Unlocking your potential | AUA Blog

Jan Shine is an experienced people developer, manager, coach and HR specialist. Her wealth of experience in HE has been gained through a successful professional services career at the Open University and in the last 10 years providing HE consultancy services through her business, Paullus People Development.

Jan  is delivering the Unlocking your Potential workshop in Autumn 2019. Here she shares her own experiences of embracing some of the themes of the session.


Jan Shine FAUA
People Development Consultant
Paullus People Development 

How often do we believe we have, or make, the time to step back and really reflect on our workplace actions, interactions and behaviours? The CPD Framework is a development tool that facilitates, and kick starts this process. It makes it easier for us by providing a structure with supporting resources, for example the Guide to Success booklet and accompanying templates, that we can adapt to suit our needs. Identifying our strengths and areas for development is a great place to start. It raises our self-awareness which is the key to achieving professional excellence.

To truly unlock our potential, we need to open ourselves up to deeper self-reflection to understand our personal strengths, motivations, needs and preferences. This isn’t something that comes naturally to most of us and it can be a daunting prospect. Spending time away from the office to do this in a supportive environment is not a luxury; it is an investment in our personal and professional growth.

I have benefited greatly from such opportunities and one in particular was really significant in my personal and professional development. I attended an intense two-day programme with an overnight stay and a follow-up day two weeks later. One of the topics we considered was our own personal communication behaviours and this brought tremendous new insights for me about my personal motivations and needs. I realised that in some situations I was able to communicate effectively whereas in others I either felt inhibited to contribute to discussions or felt the need to over-contribute. It was a ‘light-bulb moment’ when I recognised and acknowledged how often I interrupted other people in order to make my point. I needed to know what was causing these less-effective behaviours and understand the circumstances in which they played out and why. Most importantly I needed to ‘own’ these behaviours.  I immediately made the commitment to stop interrupting others and found strategies to eliminate this behaviour. Over time through using reflective tools before, during and after meetings I identified the situations where I felt intimidated and asked a colleague who I knew would be honest with me to mentor me in developing myself in this area.

I prioritised this self-development because I realised that my professional development, and therefore the professional service I provided, would be negatively impacted by these behaviours and I would be unlikely to reach my full potential. Yes, of course, I have had relapses along the way. But I have been able to understand myself more, and have realised that developing self-compassion is another important step to unlocking your potential.


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