You go through life being aware of other people. You are conscious of who you like and who you dislike along with the reasons why. Of the people you are closest to, you can probably list some of their strengths, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. You might even have insight into their motivation for doing certain things.
But do you know who you are? Can you list all of your strengths and weaknesses? Are you able to identify your likes and dislikes? Knowing yourself is essential for planning your own journey. Unfortunately, too many people devote little or no effort to understanding themselves.
Without this insight, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to determine the route which offers you the most reward and satisfaction. Until you know what you want from life, you can’t figure out the best strategy to achieve it.
Start now beginning your introspective self-assessment. This exercise is only for you. It’s based on what you think, not what others think of you. You don’t need to show or discuss your results with anyone. You do not need to justify or explain yourself.
First, list all of your strengths. Anything counts, no matter how small or insignificant it may be. A strength can be anything that is easy for you to accomplish, anything you are good at, or anything that comes naturally. Include everything without making any judgments. Don’t reject strengths you don’t like.
Next, honestly itemize all of your weaknesses. A weakness is anything you are not good at or struggle with. Again, how you feel about each weakness isn’t relevant at this point. It doesn’t matter why you feel something is a weakness.
Now you are ready to identify everything you like. Make a complete list. Don’t eliminate anything for any reason. Cost, practicality, or image doesn’t matter. The only requirement is that you really like each item you include.
The last step is to itemize all those things you don’t like. Once again, include everything. All that matters is how you feel about it. Anyone else’s opinion is irrelevant.
After you have generated all four lists, it’s time to start integrating the different categories. Begin by matching your strengths to what you like. There is no pressure to make perfect links from these two lists.
But ideally your strengths that match your likes give you a good indication as to a fulfilling direction you may want to take. You may also have identified strengths you were not consciously aware of. This is one of the benefits of an honest self-assessment.
Capitalizing on your strengths is a powerful strategy for accelerating your accomplishments. Everyone has more potential within themselves than they realize.
Look through your weaknesses. Identify any weaknesses that are preventing you from doing something you like. Any weakness can be overcome with desire, dedication, effort, and persistence.
Many weaknesses are actually just self-imposed limitations. When you tell your mind there is something you can’t do, it believes you, creates a weakness, and impacts your behavior accordingly.
Weaknesses can also be imposed by others. When you believe someone else’s assessment about your abilities, a weakness is embedded in your mind that is just as stifling as if you thought of it yourself.
Weaknesses serve as excuses for inaction or avoidance. Goals are labeled as unrealistic when weaknesses are considered roadblocks. Success requires that you refuse to let perceived weaknesses halt your progress.
Knowing who you are provides you with the insight necessary to identify meaningful goals and take action to reach them. When you know who you are, your life has direction and purpose.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. © 2014 Bryan Golden