Self-diagnosis is never a good idea.

(Dr. Google doesn’t know everything.)

by Lisa Vermaak

Director of Operations at Huddle



Self-diagnosis is never a good idea.

(Dr. Google doesn’t know everything.)


Dr Google is a massive problem. Just ask your GP. Countless people (some estimates say 40% of Australians) search for their symptoms online every day.  As you’d expect they receive a wide spectrum of diagnoses from “get more sleep” to “you have a brain tumour”.In fact, a recent study conducted by the Edith Cowan University found that in response to a search, correct medical advice is dispensed by Dr Google as a first result only 36% of the time.


Why do we think that is? I guess because the quality of your search is going to result in the quality of your diagnosis. We all know about confirmation bias so possibly we’ll search for things that may reinforce our existing fears. Or only input some of the symptoms that we’re aware of as opposed to the symptoms that would result if a medical professional prodded you. So to speak.


Why am I giving Dr Google such a hard time? I mean the girl’s only doing her best with the information she’s been given. Aha. Perhaps therein lies the problem. This is what we do in so many areas of our lives. We decide what the problem is and try and fix it ourselves. Hoping we don’t have to spend money or experience discomfort or hear what we don’t want to hear. Self-diagnosis it seems can be a dangerous path to follow.


It’s not just with health. It’s in every area of our lives but today I want to talk about how we assess ourselves when we’re trying to make a change in our careers.


Generally, we know we want to make a change but don’t know what to change or how to do it. Most people will think getting their resume re-written will help them change jobs or industries but being seen differently is more than just rewriting your CV. And just like with self-diagnosis of a health condition, self-diagnosing career issues is problematic too. Identifying the actual issue rather than your perception of the issue is a skill very few people can objectively do themselves.



Let’s experiment a little.


It would be natural to assume that the reason you receive no responses from the roles you apply for is just because there are lots of candidates out there applying for the same role.


What if the real reason your resume isn’t cutting through is because you’re presenting yourself the  way that you always have. What if someone else looked at you objectively and saw what you couldn’t see in yourself. What if they were able to reposition you in a way that would never have occurred to you. Which allowed you to apply for jobs you thought were out of your reach? And you could treble your chances of an interview?


That’s the difference between being repositioned by an expert and getting your resume reformatted in a nice font.


Say you want to make a change but don’t know what that really means. Perhaps, you think, a therapist may let me talk about my hopes and dreams.


What if someone could start from the beginning with you, identify the areas of strength you have, narrow down your areas of interest, design the kind of life you really want to live and clarify concrete ways to do all of this so you can to transition from where you are now to where you would only dream of going with practical, achievable methods?


That’s the difference between talking and dreaming about doing some vague thing and having someone take you step by step through your transition. The difference between a specific and personalised approach to your life and career and a generalist letting you talk about your feelings.


Being successful in getting an interview but being pipped at the post time after time is deeply frustrating. Feedback is rare and self-analysis is the default coping mechanism in this situation.


What if the mystery you’re unable to unravel on your own is as simple as you communicating something negative without even realising it?You may never get that kind of feedback, but a professional style consultant can revolutionise the way your personal brand is presented and received. I challenge any of us to be that self-aware to identify this as an issue without some kindly delivered outside help! Dressing well for an interview and understanding what you’re communicating in a non-verbal way could be the difference between success and repeated failure.

Um... maybe it's your interview outfit?


Mood is a defining factor in motivation. Many of us assume that the reason our motivation to seek new roles and situations is low is because we’re eating badly or not exercising.


But what really is affecting your performance and motivation rather than what you imagine it may be? Is it lack of sleep? Is it a niggling injury that wears you down every day and robs you of the energy to approach a career change? Are you kidding yourself with your alcohol intake and won’t admit to yourself that a mood suppressant is the last think you need?


That’s the difference between deciding for yourself that you need a personal trainer, a dietitian or a physio and letting an Executive Health Coach assess and identify the real issue and walk with you in the right direction.


So, Your Honour (and Dr. Google) I think the case is made for the hazards of self-diagnosis in most areas. All of us need good people around us and consistent feedback to be the best versions of ourselves. Our own diagnosis is only one perspective and if you’re anything like me I don’t always see the things in myself that others do.


So maybe seeking out the right kind of resources in real life for the issue you’re trying to solve is preferable to relying on search terms and Dr. Google.

#just sayin’

Header Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

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