Tools to Help You Discover Your Unique
Learning to live and love your Unique is part of a life's journey towards discovery of self.
Today, I would like to recommend some tools that you can use to help you with that journey.
Personality tests are great for discovering your Unique traits and behaviors. I have taken many different forms of the tests over the years. The two best are Myers-Briggs and DISC. I also like Strengths Finder which details out your Unique set of strengths rather than just describing personality.
Myers-Briggs is detailed with 16 different type classifications. Although it has a lot of history and data behind it, some people complain that their "type" does not EXACTLY reflect their behaviors. Of course, this can be true of any of the assessment tools. I like it because you can take the test for FREE at many different sites and there is a wealth of information on each type easily located on the internet.
DISC is a more general and easier to understand assessment. Instead of 16 different types, you only have 4 components that are represented in the acronym - Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance (sometimes stated differently but meaning the same thing). DISC describes more about behaviors than personality, so it is easier to understand how to relate it to your own style. This site offers a free and abbreviated version of the test, but I recommend searching out a more in-depth test.
Finally, you may want to also take the Strengths Finder test, especially if you are searching for ways to leverage your Unique talents in the business arena. The book, Strengths Finder 2.0, can be purchased at any bookstore or online retailer selling books. There are a whole series of other books that help you understand how to use what you learn. I highly recommend this test if you want to discover your own Unique combination of talents.
Your life experiences also help to define and shape who you are; and who you are becoming. I spent the first half of my childhood living in the Northeastern part of the U.S. I have spent the rest of my life living in the Southern part of the U.S. Seeing the difference in cultures through the eyes of a child has given me some Unique insights and perspectives as an adult. I bring that dynamic view to everything that I do.
What life experiences have you had? Have you lived in different places? Have you traveled abroad? Do you have friends or family from different ethnic or cultural backgrounds? What religions have you practiced or been exposed to?
If you never done it, I recommend making a list of all of these unique experiences. Study it. How is it Unique? What is missing?
When I did this exercise the first time, I decided that I needed to travel more and expose myself to different cultures. So, I travel and go out of the way to sample the local cuisine. These experiences have enriched my understanding of humanity, and more importantly, my understanding of myself.
It took me way too long to understand the value of mentors and their importance to my life journey. I mistakenly believed that I could learn everything in a book. Although my voracious reading did help expose me to different thoughts and perspectives, it did not help me deepen my understanding from a human perspective.
Enter the Mentor. Or mentors. I came to realize that at every point in my journey where I decided to take a different path, I was always led to it by a HUMAN. Not a book. Not a seminar. Not a college class. Nope. It was a real live human that spoke to me the words that I needed to HEAR. Their words took what I had learned and already knew and put them into the context of LIFE. Real life. My decisions. My choices.
Getting a mentor does not have to be some formal process where you seek out the exceptional individual and woo yourself into their sacred circle. It can be as simple as having a cup of coffee, a quick lunch, or a 30-minute one-on-one talk. It can be as casual as you asking someone a curious question and then hanging on every word of their answer.
Being mentored is about enlarging your perspective and understanding. The most important part of this "search" for a mentor is your readiness to receive. I strongly believe that "when the student is ready, the teacher shall appear."
Our culture does an excellent job at squeezing passion out of us. By the time most of us are adults, the only passion we have left is related to sex or a personal hobby. We spend the rest of our adult lives trying to find the passion that we lost.
Pursuing your passions is the key to finding a life that you will ENJOY. Discovering your passion is easier than you think. What would you do if you did not get paid to do it? What energizes when you do it? What is exhilarating and fun when you do it? What do you do that causes you to lose all track of time?
On the flip-side, what makes you angry? What makes you cry? What gets you emotional? These are also clues to figuring out your "hot buttons."
For example, I hate ignorance. Ignorance is simply "not knowing." I hate to see people make mistakes because they didn't know something. I hate to see people who are abused because they lack knowledge. This is one reason that I am so passionate about blogging to help you understand the power of your Unique. Knowledge is POWER. And the absence of reason makes me mad!
Introspection is the final, and arguably the most important aspect of your self-growth process. None of the tools that I listed above will be effective without your willingness to stop, get quiet, and listen.
In a culture of constant "noise" and "chatter," it is hard for some of us to imagine periods of quiet reflection with NO ACTIVITY. This means shutting off the computer, shoving your phone in a drawer, turning off the TV/Radio, and sitting in your favorite space with only your thoughts (and perhaps a pen and paper).
In our modern era, we have lost the simple art of reflection. If you study any of the great minds of this or any other time, you will find that they often pause for long periods to reflect. This is NOT some deep transcendental meditation. It can be as simple as going for a long walk or run. Sitting in front of the fireplace with your pipe. Sitting in your favorite garden space. The religious call it prayer or meditation. Whatever you call it, it is a very necessary part of integrating what you know, what you understand, and what you experience.
It also requires you to be open to questioning your own thoughts and beliefs. Introspection requires you to INSPECT what is INSIDE. What are you thinking? What do you think about what you are thinking? It is a sort of "self-interrogation." It is also learning to listen to what your heart and body is saying to you. How do you feel? Is there pain? Where? Why?
This introspection is a connection to the deeper part of yourself. And a higher power than yourself. It is hard to do for those of us who are addicted to "doing." But it is well worth the love, peace, and joy that you will find.
Finding YOUR UNIQUE is not an easy journey. It requires a lot of effort. But it is well worth the investment into your FREEDOM.
What do you think about these tools? Have you used any that were helpful to you?
Share your thoughts on my Facebook page.
Until next time, I encourage you to: Love your Unique. Live Your Unique.