Mika Launikari


Symphonic selves and self-leadership

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This year I have been working as a Career Guidance and International Mobility Expert on the European Commission’s new Europass platform on lifelong learning and career development. It is an online service that will be launched in 2020 and offered to European citizens for planning their learning and career paths. Learners, workers, volunteers and jobseekers will be able to use Europass, for example, for

  • presenting their skills and achievements,
  • reflecting on their skills and capabilities,
  • identifying their interests and aspirations in life, and
  • looking for jobs, study programmes, and volunteering opportunities across Europe.

Guidance practitioners and other professionals, such as youth workers, human resource experts, and recruiters may benefit from the new Europass in their daily work with individuals seeking for advice on studying, training, volunteering or working. An essential part of their professional work is to support skills development of people of all ages, and to provide them with tools for demonstrating their capacities.

A more holistic approach

Our self-representation is usually multi-vocal, multilinear, and often episodic. In other words, it is not necessarily easy to bring all our different voices and experiences together so that they would be completely in unison. Therefore, a personal (digital) portfolio can be a useful tool for an adolescent or adult to narrate their life story as well as to reinforce professional self-esteem and integrity. It helps to sort out your learning and working experiences and to have them translated into knowledge, skills and competences. All this can result in a more symphonic self-representation where a person’s all notes and instruments are played in full harmony.

That is exactly what the new Europass platform aims at doing. It will give users an opportunity to better grasp who they are and what they stand for, and where they want to be going with their lives in the future. It is only good, if people – by means of their personal portfolio – will be able to have a more holistic overview of themselves. It contributes to strengthening their self-leadership, i.e. agentic functioning, self-efficacy and resilience.

Exercising self-leadership is about intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and behaviour to achieve your learning and career goals – and dreams. Self-leaders are driven by purpose and proactivity, they have a desire for autonomy, make well-considerate decisions, are more creative and they persist in the face of adversity. On top of that, they have a highly evolved self-awareness that is helpful in today’s world with many disruptions and uncertainties.

Self-awareness relies on the ability to be objective. By critically assessing your own performance and progress will make you see yourself more realistically. This again will make it easier for you to tap on your talents and potential, and to harness your self-discipline for reaching your personal and professional goals. To play life by heart and rational mind gives you a clearer idea of where to go in your learning path and which career move/transition to make.