“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).
We live in a world bombarding us with who we are supposed to be. As we watch television, read magazines, read articles on-line, watch the lives of Hollywood or sports stars, we are presented with a picture of what success looks like, what beauty is supposed to be, what happiness should sound and feel like. As much as I like things like Facebook, again there is a subtle competition to gain more friends, to get ‘liked’ more. Even with this blog, my pressure is to collect more followers. All of these elements start to define who we are.
My challenge to you this week is to understand yourself first, to truly learn how to be yourself. In my growth and development, understanding who I am has been one of my greatest gifts. As a quieter, more reserved person, I saw myself as flawed in some way compared to the noisy, extroverts out there. Only once I realized that it is normal and in fact great to be an introvert, could I make the choice to allow my introversion to work for me, rather than against me. I realized that I am not alone in needing my own space, I discovered that this gives me certain strengths that others do not. I discovered that I am not broken but simply have different things to contribute to life.
Which personality test?
There are a huge range of personality tests out there. Indeed, doing research for this post, I typed in the term “personality test” in Google and found 4 380 000 results. How do you sort out the strange from the helpful? In my career, particularly with my background in human resources and training, I have probably done 10 different personality tests. The good news is that although they all use slightly different terminology and titles, they generally painted the same picture of who I am. Some of the more popular personality tests are DISC, Myers-Briggs, the Big Five and the Keirsey Temperament sorter. One of the original personality tests talks about four temperaments – sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and thoughtful) and phlegmatic (relaxed and quiet).
Which personality test should you do? There are a number of very insightful personality tests out there. Which one you complete depends a lot on the budget you have available as well as what you want to gain from the test. The most helpful personality test which I completed was the Insights Personality test (www.insights.com), which unfortunately was more costly but provided me with a detailed report (roughly 20 pages) summarizing who I am. However, I have also completed some great personality tests at only a portion of the cost. I particularly liked the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (www.myersbriggs.org) and DISC (www.thediscpersonalitytest.com). The cost with many of these tests comes in because the source material, including the research underlying the tests, are copyrighted. In addition, because personality tests can define you and frame your future, it is generally best (and often required) that feedback on these tests be given by a psychometrist, psychologist or coach. Please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a recommendation to a South African practitioner.
Now, as you read this, you may be asking yourself – isn’t there an easier option? I would like to encourage you to try to complete an online version of Myers-Briggs test which is available on-line for free. Carve out 30 minutes of free time over the coming week and when you are ready, complete the following three steps:
- Do the online test here – http://www.16personalities.com/
- You will then receive a four-letter code – ENFJ, ISTJ etc. This code summarizes your personality type and distinguishes you from the 15 other kinds of personality types which the Myers-Briggs personality test focuses on.
- At the base of the page follow the links that provide you with further information on this personality type, such as careers, relationships etc. More information on these four letter personality profiles can be found here – http://www.personalitydesk.com/types – Click on your code to find out more.
But I don’t have time!
Alternatively, if you can’t find the time for such a long test, watch the following 7 minute video. Listen carefully to the prompts and record your four-letter code.
Go to the You Tube video here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQoOqQiVzwQ
Now go to the following website: http://www.personalitydesk.com/types to find out more about your personality.
This is the first step in finding out more about who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and for those not sure of what career path to foll0w, a good indicator as to what field will suit your temperament best. Once you have the test results, then talk to others about them and ask them whether this does indeed describe you. Use the information you glean from this to understand yourself better. Happy exploring!
Do the results of this personality test describe who you are? Does it help?
NEXT WEEK: Exploring careers
NOTE: To all my regular followers, please accept my apologies that I did not post a blog last week as is my commitment. Nicky’s father sadly passed away so our focus was necessarily elsewhere. My commitment is to be as regular as possible with this blog and I always aim to have a new blog available by the end of day every Wednesday.