In order to measure your goals, you need to first establish your baseline; where are you at right now prior to doing any work towards your goal? Sometimes in personal development, it isn’t that easy to define or quantify who you are or where you are at any point in your journey. How do you define your values? How do you value yourself? Your relationships? These are questions that can be difficult to answer about yourself, and the answer you are drawn to isn’t always the reality of your situation.
I would encourage anyone, in any place in their lives, to take a personality test. There are several personality tests that you can take, which usually range in 100-150 questions about yourself and how you handle, view or feel about different situations. Before I began working on my MBA, I knew exactly who I was. I was positive natured, adaptive to any situation, creative, social, caring and nurturing, perceptive to others emotions, easy-going and also pretty sensitive in general. My mother in law, who works as a relationship and leadership coach, encouraged me to take a personality test for fun about a year and a half ago, and it said pretty much the same things I already knew and gave me some insights into my personality type. There were no real surprises but I thought it was a fun exercise.
This week she told me about another test she likes to use, called the “Rheti test”, through the Enneagram Institute. I have changed a lot as a person throughout the process of becoming a mom, balancing two kids, a family and working on my MBA. I have become tougher, more goal-driven and have a very different outlook on my future. I wanted to take the test because I knew my results would tell me something different about myself, about the “new me, and I needed to hear it from an outside source.
My results: “The Individualist”, aka exactly who I have always known myself to be. I was expecting some drastic change and at first, I was a little disappointed because I have worked hard to develop myself on many levels, but later I realized that my values haven’t changed, who I inherently am hasn’t changed, the only thing that has changed is that I am actually following through on my goals. I am still emotionally honest, self-aware, creative and pretty much have my head in the clouds, but also I am in a constant state of discomfort because of all of the changes in my life rather than living in a bubble of comfort, and I am happier and more fulfilled than I ever have been. All of that is coming from knowing who I am and pushing that person to be better. While some things were definitely a little harsh to read about myself, it was honestly nothing that I disagreed with.
Even though everything I read in the description (which is in great detail) was something I already knew about myself, it was so important to read it coming from an outside source. Knowing who I am allows me to challenge what I didn’t like, and helps me identify how to grow. Sometimes it takes outside feedback for you to really see where your natural strengths and weaknesses are and more importantly, it gives you a starting place. The Enneagram test tells you how to read your personality type, your relationship issues, dynamics and variations, your instincts, levels of development, and gives personal growth recommendations. It is based on nine personality descriptions which fall into the categories of Action, Thinking and Feeling, and tells how they connect and interact with each other.
Here is a super short version of a few of the recommendations for my personality type in terms of personal growth:
- Don’t pay so much attention to your feelings as they are not a true source of support for you. The fallacy is that to understand yourself, you must understand your feelings before acting. Your feelings are telling you something about yourself as you are at this particular moment, not necessarily more than that.
- Avoid putting off things until you are in the right mood. Commit yourself to productive, meaningful work that will contribute to your good and that of others, no matter how small the contribution may be.
- Even if you start small, commit yourself to doing something that will bring out the best in you.
- A wholesome self-discipline takes many forms, from sleeping regular hours to working regularly to exercising regularly, and has a cumulative, strengthening effect. Since it comes from yourself, a healthy self-discipline is not contrary to your freedom or individuality.
I could go on forever about how beneficial this was, but in short, a quick test could help you identify where you are and what you need intellectually and emotionally, and can be a good starting point for creating a plan for change and goal-setting. If you don’t like something you read about yourself, how can you work to change that? Or if you agree, how can you nurture it? You have to help yourself first in order to help the people you care about, and to begin that journey you must first understand yourself on a deeper level. When you create self-awareness, you can determine what you need, how to strengthen your relationships with others, and that you have control over who you are and who you can be.
Obviously,a test is not the end all-be all of who you are, but it can be a helpful tool to begin to recognize yourself in ways that you may not have identified before. Know who you are, own it, and build upon it. Take the Enneagram test here. It costs $12, whereas some others are upwards of $100, it is a great deal and a worthwhile investment in becoming more aware of yourself. Feel free to share your results!