How to do some deep self-reflection and self-discovery… for free!

Updated: May 29, 2020

A couple of months ago at LinkedInLocal in Newcastle we had an awesome speaker in Joshua Riffe who took us through a process to recognise how to notice if we are procrastinating and how to free ourselves from the failure cycle. Rather usefully, Joshua has a Free (and VERY useful) Procrastination E-book available on his website. Joshua explained that the first step towards overcoming procrastination is to have ‘Goldilocks’ goals – goals that are not too difficult, too easy and ones that really matter to you as a human. He told us that the first step to understanding what our goals should be is to understand yourself better, to become more self-aware.

So, how self-aware are you? What is the purpose to your existence? Why are you here? What have you been born to do? What difference are you going to make to the world?

These are the most important questions in my career mentoring/coaching consulting, courses and programmes. The first step we tackle is ‘Finding Your Purpose’ so we understand what your vision for the future is, understand your strengths (and use these to your unfair advantage!), work out what motivates you and what the values are that guide you through your life and work.

Visioning: Joshua asked us to imagine our best year ever. What does this look like? How do we plan our journey without knowing where we want to go?

Here are some questions to get started:

Imagine you’ve just had your best year ever…   

  • What are the biggest achievements you’ve made this year?    

  • Where are you?

  • Describe the location    

  • Who is with you?

  • Who is with you, is not just in the physical location, but ‘WITH you’    

  • What can you see?    

  • How do you feel?    

  • What did you last purchase that made your heart sing?    

  • What difference have you made in the world?    

  • What are you most looking forward to in this vision?

Just using this technique, I have been able to describe (in intimate detail!) what my most awesome-ist year looks like. And I am soooo fricken excited to make this a reality!!

Free Tools: So, here are some useful tools for you to start your exploration. Remember, you do get what you pay for and these companies all want your pennies! You can get the useful stuff for free though.

General Personality – Hexaco – Hexaco is a very useful tool; is a measure of 6 dimensions of personality – based on the standard 5 factor model of behaviour that underpins a vast number of personality assessments, with an interesting additional scale.

You will get a measure of the following dimensions:

Emotionality – in the olden days… you could describe this as how ‘neurotic’ you are… I like to think of this as ‘Emotional Resilience’ – are you as cool as a cucumber when everything is going to poop or do you tend to be more of a worrier? How quickly do you ‘bounce-back’ when things are going wrong?

Extraversion – this one probably needs no explaining… are you sociable, friendly, loud and need constant entertainment? Or do you prefer your own company and can just sit for hours and do nothing?

Conscientiousness – how good are you at doing your work, being focused and disciplined, meeting deadlines, following rules?

Openness to Experience – this looks at your open-mindedness, curiosity, pretty much what it says on the tin!

Agreeableness – this is a scale that describes how willing you are of forgiving those who have done you wrong, how compassionate, patient and tolerant you are.

Honesty-Humility – this one is a new one, slightly different from most tools, yet a valuable and useful addition!

You will need to do quite a bit of clicking on links in your results to understand what it says – but may be an interesting exercise. Make sure that you print the results and graphs off as once you leave the page you will lose the most useful part of this report.

Personality Type (Or personality horoscope as I like to call it!) The MBTI has been distilled into this free online tool (you can pay for additional reports) As a committed ENFP or “Campaigner” I don’t generally like being put in boxes, so I’ve always had an interesting relationship with Jungian theory generally. The ‘science’ behind is massively suspect… The Personality Test Which Conned the World. AND I’m not sure why I feel the need to mention this here… but here goes anyway… please do not use this (or any similar tool) for recruitment purposes.

Values Mindtools – what are your strengths? This is a great resource for starting to think about your values. There are some instructions in this article, I would print off all the value names, cut them out and pop them into 3 piles of ones that resonate… yes, maybe and no. Discard the nos and then go through the yes and maybe piles a couple of times until you have 6-10 values that feel right – you can group them together. An example of this would be my values (these are augmented with my super deep values of freedom, autonomy and courage)

Strengths – VIA Institute Via Character Strengths This will help you uncover what your strengths are. I’m a massive fan of the strengths-based approach – I strongly believe that if you focus on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses (by training, technology, other people) rather than focus on your weaknesses you will be happier, more productive and probably will beat yourself up less about your ‘failings’. The Via Strengths is a useful resource for looking into your strengths!

Strengths (part 2) CliftonStrengths 34 An alternative (which I actually prefer) is Clifton Strengths – you can get access to them all for $49.99 – around £38). I loved learning more about my top strengths and it was fairly life-changing to see my unique combination of skills in black and white. Using this massively increased my confidence and helped me with my job at the time. When I doubt myself I use my strengths report as a bit of a comfort blanket – I have the app on my phone.

Or you can engage me… Of course, I can do a deep dive into your personality preferences, team style, motives, strengths, leadership derailers and values, which would set you back approx. £500 and about 7 hours of your time filling in loads of online questionnaires (or you could join one of my group programmes!)

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