"To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom" - Socrates
The older I get the more I appreciate and respect how important it is to know thyself. Another term would be self awareness. The better you know yourself the easier it is to navigate through life. You make friend choices, activity choices, school choices, career choices, partner choices, etc WAY better. These choices are all made based on knowing what makes YOU happy.
That sounds like a no brainer, but it's actually very interesting how few people truly know themselves. I have just recently dug in to understand who I am and what I am really good at. Going through this process blew my mind because it allowed me to realize why I was not happy doing to many things in my past and also why I was super happy doing certain things. If I had known myself more at a younger age I think I could have saved myself a lot of frustration and pain!
The path that I've taken to know myself isn't too deep and it's not difficult at all. I have taken a lot of self evaluation tools that add up to give you a good understanding of myself. Here they are.
Meyers Briggs - broad level personality assessment
Enneagram - what motivates me deep down
Strength Finder - Self explanatory. Finds you top strengths....and also some opportunity areas.
Kolbe - Breaks down what type of work lights a fire under you.
Basadur - What type of innovative thinker you are.
In taking all these my high level evaluation of myself is I love thinking about the future, am a generator of ideas who likes to execute them, am very optimistic about life and enjoy being around people. I should be working in a more innovation focused role where I can lead thinking versus managing day to day data.
I have been beating myself up for decades because I haven't been as strong analytically as many of my peers. All these evaluations show that is NOT my strength, so don't worry about it and find something that takes advantage of your strengths.
I have been able to wind my way through my career to find roles and projects that allow me to use my strengths, which is why I am very energized with the work I do. I consider myself lucky I didn't get stuck in work I don't like and am not good at. I have shifted to eventually find what I'm good at, but likely could've gotten here sooner with more self awareness earlier in my life.
These little tests are all short and easy to take. I suggest taking them and reflecting on what you find. Do they make sense? Are there things that are shocking? Do they make you think about your path differently?
The Kolbe test literally said that I should be spending at least half of my working time thinking about the future. That's some great insight that really made me think about what I was doing at the time. I was NOT spending at least 50% of my time thinking about the future.....and I was NOT happy.
These tests don't work miracles, but they do allow you to reflect and become more self aware.