Socrates wasn’t the first to say, “know thyself” or to expand on the idea of self knowledge. However he did say “the unexamined life is not worth living” in Plato’s Apology. This really resonates with me and where I find myself today. Don’t worry, I won’t be diving deep into ancient philosophy here; I don’t want to put you guys to sleep. Socrates was just a good place to start.
What I want to talk about today is where to start. Simon Sinek wrote a GREAT book called Start with Why. This book is really eye opening for leaders or anyone who is struggling with living their purpose. I agree with him on just about every point made in that book and highly recommend it for anyone who is leading people or organizations. My issue is that I have finally come to realize that my “Why” is too broad and generic to inspire specific action.
Every time my wife has asked me what my Why is, I always tell her it’s “To help people” She would then tell me that is too vague, to which I would respond it’s perfectly vague! In a day-to-day sense it is a perfectly broad purpose because I can tap into it wherever and whenever I see an opportunity.
However, lately in my High Performance Planner there is a part on the evening journal where you rate different aspects of your day on a scale of 1-5. One of the categories is CLARITY: “I knew my why and lived intentionally today” Since I started using this planner I haven’t had a day where I rated higher than a 3. So I asked myself why my score here is so stagnant. This led me to think about my purpose “to help people”. When I zoom out and start to think about what plan of action I can put together to accomplish this purpose, nothing comes to mind because there is an infinite amount of options. I decided to change my approach starting this week.
I’m going to spend this week reviewing many of my own test and/or assessment results. Hopefully, that through these reminders, I will discover something more specific and actionable in regards to my purpose. I am a sucker for these tests. They are crop full of insights about my personality, communication style, leadership style. etc. I’ll give you a brief run down, just in case you aren’t familiar with the options that are out there to help you with your pursuit of self-knowledge.
The first test like these that I ever took was the Myers-Briggs. This is a test that can tell you how you deal with perception and judgement. They measure your responses to their test in terms of directing and receiving energy, taking in information, making decisions, and approaching the outside world. I am an ENFP which stands for Extroverted, iNtuitive, Feeling and Perceiving.
Next up I’ll dig up my DiSC assessment that I took with Shandel Slaten. Shandel is WONDERFUL! She is the first life coach I ever met. She is brilliant and her approach to corporate and individual coaching and leadership is phenomenal. She’s never been my personal coach, however I have sat in on her sessions, multiple times, in a corporate setting and was blown away. OK sorry, enough about Shandel, onto what the DiSC assessment is and what you can learn from it.
This is a test that measures your behavioral style and relationship building approach in regards to Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Consciousness. The interesting thing about this test is that it will also give you results on what your adaptive rating (how you change in a work or other setting) is on all 4 of these aspects. One basic little nugget I remember from the DiSC assessment, is that if your adaptive scores are drastically different from your natural scores, that means you are changing and adapting quite a bit when you are in a professional environment. This can and will lead to stress. I rate high as an influencer and low in consciousness in both natural and adaptive. I will do a more detailed post about what that means in the future.
Next up we have Enneagram. This is one that is gaining popularity as of late. This is an assessment that assigns a number and type to you based on your responses to their test. I am a 2 which is “The Helper”. This was not a surprise to me at all when I got my results. At first glance it fits PERFECTLY with my vague purpose of “helping people”. Digging in a little more it was able to give me some valuable insights as to what unhealthy behaviors I can watch out for in myself and work on improving. I like this test because it’s free, it gives you relationship combination descriptions, and there are alot of conversations out there about Enneagram right now. I don’t think it’s the end all be all of personality tests like some do, however I do find it very useful. To learn more check out this book.
Lastly, is one that I took just before starting to write this, so I’m relatively knew to this one. The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin is a book that I’ll be buying soon. The free assessment is on her website. It’s pretty quick and approachable. We all fall into one of four categories, when it comes to how we respond to expectations. I am an Obliger; the other categories are Rebel, Upholder, and Questionner. This is a good place to start since it’s quick and easy. I would suggest continuing to Myers Briggs if you are looking for deeper personal insights because it is more of an in depth assessment.
When it comes to personality tests, I would go to these resources versus the “what Friends Character you are” or “which candy bar you are” or basically most of the personality tests you run across on the Facebook or Buzzfeed.
So instead of staying with my WHY; I am starting with myself. My idea is the better I know myself, the easier it will be to find my true “why”. If you have gone through this process I would love to hear from you.
Let me know if any of these resources were helpful to you or if you have any questions or suggestions for me. Have a LOVELY week, try to put some good in the world today!