Continuous self-reflection is unavoidable when you offer to help folks find meaning and fulfilment in their lives. You can’t give what you don’t have. I believe authenticity in relationships is achieved when we open ourselves to those whom we want to open up to us. It is impossible to know someone deeply yet remain a stranger to them. And if you achieve that then one party is an imposter.
I have chosen to put my stories out there. How I view and interact with the world in my eyes. I pray these stories add value and uplift someone every week. That’s my motivation. I see it as the rent I’m paying (nudging folks forward through storytelling) for the space I occupy on earth.
In the halftime program, we take participants through the strength finders assessment to help increase self-awareness. It’s based on the belief that we are already equipped with the necessary skills to live out our purpose on earth. This assessment reveals and enhances our gifts and talents thus equipping us to identify and live out our unique assignment on earth.
There are many similar self-assessment tools out there made to help us know ourselves better. When I first did the strengths finder assessment by Gallup, I got to know my top five themes or strengths. It gives a total of thirty-four themes for those who are brave enough for self full disclosure.
I argued with what surfaced about me. I disagreed with some traits the exercise claimed I had. Was it because the tool is flawed or I’m just blind to parts of me? I was comforted to later read that this was just a general guide or indicator to who I might be. It’s not an exact definition of who I am.
I often struggle to evaluate myself. It doesn’t come naturally. I silently admire folks who hunger for feedback. I ask for it sometimes, looking all confident on the outside but deep inside I’m hoping to be told something nice. At times I have been told stuff I don’t want to hear or that am not ready to hear. I have caught feelings as a result. I take a while to transform such seemingly negative feedback into stepping stones to positivity.
It’s always easier to mulika others. That’s why the Good book admonishes us to remove the log in our eye before we remove the speck in others. I tend to believe that folks who achieve much in their lives got to a point where they are comfortable enough to hear the good, bad and the ugly about them, take it in stride and work on self-improvement with that new data. And that’s where I want to get to. Having a six-pack in my mind. Mental gym hapo.
WOO (winning others over) is one of my top five strengths. The assessment goes further to break down each theme’s balcony (positive side) and basement (downside). Remember an overused strength can turn into a weakness. My balcony here is that I am outgoing, people-oriented, networker and rapport builder. I couldn’t agree more. My basement of this theme is that I am fake, shallow, and I do not care for deep relationships. That basement outcome shocked me. Thought my results had been mixed up with someone else’s. I was bothered enough to chew over this for a long time. I have concluded that we change over time and so the numbers we give at different ages and seasons of life can yield a different result.
I do agree that life before I turned 40 had one theme, the more the merrier. I go for a bash and want to talk to as many folks as possible. That’s how I charge my batteries (and still do but to a lesser degree now). So maybe fake and shallow qualified to appear on my list of shame hehe. But not caring about deep relationships must have been a typo, or was it? maybe it’s because I didn’t find as much meaning in deep conversations years back as I do now. I look forward to one-on-one meetups. To talk about how we can make sense of this life and leave a dent in the world. I find deep satisfaction in that. I’m I still a certified extrovert? I’m not sure about that anymore. I found a version of extrovert that describes me better – ambivert. That’s a person who has a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality. That’s me currently.
So maybe the point is to do the assessment but apply some context to the results. Don’t deny everything but neither copy-paste everything. Whatever the approach If we are to achieve much and be the best version of ourselves then we need to be more self-aware, be in the habit of learning (and unlearning) ourselves even as we learn others.
Dealing with the not-so-good stuff about ourselves is an acquired taste. It doesn’t flow naturally but is better than living in ignorance of our shortcomings. Blind spots won’t get us too far because we can’t see where we are going. But remember to be kind to yourself folks. Just the attempt to uncover what we don’t know about ourselves is brave enough to be celebrated. So whether you discover yourself through an assessment tool or folks (with meddling rights over your life) giving you feedback, get comfortable with the vulnerability of it. If we follow through on improving ourselves with the discovery then we end up being better tenants of the universe. And good tenants leave behind a better universe for those who will come after us.