10 Steps to Knowing Yourself Better

positionIgnitionbox1By Simon North, Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club

There are times in our life and career when getting to know ourselves better becomes the Holy Grail. We know that it’s important to know ourselves and we know our level of self-knowledge correlates with our emotional intelligence. What are the things that we can do to really get to ourselves well?

1.    Try Out Different Resources

The personal development market is a multibillion dollar market worldwide. There are now literally millions of resources – books, videos, CDs and other tools – that enable us to understand ourselves better and differently.

2.    Take a Personality Test

One thing we can do to understand ourselves better is to seek to understand our personality. Depending on what you’ve heard from other professionals or colleagues you may wish to go and try psychological tests that generate a unique profile of your personality. These tests are available online, they are often cheap and sometimes even free and you can learn a lot from them. The tests give you a personality profile based on your preferences and behaviours. To a greater or lesser extent you’ll find they provide you with useful knowledge and sometimes conformation of who you are.

3.    Identify Strengths

There’s a huge body of material around how to identify our strengths. The supply is huge because the demand is there. When we’re considering career transition, for example, we want to know more clearly which of our traits can really work in our favour. By using what’s out there we can come to understand what our learned strengths are, especially which ones we’re not using enough. This helps us know ourselves better and also points us towards where to go with that knowledge.

4.    Get Feedback

We should aim to get personal feedback from people who will give us an honest view. Why? Because we’re really interested in how we can get to know ourselves better from a personal point-of-view. Ask others questions such as “What sort of person am I?”, “How do I come across?” and “What would make me more empathetic?”

5.    Ask for a Professional POV

Are not our personal and professional identities deeply integrated? To truly know ourselves, we must know ourselves both personally and professionally. As well as getting personal feedback from those close to us, we can consider working with a professional career expert to learn more about our professional selves.

6.    Look into 360-degree Feedback

Every one of us has a gap between our own perception of ourselves and others’ perception of us. Getting to know yourself better is about how you can close that perception gap. A good way of doing so is through the process of 360-degree feedback. It involves you getting feedback from the various types of people involved in your life, such as individuals in your professional life including subordinates, peers and bosses. You can even look into your organization’s or your personal supply chain and indeed get views from people in your friendship group. The result is a range of views on you in your various guises and wearing your different hats, giving you a rounded view of yourself – hence the term “360-degree feedback”.

7.    Do a Resilience Check

This kind of check takes stock of how you feel at the moment. In a good space? Enjoying life? Personal life in a healthy space? How fulfilling is your work? What is the quality of your work relationships? A resilience check is important because the extent to which you know yourself is going to be quite contextual, situational if you will.

8.    Compare Your Reactions to Other People’s

Ask people how they deal with pressure when work projects are lagging behind, when deadlines have to be met, when various tough situations have to be dealt with. You can come to specially understand how your emotional resilience is being tested so you can learn more about yourself in those situations.

9.    Get a Coach

You could hire a life or career coach’s services or your employer could do it for you. Either way be clear about why you want a coach and what you want to learn from the coaching process. You could also get a mentor. Find somebody who is happy to provide support to you and who gives you regular time slots in which you talk to them about your work and the specific things you’re trying to achieve.

10. Take Notice of Your Interactions

When you go through these steps you get a pretty good view of the quality of your interpersonal behaviour with the people in your life, whether it’s your family or people in the workplace. The more curious you are about those relationships, the more likely you’ll be able to adapt them if necessary.

About the author:

Simon North is the Founder of Position Ignition and the Career Ignition Club. Position Ignition is one of the UK’s leading career development and career planning companies. The Career Ignition Club offers a range of career support tools, advice and e-learning materials for its members. Follow Simon North and his team on Twitter @PosIgnition and get more advice from him on their Career Advice Blog.

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