Finding Your Passion Using Assessments

I have always been a firm believer that people do their best work when they enjoy what they do.  No duh, right? No big revelation there, however it’s all too common, in the United States especially, that we focus on the areas that need improvement.  This starts in the schools and the same is true in business.  Jobs (and often managers) are so rigid in the requirements that employees are expected to perform all duties at an accomplished level.  Almost like robots.

I’m willing to bet that quality and productivity would increase in any industry if employees were utilized for their strengths and we’d all be a lot happier to boot. As neither our educational system nor our traditional business philosophy is likely to change anytime soon, we have to take charge of finding the right career for ourselves.  This doesn’t sound hard, right?

I have counseled many young adults who are so terrified at not yet knowing what they want to be when they grow up that they are frozen in fear making no decisions.  Additionally, I’ve spoken with numerous mid-lifers who ask the same question but instead of exploring it, they just go with the flow in a job that doesn’t satisfy them at all. So what to do? My advice is to take an assessment, actually several assessments.  And no, I’m not referring to the ones in Glamour, Seventeen and Cosmopolitan.

While assessments won’t spell out precisely which job you should pursue, they will identify your strengths and some provide suggestions on types of careers that might interest you.  I’m speaking from experience here people, and I can tell you that Retrospect is a beautiful view.  I took many assessments over a large span of time and reviewing them all assured me that I was completely blind to what has always been right in front of my face!  I often pursued training and education that would serve in my job at the time but didn’t necessarily advance me closer to my true passions.  I, too, went with the flow of each job, letting others lead me to the trail I should blaze.  While this allowed me to advance over the years, one fact remained: I was a coward.  I’m a very confident woman and yet I didn’t trust my own ability to FULLY blaze my own chosen path.  Reviewing my assessment results really gave me the bitch-slap I needed to start pursuing my passions.

So where do you begin? Do the assessments I’ve listed at the end of this article.  All of them.  You’ll likely see a pattern which will reinforce what you already know.  Regardless of the life stage you’re in, it’s important to know your strengths and to take steps towards utilizing them.  If you’re just starting out in your career ask yourself how your position is serving you and your strengths.  You may need to tough it out and prove yourself to get more of what you love in your position, but that’s still progress.  If, like me, you have a family to support or other financial obligations and can’t just “start over” immediately, try to find the areas in your current position that serve your passions WHILE taking baby steps towards your dreams.  Who says you can’t do both? And don’t get tangled in the, “I’m too old to do that now” bullshit.  Don’t limit yourself like that.  You can do whatever you want once you are clear on what you love and what you’re good at.

Marie Forleo says it best: There’s only one you. Never again will there be someone with your knowledge, experiences and gifts.  The world NEEDS you and your talents!  So go forth and identify your strengths and start finding where and how you can put them to use!  Here are my recommendations:

“Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath.  Purchasing the book gives you a code to take the online assessment for free.  Results will show your Top 5 out of 34 possible personality “themes”.  For example, my top 5 are: Adaptablility, Connectedness, Empathy, Harmony and Positivity.

“Career Match” by Shoya Zichy with Ann Bidou.  Assessment is in the book. Results are color themed with extrovert/introvert considerations.  For example I’m a Green/Red Extrovert. (warm, free spirit)

MBTI (Myers-Briggs) Assessment: There are several options for this one.

http://www.capt.org/take-mbti-assessment/mbti.htm  This one is taken online and has a $150 price tag in the US & Canada ($175 in other countries) and includes a personalized readback from a trained professional.

https://www.mbticomplete.com/contents/learnmore.aspx  This is taken online and results are shown online as well.  There is no one-on-one readback, but it’s more affordable at only $49.95.

There are copy-cat versions on the web that are often free, but they are not endorsed or supported by Myers-Briggs.  Results are a four-letter combination.  I’m an ENFP. (Extroverted Intuition with Feeling).

DISC Assessment:  This is taken online and measures 4 dimensions of your behavioral style. Decisive, Interactive, Stability and Cautious.  Typically a $250 assessment, you can complete it and get the results immediately and for free at Tony Robbins site:  http://www.tonyrobbins.com/ue/disc-profile.php

I’d love to know how YOU scored on each of these and how you do, can or will utilize your strengths, so please share your results in the comments section of this post!

I’m Rubber You’re Glue…For Grown-ups

“I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you”.  Remember saying that or some similar discourse to a child who was saying mean things to you?  I’ve found it to be equally true in what you think as well.  I recall working for a particularly mean-spirited supervisor.  This was a person I had such little respect for and really wanted to say, “Just so you know, I think you suck…hard.”  But being a reasonably sensible person even when instigated, I just thought it, and many more colorful things to boot.  I deplore the word and emotion “hate” and never wish harm on another person (OK, I may have at one time wished a 2am stubbed toe on the metal frame of a bed, but never with a lasting injury).

As I felt all sense of power and control slipping through my fingers with this person, I would reclaim it daily by thinking even more outrageous, insulting and demeaning statements each time I caught sight of them.  I found it especially satisfying when I had the opportunity to think these things “at” them while directly looking in their eyes with a contrite smile on my face.  But as time went on, I found myself even more unhappy. Returning to this place day after day, my fantastical one-sided colloquy getting more and more bitter at every interaction with this demonized supervisor didn’t seem to be serving me at all.  (Inhale here). This introspection led me to realize I wasn’t “winning”, in fact, I had added my own mind to this person’s army.  By living in my head with this person, in battle, on such a regular basis, I was not only tiring myself out, but I was creating a negative, acidic environment in the one place I had sought refuge.  My imagination.  I was engaging in a full-on, Pay-Per-View worthy boxing match where I played both parts in the ring.  So my left hook was firmly planted on my own right cheek.  In writing this, I’d like to say that I immediately turned my negative thoughts into positive recognition about how great this person was at playing the political game or developing their loyal following or even how much they loved their dog.  But let’s not be ridiculous, this is supposed to be about authenticity.

You may or may not have noticed that I don’t go by the name “Dalai Lama”, “Mother Theresa”, “Nelson Mandela” or “Jesus”.  All wonderful souls mind you, but let’s just say I haven’t evolved to that level of lightness just yet.  What I can say is that I started (with great effort) looking at this individual and searching for anything positive to associate with them like, “the teal in that top is my favorite color” or “their laughter is bringing joy to someone right now”.  Some days I could only find “at least their exhale of carbon dioxide is helping a plant grow somewhere”, but progress is progress after all. Following only one week of this, I honestly felt better.  Really.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t start viewing this supervisor with loving adoration, but I did feel more love in my heart.  I don’t know why it worked other than to say that when you fill your mind with more love, everything else seems to follow.  Your mind is a powerful machine, make sure you are using it to your advantage and in a way that brings you joy and love…and screw the crappy supervisors of the world.  They’ll just have to figure that out on their own.

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email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com