Self-knowledge is the starting point on the journey of self-development. Self-knowledge gives us a window onto our potential. It indicates where our strengths lie, what things we are naturally good at and how we might combine our natural gifts with the opportunities around us. Here are some of the main ways to find out just where your potential lies.
The starting point for your journey of self-development is You, the person in the mirror. Looking at yourself, your strengths, likes and dislikes, preferences, and skills is an essential first step in your self-development plan. Here are some of the ways you can carry out your own self-research.
- look in the mirror and notice what you see
- journalise and diarise. Diaries are useful for recording events and your reactions to events.
- write down a dialogue with parts of yourself. If you have a fear, call it “Bill” and have a chat with him. He might give you insights into what really makes him happy and what makes him afraid.
- get feedback on your work and behaviour from colleagues and friends. For a balanced view ask your critics’ views as well.
- study your relationships and how they make you feel
- draw your life history to date and project it forward.
Your true passion
The secret to finding your strengths is to do what you love. Steve Jobs, legendary founder of Apple Computers and Pixar Animation Studios, said:
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.
And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
Your personality is the set of characteristics that don’t change during your life but can develop in healthy and positive directions. Your personality characteristics also indicate what things you will find come naturally to you.
There are many different kinds of personality typologies and assessments, such as the Myers-Briggs model of 16 personality types and the Enneagram model of 9 personality types. These personality models can offer clues to the things you prefer to do in your life, which are invariably the things you are good at and where your natural strengths lie. Here are some of those models.
Jobs and personalities
As Steve Jobs said earlier, there is nothing more satisfying and enriching than to find work that matches our strengths. When we do this, our potential to grow and succeed is unlimited. John Holland suggests that, when you choose a career or job, it should reflect the things you like to do. He says there are 6 different types of job category…
1. working with things
2. working with data
3. working with others
4. serving others
5. working to innovate
6. investigators and analysers.
Values and life centres
Some people are lucky enough to perceive their talents at an early age, perhaps at school or in the family. Others come to them slowly after a process of wrong turns and failings. Others may not come to self-knowledge until late in life when they suddenly see with blinding clarity where their lives have been taking them. The important point to remember is that, at whatever point it comes, it is always possible to turn self-knowledge into self-realisation.
You can learn more about this topic by reading the free eBook “Maximising Your Potential – Be all you can be!” written by Eric Garner.