conversation to know her </p><p>2. Impressed Kara as I paid attention and truly listened to her </p></li><li><p>3. Told a joke when first met with Tianxin and had a great conversation with her </p><p>4. Gave Guofan a big smile when first met, and found a topic of common interest </p><p>5. Sent Xiaolei reference books for her upcoming interviews </p><p>6. Greet with a smile, and include coworker for a walk everyday. </p><p>Table 1. Aggregated story reflection showing patterns and themes </p><p>4. Final best-self portrait </p><p>In light of the reflected best-self analysis above, I created a portrait of my best-self: </p><p>When I am at my best, I am an intelligent person who is not afraid to take on </p><p>challenges and work hard towards my goal. I believe in life-time learning and growth, </p><p>and I constantly try to improve myself. I am also brave enough to take the necessary risk </p><p>and accept non-ideal outcomes. </p><p>I am perceptive to my environment. I have good intuition, and use my research skills </p><p>to verify my intuition. When there is a need to make difficult decision, I tend to </p><p>systematically gather important information from different sources, analyze quality of </p><p>evidence, pros and cons of each option, and the risk I am willing to take. I use such </p><p>analytical thinking to guide myself through complex situations. Its hard to say that I </p><p>always made the right decision, since right and wrong are more subjective evaluation. </p><p>But I have made choices that brought significant positive changes to my life, my family, </p><p>and my work. With ability to see the big picture and bring that big picture into others </p><p>perspective, I have the ability to influence my surroundings. </p><p>Once set my mind, I am highly productive and efficient. I prioritize my tasks, and </p><p>always stay focused on the most important ones first. When I choose a task, it has my </p></li><li><p>undivided attention. And I pull all resources to help me accomplish my goal ahead of </p><p>schedule even when I am under pressure. I can also pull a team together and coordinate </p><p>resources efficiently within the team to guarantee project delivery on time. </p><p>In interacting with others, I try to think in others shoes. People find me friendly and </p><p>likable as I respect others and treat others the way I want to be treated. I listen to my </p><p>friends and colleagues, and pay attention to their needs. As I value self-growth a lot, I am </p><p>also inspired by other peoples growth and transformation, so I do my best to support </p><p>their efforts. I believe that collective efforts can lead to bigger achievements. I contribute </p><p>and help others within a team. I have a cheerful and fun disposition that most people </p><p>enjoy working with me. When I see conflicts, I try to resolve in a constructive way. </p><p>5. Discoveries and Action Plan </p><p>Based on the themes and patterns identified from the aggregated stories, and the new </p><p>reflected best-self portrait, I conducted the analysis to extract contextual elements that </p><p>may further allow me to stimulate and enhance my best-self, and the ones that may </p><p>undermine and hinder my best-self. These best-self enablers and blockers mainly cover </p><p>three areas, as shown by Table 2. </p><p> At the personal level, it benefits myself a lot that I am intelligent, and highly </p><p>focused and efficient to generate results. I also believe in life-time learning and growth, </p><p>which serves as the main inner drive of my continuous self improvement. On the flip </p><p>side, I am sometimes dismissive of other peoples idea, as I believe I am right most of the </p><p>time. Such arrogance may lead to missed opportunities. When I am highly focused and </p><p>determined to get the job down, I tend to overstress myself, thus hurt my long-term </p></li><li><p>productivity in exchange for short-term benefit. This is not a sustainable way of making </p><p>progress. Some friends called me an over-achiever. I took it as a compliment. At the same </p><p>time, I do realize that some of my inner drive is due to lack of self-confidence and lack of </p><p>self-acceptance. </p><p>At the relational level, I pay good attention to other peoples needs, and I always try </p><p>to think in others shoes. This helped me to build good relationships and function well in </p><p>collaborative teamwork settings. On the other hand, there are times that I should have </p><p>said no. I tend to go out of my way to make others happy. When this goes to extreme, I </p><p>struggle to balance my priorities with others. </p><p>At the situational level, I thrive when situation or task gets complicated. My </p><p>analytical thinking skills have enabled me to make good decisions and convince my </p><p>teammates. That said, when there is a lot of uncertainty, I tend to over-analyze. Although </p><p>I have the courage to take the risks and make the tough calls, I pay a heavy emotional toll </p><p>in such processes. Such emotional struggle is exhausting and counter productive, which </p><p>inhibits my best-self. </p><p> Enablers Blockers (Personal) I am intelligent. Deep down, I am dismissive of other </p><p>peoples idea. Once an impression is formed, it is hard for me to change. </p><p>I am highly focused and efficient to finish tasks. </p><p>I may become too absorbed in beating the deadline and exhaust myself when tasks become daunting, which will hurt my long term productivity. </p><p>I believe in life-time learning and growth, and I constantly try to improve myself </p><p>I may overstress myself, or maybe it is more of a self-acceptance issue deep down. </p><p>(Relational) I try to think in others shoes. I am a people pleaser. I listen to my friends and colleagues, and pay attention to their needs. </p><p>Sometimes, it is hard for me to say no when I should. </p><p>When I see conflicts, I try to I still tend to avoid conflicts. </p></li><li><p>resolve in a constructive way (Situational) I use analytical thinking to guide </p><p>myself through complex situations. </p><p>I tend to over analyze. </p><p>I see the big picture and bring that big picture into others perspective </p><p>Sometimes, I am reluctant to be assertive when I need to. </p><p>I am brave en...</p></li></ul>