Many people see what is wrong with others but will not take a closer look at themselves. Self-assessment is crucial to being the best that we can be at all times. It is helpful to have someone brutally honest to assist you on this journey of self-discovery. Self-assessment means looking deep inside yourself and focusing on you. We are not talking about being self-centered but allowing you to learn more about the person that looks back at you in the mirror. The person that even your most astute friends may not be aware of because you have masked it so well.
Agree that you will be very honest with yourself. Taking a hard look in the mirror will reveal who you truly are. So let us begin there. Take a long hard look at you in the mirror: Whose reflection do you see?
Exercise: Describe the person you see in the mirror using 25 meaningful adjectives. Use both good and bad ones; remember this is a truthful exercise. Dig down deep, be honest, this is not an exercise for who you want to be; this exercise is for the person staring at you now. Be daring -- allow yourself to rediscover a few lost truths.
(Note: If you are taking this journey with a friend, have them do the same about you and compare the adjectives. This should cause a conversation to stir. Try not to make excuses for any adjectives. The point of this exercise is to see how you see yourself. Add any adjectives from your friend's list to yours and put this list in place where it is in plain view.)
Now that you have looked at who you see reflected in the mirror, it is time to reflect on your likes and dislikes. This is important to allow you to identify potential issues and assist you in getting to the root cause. Understanding why a phrase or an action can affect you in a negative way helps you prevent repeating poor behavior. Remember: If we fail to face our past, we are destined to repeat it. Look for ways to cope with these stressors.
Exercise: What activities do you like to do? What type of books do you enjoy reading? What can you not tolerate (no exceptions)? What makes you sad? For each answer, explain why. Explore the depths of why and not just the surface.
(Note: Allow your friend to think of 20 questions and interview you, writing down each answer verbatim.)
Identify what makes you happy beyond compare. In life we should be passionate about what we are doing, or why do it? What motivates you to get out of bed each day? This would be your passion. Your desire to live -- this will cause you to spring into action even when you are physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted.
Exercise: Begin a journal. What brings you the most satisfaction? Each day for seven days write about your emotions, actions, thoughts and lessons learned. Write down what is effortless and most rewarding. Although you are doing this for seven days, you can include past and present entries. Unlike a diary, journals are mostly about thoughts and reflections as opposed to daily events.
Many people dread the interview questions most interviewers like to ask. What are your strengths and weaknesses? The truth is we all have them both. You must be prepared to discuss and explore the positive and negative traits you possess. When discussing your strengths and weaknesses, analyze how you will increase or decrease their effects on your overall performance professionally and personally.
Exercise: Write down your strengths and weaknesses (positive and negative). Unlike a job interview, you are not going to lessen the blow. Write down the pros and cons of having each one, then write down how to increase or decrease how they effect who you are.
(Note: Have a friend write down what they see as your strengths and weaknesses, and what they see that you are good at. Is this something you do naturally, or have you learned it? Discuss their list and see how to cultivate, nurture and develop your naturally talented abilities into an effective skill set.)
Your personality is based on your experiences in life. So now, take a look in the mirror again; this time you are reflecting on what type of person you are. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you lead the pack or do you prefer to sit on the porch and watch? Are you creative? A problem solver? Are you someone who invites change, or does change upset you? Does a new and fresh idea excite you, or does commonality comfort you? Are you a team player, or do you work alone?
Exercise: Find an objective personality test, take this and journal your results and thoughts. You can access one such test through the link in the References section.
(Note: discuss your results with family and friends. You will find that some remarkable conversations will develop. Use this information and discussions to intensify the positive and avert the negative.)
Finally, what would you do even if no pay were involved? Many people say that money motivates them, but what really motivates them is what the money will allow them to do. So, what would you do if failure was not an option? This is the hardest thing to realize. Many of us are not doing what truly motivates us because we have settled for secondary goals.
Different things motivate people. Identifying the "why" factor is essential in self-assessment. Knowing why you do what you do helps with the oppositions you face. This prepares you to go the extra mile for promotions, to contribute, to be recognized and to feel joy throughout your day. Just in case you are wondering, yes do it for pay, which makes it even sweeter. Do not allow a job to define you, but you define the job you want to do based on who you are.
Exercise: Answer the following questions -- Do you enjoy receiving recognition for a job well done? Do you look for ways to contribute new and fresh ideas? Are you creative? Are you a number cruncher? Do you like to think? Do you love to read? These questions should not be answered based on your current job. Answer them based on who you are discovering yourself to be. They should provoke deeper questions. Dig! Dig! Dig!
(Note: You can also take a career test to help measure your skills and preferences. A career change might be in order for you or maybe just learning you have more to offer to your current employer will change your drive on Monday mornings.)
The longer and harder you look into the mirror, the clearer the picture will become. The better you feel about yourself, and the more you know who you are There are many ways to do self-assessments; the point is to do it honestly. Sometimes hiring a personal coach is better than going it alone or with friends that might want to spare a feeling or two.
Self-assessment will drain you mentally and emotionally. It is important to have support around you. If done correctly, you will need to make some hard and difficult decisions. Spare no feelings (yours); the point is to make changes for the better.