Rising Talent Diary – Advanced Personal Awareness

Our Rising Talent Diary follows our top talent at manager level going through their Rising Talent journey & training. Our first piece kicks off with Matt Higgins, Performance Planning Manager, who shares his experience of the first Rising Talent module on personal awareness.

As the first module of our Rising talent programme I had a natural amount of intrigue, excitement and nerves before advanced personal awareness. Added to this the things we’d all heard about the course before hand, “you will definitely cry”, “oh, you’ve got the crying module” – I was keen to get stuck in, but at the same time a little apprehensive.

Rising Talent

Any apprehension I did have melted away within moments of the first Wednesday as Simon’s familiar smile greeted me. I knew we’d have a lot of fun and learn a lot over the next few days. We also very quickly connected as a group, I knew quite a lot of the group beforehand from either working with them on our group project or just having ran into them across my time at the agency.

We ran through the intro, got (re)acquainted and then jumped in to the first days topics.

A lot of what we discussed and thought about on the first day was to do with our ‘personal brand’. Whilst this is something I was aware of before, I knew this was sometimes a thing people referred to themselves as (Baggs, the brand anyone?)


I hadn’t given it much thought with regard to myself. As we delved deeper into this and started to flesh out our ‘why statements’ it started to sound less cheesy and more like something I could understand and see the value of understanding. We all agreed that having the time to think about ourselves for a lot of the 3 days, was both a very nice and very valuable use of time. No more so for the time spent thinking about this, ‘why statement’. The more we went through the module and did further bits the clearer this statement became and the more I realised why I did the things I did and why others around me do the things they do.

We also did a piece on first impressions on the first day. This did prove to be interesting, however as a large number of us had already met and in some cases this was quite some time ago, I think what came out of it was potentially a little false. Although, pleasingly for me peoples first impressions of me was largely what I’d hoped they would be!

Day 2 led to us to reviewing the SDI course the majority of us had done during our time at MEC and there was quite a lot of discussion around this and I don’t think too many of us were surprised with the colours that most of us said we were.

We also covered EQ, which for me tied back in with the work we had done on Day 1 around personal brand and why statements – I was really seeing a consistent theme running through my thoughts on these subjects.

Day 2 was also where we did see a few tears for the first time…and that will be all I say on that! But, in all seriousness I think it really helped bring the group together and helped us bond, it really makes sense having this course as the first on the programme.

The third and final day led us to delving in to the heart of leadership and this again really resonated with some of the work we’d done earlier in the course. I took this to be a positive, in that it really helped me have a clearer and more defined vision of my values, drivers and everything that goes in to making me who I am and explaining why I do the things that I do – seeing that these all aligned with the various areas we were covering was both a nice relief and quite satisfying. The day concluded with us all writing and then reading out our I have a dream speeches. This was a great way to wrap the 3 days up and it brought together a lot of the learning we’d undertaken and also brought everyone back together I think.

Overall I really enjoyed the 3 days. The content is thought and discussion provoking and there was certainly the environment which enabled and encouraged these discussions to flow. We all agreed that taking a step back and allowing ourselves the time to think about ourselves, like really, really think was really quite a nice and gratifying experience. It might sound selfish to spend time thinking about yourself, or it might sound like something you think you do a lot. But, when framed with the view of trying to delve deeper into the core of your belief system I don’t think it’s either of those things.

I’ve taken a lot out of the course, if not least the knowledge that I’m going to be spending time with a lot of really awesome people over the next year and that is definitely something to be excited about!