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by Luca Giorgetti

Personal growth, self-help, and working on yourself are terms that we are now used to hearing almost everywhere. However, considering how varied the offer can be, it’s easy to end up with vague and imprecise definitions, which don’t help us understand what it is actually all about and how they can be tangibly useful to us in our personal and professional life. In this article, we will try to better “understand” what working on yourself means and how it is linked to what happens externally, i.e., to the “success” that we achieve in our profession.

However, before setting out on this short journey, we should make a premise on what “understanding” means. “Capire” (to understand, in Italian) comes from the Latin verb “capere”, which means “to grasp”. This also sounds like another Latin word, “caput”, that means “head”. So, when we say, “I understand”, this might be true for only a third of our body.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

What is clear to the mind might not have reached our emotional side (the heart) and the body.

In short, when we are faced with new information and we say, “I understand”, we should ask ourselves whether we have really understood or whether we have simply grasped the concept rationally.

In fact, deep understanding is much broader and involves all three cores of a human being: mind, heart, and body. This is an important premise that anyone who starts a journey of personal growth should bear in mind and that we will take for granted when exploring the multi-faceted world of working on yourself.

Before you work on yourself, you need to know yourself

To start having a more precise idea of what working on yourself really means, let’s borrow a physics formula that defines work:

W = F x s


(W) Work = (F) Force x (s) Displacement

Thus, work is the result of applying a force and of the displacement caused by that force.

In layman’s terms, if I apply a force with my hand to lift a bottle, and I succeed in lifting it, I am carrying out work. This is because not only have I applied a force, but there has also been a displacement (the bottle was lifted). In this case, “W” has a positive value.

On the other hand, if I apply a force and I can’t lift the bottle, I’m not carrying out any work because the exerted force doesn’t result in a displacement (the bottle is still there). In this case, “W” has a value of zero.

When this concerns the physical world, it’s relatively simple to acknowledge whether there has or has not been a displacement: either the bottle was lifted, or it wasn’t. However, when we try to adopt this analogy to describe ourselves, things change.

There are those who describe their life as an endless series of efforts without reaching the satisfaction of achieving change. By applying the formula, we acknowledge that only efforts that result in displacement are truly meaningful.

Making an effort without gaining any result can become a form of torture that might persuade us to give up on our resolutions.

Reflect on this question: “What internal change or deep displacements have characterised my life lately?”.

Channelling your strengths

Something that we have overlooked until now is the useful question: Where should I direct the force I want to apply? Going back to the example of the bottle, if we apply our force upwards, we will have the chance to generate work by displacing it, but if we applied the force towards the table, the bottle wouldn’t move at all, with the inevitable result of not generating any work.

Therefore, we need to know how to channel our efforts to achieve results.

So, how can I know what direction to take? We have reached a core issue: before you work on yourself, you need to know yourself. Without knowing yourself and your goals, both achievements and failures will be purely accidental.

Spend 5 minutes writing down the answers that come to your mind when you ask yourself these questions: “What new personal aspects have I discovered over the last year?” and “Which purposes and goals am I setting for myself in this period of my life?”. Only by knowing yourself, you will manage to channel your efforts consistently.

Working on yourself and professionality

Let’s look at how working on ourselves can be relevant in our profession. We can generally say that any profession requires you to make ordinary efforts, the ones we need in order to carry out our daily tasks. If we look closely, most professional activities that we carry out are reactions to external stimuli, so we can say that we are being subjected to work rather than doing work.

If we change this perspective, we can instead find outlets to determine which fields we can focus our efforts on and work on ourselves. This way, we can recognise whether our efforts have helped us achieve results. 


Here are some questions, divided by topic, that will help you work on yourself in the world of business, allowing you to accurately assess your progress.

  • Relationships. Am I satisfied with the quality of my relationships? How do I feel about relationships with colleagues and clients?
    If I think I’ve been effective at working on myself in this field, I can check whether I have attracted people who are in line with my essence and with the company’s or not.
  • Skills. Am I competent or not?
    It’s vital to set myself deadlines and chances to look back on my milestones to assess whether my skills have improved or not. Have I always carried out the same things or have I allowed myself any novelties? Is the idea that I know everything about my job valid? Am I growing professionally?
  • Passion. Have I grown tired of my job? Or am I too dedicated to it and is it intoxicating me?
    This is a fundamental part of working on myself. If my spark is fading, I need to try and find a way to light it again. Other times, it’s our own passions or talents that overwhelm our whole life, without leaving space for anything else. Am I spending enough time with my family? Do I have hobbies and interests unrelated to work?

For each of the previous points, you can ask yourself:

  • A – Which of these spheres do I want to improve in?
  • B – What am I doing to make sure growth occurs?
  • C – Are there any measurable displacements that show how well my efforts are channelled?

There isn’t a single definition of “working on yourself”, and there is no immediate causal relationships between personal growth and success. However, what is certain is that if we want something to occur, we need to apply the right force towards change that is constructive for us and for others.

This is a constant dedication that all of those who have achieved great results have never avoided, but don’t worry, dedication doesn’t necessarily mean effort. According to Taoism, in fact, elegance is achieving maximum results with minimum effort.

| partem claram semper aspice |

The photos used - where not owned by the editorial team or our guests - are purchased on Adobe Stock and IStockPhoto or downloaded from platforms such as UnSplash or Pexels.

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Passodue research on issues related to salesmarketing, ethics and the centrality of human beings within the market logic, officially started in 2012. The results derived from our work are described in the publications and in the books you can find in this section.

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Passodue is a consulting and training firm founded in 2011 by Alice Alessandri and Alberto Aleo, who decided to combine their experience and make a change in their personal and professional lives. The aim of their project is to change the mindset of the market with regards to the concepts of “sale”, “marketing” and “leadership”, and to prove that doing business ethically is possible and totally effective.

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