Know yourself

One of the most significant expressions of my geekiness is that I will take almost any test to know myself better. Not the Facebook quizzes about which Harry Potter character I'm most like, but validated assessments that give me valuable information about how I'm wired (and how that differs from how others are wired too).

I have a binder containing printouts from a dozen assessments, on everything from my spiritual gifts to where I score on the Call Reluctance Scale. I can tell you my top character strengths (humor, honesty, hope, social intelligence and gratitude) and my top StrengthsFinder 2.0 themes (activator, strategic, positivity, individualization and competition) and my top spiritual gifts (leadership, exhortation, and service). I've learned that I'm "terrific at judging rapidly changing priorities, which makes [me] flexible with a practical bent" on the Kolbe A Index Result yet my DiSC Style reminds me that I "have a tendency to jump to conclusions." Of course, I'm not doing these assessments any justice by pulling one quote out of a comprehensive report, but my point is that taking these helps me understand both my strengths and my opportunities. Learning from the results have made me a better leader, a better wife, a better mom, and a better person.

Here are links to the assessments I most strongly recommend. All are free unless otherwise noted.

The Four Tendencies: This brief quiz from Gretchen Rubin will identify how you respond to inner and outer expectations. Understanding your results will help you figure out how to get more done and improve your relationships. It also helps you understand why other people don't do things the way you do. Seriously. It's amazing.

StrengthsFinder 2.0: Purchase the book, which comes with a code to take the assessment, for less than $16. Identify your top 5 strengths and learn more about the benefits of a strengths-based approach. Understanding my strengths has guided my career choices since I took this in 2010.

VIA Character Strengths: Research reveals that people who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life and six times more likely to be engaged at work. Taking the VIA Character Strengths Survey in 2013 helped me understand how important humor is to me and I started using that strength much more often.

Barsch Learning Styles Inventory: Many of us haven't thought about how we learn since we were in school, but it's worth taking 3 minutes to determine your preferred learning style. We have all of our new hires take the inventory so we can tailor their training.

Enneagram: I've been interested in the nine personality types identified by the Enneagram for some time but realize I've only guessed at my basic type and would benefit from a full personality profile across all nine types. I'm going to take this scientifically validated test for only $12.

5 Love Languages: I was first introduced to this book and concept 17 years ago, and it still has an impact on me. Discovering your love language - and your partner's love language - will strengthen your partnership as you learn to speak each other's language.

Those should keep you busy for a while! Of course not all people like taking assessments, and in fact some reject their validity. If you fall into that category, there's something to be learned about yourself from that as well! And knowing yourself can come in other forms, from journaling to asking other people for feedback. We can all benefit from knowing ourselves better, and there are many avenues to do it.

Photo by Stefan Kunze on Unsplash

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