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Discover the Real You

Discover the Real You

By Donna Dunning

This blog was originally posted on September 25th, 2010 in Personal Branding.

When was the last time you had a long talk with yourself? Maybe it’s time to get reacquainted. The first step in personal branding is self-discovery. In the hustle and bustle of daily life we can easily forget to focus on who we are and what is really important. Perhaps it’s time to discover, or reconfirm, your genuine self. There are several ways to learn about you. You are a fascinating topic, with lots of depth and complexity.

Ask questions

You can always ask yourself questions. What do you like to do? What are your strengths and challenges? What do you want to accomplish by working? What does career success look like for you? Broad questions like this can be intimidating. The answers to these questions are complex and not always obvious. Before getting to this point you may need to gather more information about yourself.

One way to collect self-knowledge is to complete questionnaires and tests. There are hundreds of assessments you can take to help in your journey of self-discovery. These tools help you think about your interests, values, personality, and skills. By focusing on the various aspects of who you are, you start to find clarity and discover your personal brand.

When using a self-assessment tool, avoid taking the results at face value. The tool is only organizing and reporting back your answers to questions. These self-assessment snapshots become useful when the results are related to what you already know about yourself. I remember taking a popular interest inventory many years ago and having “funeral director” and “clergy” show up as top jobs. I wasn’t at all interested in either of those jobs. After thinking it through, I realized that the tool was not picking up my best–fit jobs, but rather my general interest in, and desire to work with and help others.

Experience counts

A second major source of self-information is experience. We learn a lot about ourselves when we try new things. This is one of the reasons why volunteering and work experience are so valuable. The idea of doing something can be quite different from the reality of doing it. Try things out. I remember reading the Magic School Bus stories to my kids, where the teacher Ms. Frizzle advises, “Get messy. Make mistakes.” Learning what doesn’t suit us can be as helpful as learning about what does suit us. This form of self-discovery can be intimidating. It’s hard to take risks and nobody likes the feeling of being inept or failing. Maybe part of your learning can be to see how adverse or comfortable you are with taking risks. What I do know is that you won’t learn if you don’t try anything new.

Reflecting on past experiences can also provide you with hints for discovering your personal brand. What subjects did you like in school? What activities do you like to do? What topics grab your interest? How do people describe you? What feedback did you get at school or at work? What did you like best about your last job? What are you doing when time just flies by? Ask yourself questions like these to delve into what is personally meaningful. You may want to enlist others and get feedback, but remember that you are the expert on you. Your friends, colleagues, and family only see part of who you are. Their input is helpful, but don’t let it define you.

Have you discovered your personal brand? Perhaps you will share with us what self-discovery process was most enlightening.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 8th, 2010 at 8:19 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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