Introducing the Lens

Introducing the Lens

In researching the literature relating to developing one’s personal capabilities in order to achieve the most one can in life we realized there was a need to distill the mass of information down into essential elements. The idea being to help bring clarity to how to appreciate where one is now, where one wants to be and ideally, what the next step, or steps, should be in order to get there.

We developed the Personal Capabilities “Lens” you see below.

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The Dimensions

You will see that there are 4 Dimensions of “Effectiveness”, “Satisfaction”, “Agility” and “Innovation”. All of these are driven by a desire for self-improvement which we call “Lifelong Learning”.

Lifelong Learning encompasses the desire to be better people, to ourselves and others “Self-actualisation” is the “Motivation” that drives us toward a better understanding of our life’s meaning, purpose, and fulfillment.

Internal / External Focus

Another way to consider these capabilities is from whether they are inward looking and reflexive, or are capabilities we need to interact with others.

The circle represents our inner selves. Outside the circle is the world with which we interact. For each Dimension there is the duality of how we perceive our capabilities and how the world values those capabilities. For instance we ideally have a high degree of personal satisfaction with what we do AND we have satisfied customers.

Some of us are really good at achieving a good work-life balance, planning and strategizing, but need to improve our communication and leadership skills to move ahead and carry out what have prepared to do. Similarly, we think of ourselves as creative but do people come to us when they need new ideas?


The idea here is that these sit neatly into a time continuum. From the “Present” to the “Future”.
We need the foundation of capabilities to meet Present demands on ourselves. Upon these we can build a Future which requires additional capabilities. This gives us a sense of priority with respect to “What do we work on first?”

In the Present

Here, today, we need to have a degree of personal “Effectiveness” together with sufficient competences to gain personal “Satisfaction”.

To be effective now we need to be healthy and, among other things, have good communication skills, be able to plan and manage our time and resources, while striving for excellence.

To achieve personal satisfaction we need to trust ourselves as well as be trusted; to add value wherever we can (competitiveness), to develop assertiveness through the confidence that comes from genuine competency and valuable experiences.

Our Future

The “Future” depends on “Innovation” and “Agility” amongst other things. Future success derives from such aspects as being able to innovate, be creative, leverage our knowledge, recognise and take advantage of opportunities.

At the same time we should be prepared to be flexible enough to try something new, to rethink our strategies; in other words be agile.

The speed and effectiveness of being able to carry out these things leverages our Present capabilities. Do we need to work at them some more (or a lot ?!), or are we ready enough to take on the future?

Lifelong Learning – Our Core Driver

All of these capabilities are driven by a desire for self-actualisation. To be all we can be. To achieve our full potential. To discover our life purpose and act on it when we do. These give us our internal motivation to continuously improve to the degree that we commit to them.

We come across many coaches and speakers offering motivation. At best they help us understand that motivation comes from within. To help us discover our purpose and desire for self-actualisation. To light the fire within that burns bright. At worst they are artificial rah-rah sessions that strike a false note and fall aside shortly afterwards. In between the best and worst they may kindle our desire long enough to find and ignite sufficient ‘coals’ to keep us moving toward our purpose and become self-motivated.

Similarly there are many coaches and courses, speakers and events, books and videos clamouring for your attention. BUT WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU? NOW?

Putting it all together

The purpose of the Lens is to give us an idea of where to focus our efforts. It can seem daunting if one feels there is so much to do. Or if you have tried so many things but what is the one thing you need to really break out?

The Lens is not prescriptive. Nor is it empirical – I am sure others can suggest other capabilities or definitions. However it IS a starting point for putting a personal plan of action together. We all have to start somewhere. We are saying “Start Here”.

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Using the Lens

The content of is structured and intentionally aligned with the Lens. So if Creativity, or Leadership are things you want to work on you can search our Mentor & Coaches Directory, Podcasts, Videos, Tools, Articles, Bookshelf, etc., relating to these specific Categories. Thus, as an innovative online mentoring centre for proactive learning and networking, filters and distills significant and diverse information, providing tools for advancement that allow you to Reflect on where you are; Reframe your thinking and Reinvent – you!

Take a Personal Inventory

For instance – run a mental or, better yet, a scored, personal inventory. Evaluate on a scale of 1-10 where you are for each of the categories in each of the Dimensions. This will reveal your relative strengths and weaknesses.

Benchmark Your Progress

If you want to know whether your efforts have led to improvements you could revisit your initial Personal Inventory in, say, 30 or 90 days. Have you moved the bar compared to before? Is it enough progress, for now at least? What’s next for you? Are there more weaknesses in the personal Effectiveness dimension, or do you want to move onto becoming more Agile by Rethinking your Strategy? Or overcome limiting beliefs that are holding back your Flexibility?

Gap Analysis

If you are daring, or just well-balanced, you can ask someone who knows you really well to score you too. Comparing one to another can be very insightful, revealing gaps that need closing between how the world sees you and how you see yourself. This is an often hidden source of why we have not achieved what we think we should have. Remember this can work both ways. You may be laboring under certain impressions of inadequacy, or not knowing your true worth, when in fact you are seen in a far more positive light and highly valued.

Getting our priorities straight

Rather than working on yet another motivation course (because they make us feel good), maybe it is one’s health and resource management that needs most work? So start with something in Personal Effectiveness giving us a Focus on the Present/Inner capabilities.

Or do we need to improve our Assertiveness through stronger self-belief, maybe gain some certifications or qualifications to improve how you are perceived in the marketplace? i.e. gain “Personal Satisfaction” by having a “Present/Outward” focus.

If the “Present” is well in hand and you are suitably “Agile” then have a “Future/Outward” focus by finding the mentor, coach or course on how to be creative, more innovative and opportunistic.

As we said – Start Here: – Reflect, Reframe, Reinvent

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