The process of understanding yourself can be challenging. Sometimes we aren’t honest with ourselves. Sometimes we don’t see the whole picture. Sometimes we see exactly what is there, but fight against it. That being said, it is important to do your best. Only when you know what makes yourself tick, will you be able to seek out the right jobs and succeed in your career. Only then will you be able to plan for successful interactions with others on your teams. You must first know yourself to be able to truly understand and succeed in the world around you. Here are some tips to help you in your journey of self-discovery.
- Identify your values. When you identify and name your values, you are then able to look at what you are doing and see if it lines up. For example, do you value spending time with your family? If so, does your home and work life mesh with that? Too many people I know value one thing, but have set their lives up in a way that they does not include it. For example, they say they value family, but have been stuck at work for every single family event in the past year. Another common difficulty is when you choose your work based on one value, but ignore another value. For example, let’s say you value helping people, but you also value peace and quiet. Choosing to work in a trauma center is in line with the value to help people, but not the value of peace and quiet. Let the folks who value excitement seek out those types of job. You can support both values somewhere else. If your choices do not reflect your values, you will feel beat down and bitter. Not the best way to find motivation, I don’t think.
- Explore your strengths. I know this is a common refrain, but it is important to maximize your strengths and work around your weaknesses. Most of the time, folks have a good sense of what their weaknesses are. It is like a big flashing neon sign in our brain when we are struggling or messing up, right? What takes more exploration is our strengths. Finding your strengths can go beyond looking at what we are good at. I aced the math SAT, but I am not an accountant. Math is a talent of mine, but it is not a strength because I just don’t love it. I don’t mind crunching numbers, but it is not what fills me up with excitement. Look for the things you are good at AND that you are excited to do. Balance out whatever weaknesses you have by really working toward your strengths. For more help with uncovering your strengths, try: http://strengths.gallup.com or http://www.tmbc.com/store/standout-assessment. (Thanks to Jeanne Supin – www.supin.com – for recommending these tools!)
- Uncover your preferences. Some people would rather talk face to face, others on the phone. Paying attention to your preferences allows you to set yourself up for success, rather than feel like you are dragging yourself around doing what you “have to do.” Some specific preferences that I think are important to pay attention to: Do you like public praise or would you rather get a private note? Would you prefer to work straight through or take a break? What time of day do you work best? Make sure that you pay attention to what you are doing when you are “in the groove” and what you are doing when you feel overwhelmed and sluggish. It is best to understand your preferences, so you can plan your day and your interactions accordingly. Don’t keep doing things that make you irritated!
- Accept yourself for who you are. Now that you have a better idea of who you are, accept yourself. It is common to wish that you were something else, but that gets you nowhere. Avoid situations that highlight your weaknesses, that push you away from your values, or that dishonor your preferences. These situations lead only to inefficiency, stagnation, and more of the same. When you are able to truly understand and accept yourself, you will be able to find your path to success and speed along your way. Imagine all of the possibilities when you know how to utilize your strengths and you have the energy and motivation to accomplish your dreams!
Find your path to self-reflection!
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