Are you too selfie-absorbed?

About to whip out your moby to catch yourself enjoying a moment? Stop right there, says careers coach Lucinda Harlow

So I’m jammed into a crowd of screaming tweenies trying to convince myself the overdraft-busting 1D tickets were worth it because look at them all getting their phones out to record their crushes…

Hang on! They aren’t filming Britain’s biggest boy band, they’re filming themselves watching the band. What? We could have done that in front of the telly for free!

Made me think, of course. My job as a careers coach is to get clients to take a long, hard look at themselves – but this obsession with exiting the moment to record yourself in the moment is different.

I’m worried about this mania for living as though we’re in one of those creepy fairground hall of mirrors. Watching ourselves watching ourselves watching ourselves…

When we’re too concerned with ‘self’ we forget how to interact with others. We become an island that no one wants to visit, isolated and vulnerable.

Why ‘me, me, me’ could be a career curse

Okay, so everyone under 25 is rolling their eyes and thinking, ‘Get with the programme Grandma’ but just give me a sec to explain. I’m big on helping my clients to understand how they can develop their sense of ‘self’ in order to progress their careers. But that’s a million miles from stopping to snap yourself doing your CV, schmoozing a client, clinching a deal, queuing for the loo…

The crucial line between self-absorption and self development is becoming blurred when they should be miles apart. When we’re too concerned with ‘self’ we forget how to interact with others. We become an island that no one wants to visit, isolated and vulnerable.

Psychological research shows very plainly that there is a correlation between the frequency of posting photographs of yourself and decreased intimacy in personal relations. Selfies are a symptom of a modern media that encourages us to develop unhealthy habits around how others see us and we perceive ourselves.

That’s particularly worrying in the workplace. Too much focus on ‘self’ stifles creativity and inhibits your potential for success.

Selfie esteem

I’m not saying Down With Selfies. I’m saying think about how this behaviour affects how you think.

Any of these ring a bell?

…you wait for feedback on every move you make before deciding whether you’re doing something well

…you unthinkingly record every moment rather than just enjoying it

…your self esteem rests on other people’s reactions

Then you need to step back. You are in charge of your sense of ‘self’. It’s down to you to guard it and develop it.

And finalIy… I come out in cold sweats when I visit my parents and see the huge family portrait with teenage me, wearing my so cool at the time Next jumper with the shocking pink cocktail-glass motif.

It’s mortifying enough that it’s hanging on one wall in one house. That is definitely public enough. It’s never going to pop up on someone’s phone or Facebook page.

Take my advice, sometimes bucking the trend pays off.

About the author

Lucinda is an Executive and Corporate Coach. You can reach Lucinda on: uevolve, LinkedIn, Twitter

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