One-page profiles help boost self-awareness, self-care and self-control so you can be Happy and Well at Work

04 December 2015

“Sometimes, you need to step outside, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are and who you want to be”

We are currently having fun exploring ways that the person-centred tools and practices we are passionate about at HSA can help people to be happy at work. See Helen’s blog ‘Happiness and Work – can person-centred practices help?’  In this blog, I focus in more detail on how one of those tools – one page profiles – can be used to boost self-awareness and self-care and contribute towards greater happiness and wellbeing in the workplace.

I’ve long been a fan of one-page profiles. I have used them in both a personal and professional capacity and have supported many others to develop their own. Like the best of tools, it is simple to use, has multiple functions and can be easily adapted to suit the need. I have several one-page profiles I use for different purposes; each one has been through various incarnations and remains a work in progress. Here is the one I now most commonly refer to myself in work and share with my colleagues and clients at HSA.

One-page profiles can be used in lots of ways within the workplace at an individual, team and organisational level. I will be writing in later blogs about the ways they can improve relationships in work, boost team collaboration and support the organisational system. In this blog, I focus on how they can be used at a more individual level to help people to become more self-aware and self-caring.

Acknowledging your strengths

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou

A one-page profile includes a list of what people most like and admire about the person.

Research shows that to be happy, we need to focus on our strengths, and most of us need to be regularly reminded of what those strengths are. These character strengths then become our superpowers and the key to our happiness and success. Whilst people often express discomfort when asked to talk about what they are good at, or to give and receive appreciation, we’ve found that the more people share their strengths and show appreciation for others, the easier it becomes. See my recent blog on appreciating character.

To complete their profiles, people have to reflect on what they are good at and seek feedback from others on their best qualities, character strengths and skills. Asking for such feedback and sharing appreciation on character strengths can feel very difficult, particularly in a work setting. It is important to therefore recognise that people like to show or share their appreciation for each other in different ways.

At HSA, we’ve developed a simple tool to help us to share the ways we each like to receive appreciation and feedback. We’ve also developed various strategies for sharing appreciation to cater for different personalities. And Fink have helped us design some wonderful appreciation cards that can provide a great aide when people are reflecting on their own strengths or sharing what they like and admire about each other.

A one-page profile becomes a nice reminder of your superpowers. It can be pinned to a notice board or fridge or saved to your desktop. It helps you to bring the best of yourself to work and to do the things you are good at. Being reminded of all your strengths will help to boost confidence and foster a growth mindset so you can face any challenges with greater resilience and optimism.

Deciding what matters to you

Every day presents unlimited opportunities to do less of what doesn’t feel good, and more of what aligns to my heart’s purpose, which feels great.” –  Robbie Vorhaus, Author One Less, One More

A one-page profile also includes a section on ‘what is important to you’.

We are happiest when we are doing the things that are important to us and with people who we care about. We all end up spending time doing some things that don’t make us feel good. To be happy, we need to regularly: reflect on what we are doing, what matters to us and our day to day experiences; decide what we want to do more or less of; and design our days, weeks, months so that we have the best chance of experiencing happiness.

To complete this section of a one-page profile, you have to reflect on the things that matter to you and the things that make you feel good. We have designed some One-Page Profile Fink cards that help to guide you through some key questions to aid this process.  Reflecting on questions such as what a good day looks like,  who you enjoy spending time with, where you like spending time and what physical activity you enjoy helps you take notice of your experiences and how you feel. You become more self-aware and mindful.  This is in itself one way to greater wellbeing (‘Take notice’ is one of the five ways to wellbeing, NEF).

Our Five Ways to Wellbeing Fink cards can help you reflect on other aspects of your life that are important for your wellbeing to include – how you keep learning, be active, connect and give. It can also be useful to consider whether the current balance of pleasure and purpose in your life best supports your wellbeing. (‘Happiness by Design’ by Professor Dolan, see later blogs on pleasure and purpose)

In ‘Happiness by Design’, Paul Dolan talks about a Decide, Design, Do cycle. We need to reflect on what makes us happy and well, in order to decide what we should do more or less of. As Dolan says, we are more likely to act upon those decisions if we have made a commitment to do so and designed an environment and context that promotes positive habit forming – including prompts, reminders and default settings. Writing down what is important to you in a one-page profile is one way to make and share that commitment. So that you (and potentially those who support you) can hold yourself to your commitments, it is important to include sufficient detail about who, what, where, when and how.

Caring for yourself

“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day

The final section of a one-page profile sets out how you can best be supported. It can feel very hard to ask for support, particularly when you most need it. It can feel even harder to know how to help yourself. One-page profiles can help you do both. I’ll be exploring the ways one-page profiles (and other tools) can be used within teams to help people support each other – to both ‘give and take’ – in later blogs. For now, I want to share how this tool can help you to care for yourself.

When I help people to complete this section, I ask them to describe a bad day. Reflecting on the things that cause you negative feelings helps you identify your stress points, decide what not to do and design your day in a way that helps avoid such experiences. There are some challenges that can’t simply be avoided, but by reflecting on what it is that you find difficult, you can work out how best to take those challenges on. I know that if I’m late, lacking sleep or feeling overwhelmed, my stress levels will increase. My profile provides a checklist reminding me of ways to avoid this happening.


The process of drafting a one-page profile aids self-awareness, and the profile becomes a useful record and reminder of what you are good at and what makes you feel good. By writing these things down, you make a commitment to yourself to do more of them. You also create a good ‘prompt’ for yourself. It thereby helps you design a good setting for forming positive habits and doing more of the things you enjoy. By thinking about and recording the things you find more difficult, and ways you can be supported to either avoid such experiences or to overcome them, you develop a useful checklist that will help you to better care for yourself (to include knowing what help to ask for and when).

Having a one-page profile has encouraged me to reflect upon what is and isn’t going well in my life and has helped me to then act upon those insights in order to make changes – both big and small. It has had a huge impact on my personal wellbeing and happiness, both in work and outside work. Why not take 30 mins to draft your own? We’ll happily give you some feedback if you fancy sharing it with us.

Eve Holt, Associate

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