Two weeks ago I presented the debate among experts on the topic of Personality and the degree of influence that nature and nurture have respectively on it (read here). Last week, I discussed how I define some of the concepts linked to the subject of Personality. (read here). This week, I would like to present some practical steps to find out more about your personality traits in order to supports your personal growth objectives.
“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” – Winston Churchill
In order to get your personality traits and the power of habit play to your advantage, you must first be aware of where you currently stand. How do you react to various situations in life? What habits have you developed over time? How are they impacting you and people around you? What do those habits tell people about you?
Take a Personality test
Despite the legitimate criticisms that they can attract especially about their reliability, and the subjective nature of their questionnaires and interpretations, personality assessment instruments offer a framework, often based on scientific researches, to read and understand the major traits of your personality. However you should never take the report you receive after taking any personality test as a definite description of who you are. Instead, use the observations they contain as data input into your wider self-awareness exercise.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® assessment, the DISC Personality Profile Assessment, and the Social Behaviour Types based on Merrill-Reid Styles, are among the personality tests used the most in the corporate world.
I recommend using a journal to record your behaviours in any area of your life that you look to improve. Do this over a long enough period so that you can see patterns and other repeated actions. Track your habits. Record your routines. Look for patterns in the way you make decisions, how you make choices. You will be astonished by what you learn about yourself.
Also, take time to write down your answer to thoughts provoking questions that we don’t always ask ourselves. Here is a list of ten questions to start with (in no particular order):
- What do you usually do when you have no immediate engagement?
- When was the last time you saw your doctor for a routine check-up?
- When eating your meal, do you finish with the piece you like the most, or do you start with it instead?
- What do you do first thing in the morning when you wake up? What is the last thing you do when you go to bed?
- How did you choose the name of your first child?
- Do you believe in God? Why or Why not?
- How much money do you give to charity per annum?
- What is your definition of success?
- What are your three habits that you would like to change?
- What are the three words that describe the person you need to be in order to achieve your vision?
Review your answer to these questions and ask yourself: Am I proud of the current situation? What can I do better?
Ask for feedback
Similar to what is done in the professional world with the 360 degree feedback survey, we should regularly seek feedback from a diverse group of people around us in our private life. This includes spouse or significant other, children, family, friends, mentors, co-workers, etc… If you feel frightened by this idea, don’t worry, this is normal. Nobody enjoys getting negative feedback. As a consequence, most people avoid asking any feedback, and in doing so miss out on the opportunity to gain invaluable information about their strengths and weaknesses. Winston Churchill said: “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
Here are example of questions you can ask in your personal 360 degree feedback survey:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being ‘Very Poor’ and 10 being ‘Excellent’, how good, in your opinion, am I in my role as a father / mother / husband / wife / partner / son / daughter / brother / sister / friend / leader / citizen / etc… (customize it to the receiver)?
- What is the one thing that I can do to earn the rating immediately above your answer to the first question (eg. from 7 to 8)?
Actively seek feedback from people around you and learn from their answers. Capitalize on your strengths and create a development plan to improve your weak points.
Next week we will talk about why and how to create a personal development plan.
Peace, Joy, Love
First published on 9th April 2018