On your personal journey to becoming your best self, one important activity to consider is the dreaded self assessment. This exercise takes the idea of “apply within” to a whole new level. Fret ye not; it’s not as bad as it sounds. Start by asking a simple question.
How would you describe yourself? Here’s an opportunity for a little personal reflection. Take a few minutes and WRITE DOWN your answers. If you are like me, the description is probably really nice, with some honest yucky stuff in it too. Now here’s the hard part. Ask someone close to you to describe you honestly. Be sure to tell them this is a ‘judgment free’ exercise and they are free to be honest and you promise not to be upset with the responses.
Remember, this exercise is designed to reveal the gaps between how you see yourself and how others see you and ultimately help you to be your best self. There are lots of ways to use the intel you gather, but lets keep it simple and positive.
1. For the descriptions provided by your friend, look carefully at the ones you did NOT identify yourself. Contemplate how you can further cultivate this descriptor, or mitigate it by some behavior change. Remember, this is how others see you. Whether you agree with their assessment or not, “perception is reality” and you’d prefer people to see you as you see you.
2. Celebrate the descriptors you matched with the ones provided by your friend. You know yourself pretty well. Even if some negative descriptors matched, at least you know what to work on.
3. Check in periodically with your friend and ask how you are doing with whatever trait you are interested in. This routine check up will go a long way to helping you be your best.
Need some help to get started? I found Tom Rath’s “Strengths Finder 2.0” to be especially helpful in learning who I am and what I’m good at. Another resource to try is 360Reach, which takes a fun twist on peer assessment with questions like, “What kind of cereal describes (you) and why?”