Most of us understand the importance of knowing ourselves. When we know who we are, we make better decisions, take responsibility for developing our gifts and changing in the areas we need to grow. But sometimes it’s really hard for us to figure out who we are on our own. We need the help of a mirror, an outside perspective to reflect back to us with focused clarity, things we may not be able to see on our own.
This is one of the reasons that I am a fan of personality assessments. While some personality assessments may not tell you much of anything because they’re too shallow or generic, there are many assessment tools that are very useful. These tools aren’t provided so that we can label ourselves or others, they’re provided as tools that help us grow.
Here are just a few I recommend:
The Enneagram – this personality assessment presents nine types but is a complex system that helps you understand your core need and how your strengths and temptations interact. You can take a free sampler test here, and I would recommend checking out The Enneagram from a Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert, which provides in-depth description of each type.
The Birkman Method – this assessment is focused on the workplace and what your usual behavior is, what your true needs are and what stress behaviours you exhibit when your needs aren’t met. This assessment plots you on a four square color grid and provides insight into the careers that might fit you best. This is an expensive test but well worth taking – you’ll need to find a Birkman consultant to review it with you as well. You’ll find more info here.
Style Statement – this is a fun workbook created by Danielle LaPorte and Carrie McCarthy. While directed at finding your authentic style to express yourself, the questions encompass much more than clothing and the creative process of developing a style statement gives you lots to think about. Here’s the website.
Do More Great Work – this book by Michael Bungay Stanier, is a series of exercises designed to help you brainstorm what great work you’d like to do. It’s geared around helping you discover interests and areas of opportunities. The exercises, called “maps” are easy to do and apply and usually fairly quick, so you don’t have to feel bogged down and instead can start implementing ideas. Here’s the website.
The Power of Full Engagement – this book by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz is an interesting assessment of learning how to manage your energy during the day instead of focusing on time management. You can assess how you’re doing with a free profile here, or just read the book which is full of great examples.
The Power of Uniqueness – Arthur Miller’s book introduces his Motivated Abilities Pattern method and is all about understanding exactly what motivates you and how. He has an assessment questionnaire at the back of the book.
Life Entrepreneurs – this book by Gregg Vanourek and Christopher Gergen provides a lot of examples of how people integrate work, personal life and purpose in different ways. Their website has a personal assessment and other exercises designed to help you figure out steps you could take toward becoming a life entrepreneur.
Again, these kind of assessments aren’t meant to be used as label machines that define who we are in some sort of static box. All of these tools are best viewed as means to seeing in a new way, of understanding your strengths, your weaknesses, the areas you should hone and the habits you may need to change. Have fun!