Really knowing yourself is the most important skill one can possess. When you know who you are, you know what to do instead of getting permission from others. It allows you to bypass a lot of the frustration that comes from investing time in the wrong things. Yes, life is meant to be full of trial and error, but this is how you can find the best areas to experiment with. Once you know yourself you will become more confident, you will understand your purpose and you will have a greater impact on the world.
So how do you know who you are and what you should be doing in life? Here are the six steps you need to take to know your true self:
1. Be calm.
You cannot and will not be able to recognize yourself until you take the time to be still. Many people do not know themselves because they are afraid of any kind of silence; it is too uncomfortable to be alone with every mistake staring at you. But it is only when you are alone, self-assessing, and completely honest with yourself that you will actually be able to see every facet of your life – the good and the bad. Be calm and discover your true self.
2. Realize who you really are, not who you want to be.
I know you already have a firm idea of who you dearly want to be, but it may not be who you were created to be. When you know who you are, you will finally see where you and your specific gifts fit into the bigger picture.
And while there are many points along the way to help you discover yourself, the best place to start is with a personality test and the StrengthsFinder test. (If it’s been five or more years since you completed either of these two assignments, take them again.) No, these self-assessments are not perfect, but they reveal your main strengths so that you can focus on changing you were destined to bring into the world.
3. Find out what you are good at (and not good at).
This may be the hardest step in figuring out who you are, but it is a necessary one. Sure, it takes trial and error to figure out what you’re good at, and no, I don’t want you to give up until you’ve tried more than enough, but knowing when to stop is a gift that everyone needs to learn.
Stop when you’ve invested enough time and your efforts aren’t giving in. What is enough time? Only you can decide. But if you stop properly, it doesn’t give up, it makes way for something better. If your actions are just draining you – instead of creating more passion and increasing your drive – that’s a good sign that it is time to focus elsewhere. Your strengths will show you who you are.
4. Find out what you are passionate about.
Following passion of any kind is a good thing and you need to be careful when it comes to it because it shows an area of life that you need to pay more attention to. When it comes to following your passion at work, that’s a good thing. And when it comes to being more passionate about life, that’s a good thing. Focus more on passion; Understand yourself better and you will make a greater impact. Passion creates effort and continuous effort produces results.
5. Ask for feedback.
When you don’t know yourself, it helps to hear what others have to say about you. Ask them two simple questions: “What strengths do you think I need to develop?” And “What weaknesses do you think I need to work on?” Of course, their opinion will not be perfect, but their feedback will likely highlight some areas that you want should at least look again. This step is especially important for those who are stuck looking for themselves. Sometimes those closest to us can see something we may not be able to see in ourselves.
6. Evaluate your relationships.
A great aspect of self-awareness can be found in your relationships. When you realize that you won’t really know anyone until you discover yourself, the importance of knowing yourself becomes even clearer. This truth is especially true for business leaders because if you don’t know the people on your team, you will be lost as a leader. But this rule also applies to every relationship in your life. Almost as much as you need to know yourself, others need to know who you are too. People need you – the real you.
Use your reflections to combat your greatest fears because when you understand who you are, your goal will finally get bigger than your fears. When you realize who you are, you will spend less time spinning your wheels. Focusing on your strengths gives you the traction you need to make a bigger and better difference in the world. When you know yourself, you will find more peace of mind and success faster than ever before.
Act now and find your true self, starting today.
Photo by @ the_brookedavis / Twenty20
Adam Smith is the author of The Bravest You book. He is an entrepreneur, consultant and speaker. You can learn more about Adam at asmithblog.com.