Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who are you meant to be?

A few years ago, a gal I know participated in a local beauty contest. During the pageant’s question and answer segment, she was asked if she could be anyone living or dead who would she be? She replied, “I would be myself. I’ve lived with myself my whole life and know myself better than anyone else. I wouldn’t want to be anyone other than myself.”

At the time I thought what an odd answer; I would have gone with Madame Curie or Eleanor Roosevelt, but I couldn't help admiring her self-knowledge; I had no idea who I was.

Perhaps I am not the only one lacking self-knowledge, George Thompson author of Verbal Judo writes:

"We know the least about our real selves. That's why we must deal with how we see ourselves. Our real selves may consist of where we came from, our beliefs and values, and the way we’re raised. But our selves as we see them will be bogus unless we make an effort to really be honest and introspective. If we don't we will always have an area that can be exploited and can make us less effective than we could be."

As my “"Getting my ducks in a row project," continues to evolve, I’ve come to realize the first step is to know myself. Everyone from Aristotle to Rilke to Drucker tout the advantages of self-knowledge. Here is my latest find from life coach Tracey Houston:

The whole idea of knowing yourself more deeply is to provide a competitive advantage. The most successful companies are ones in which the leaders have a greater understanding of themselves. When you don’t know yourself, you don’t know your limitations or your strengths. And today, the key economic resource is people.

This brings me to this month’s issue of Oprah's Magazine themed “Who are you meant to be?” The magazine includes a quiz developed by Anne Dranitsaris designed to help you figure out what really defines you. It is based on seven categories called “striving styles.” The premise is everyone is wired with all seven styles, but most people have one that dominates. When you are engaged in your particular style, you have the greatest chance to fulfill your potential. The best part is you don’t have to buy the magazine; you can take here for free.

Here are my results:

Dominant style:
You are striving to be secure

A strong 2nd:
You are striving to be knowledgeable.

There were no surprises here. What I found most informative were the tips on what to watch out for: For the security style, rapidly changing environments (like a shaky economy) are very hard for you. As a result of such instability, you can spiral into a state where everything seems catastrophic and you're sure life will only get worse. (I'm thinking Slump).

"Until you know who you are, you cannot know what you can become" - Neils Lindhard

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