A Little Self Awareness Brought Me A Long Way

I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty, but I’ve been meaning to get back to my neglected blog. So often I sit to blog and can’t bring myself to hit publish, as if my words don’t mean enough, can’t inspire, lack conviction, or might offend. The question becomes do I treat my blog like a journal or am I writing because I actually have something to say, that I hope is worth passing along? This brings me to my topic of choice tonight: self awareness.

Have you ever looked into the mirror and desperately wanted to know who you’re supposed be? I’ve always thought “If I don’t know where I’m going, how am I supposed to get there?” So I started at the beginning, where I am now.

When I started my job I took the Gallup Strengths test and received strengths-based coaching. My top five strengths were Responsibility, Strategic, Achiever, Discipline, Intellection. Basically my combination of strengths means I take ownership, have drive and vision, as well as the discipline to follow through. I’ve always been labeled as a perfectionist or over-achiever, so my ability to accomplish a task was not shocking. I did learn that because of my strength combinations it’s hard for me to trust others with responsibility because I am so used to having control, I can tend to “manage” people, I’m hard on myself, and I have a difficult time saying “no.” Now that I not only know what my true strengths are, but also know what they mean, I can work on improving them and managing the potential “side effects” that come along with them.

And now in interviews I can say my strengths are more than organization and time-management.

I recently took Gretchen Rubin’s quiz on the Four Tendencies ( Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, Rebels) and learned something new about myself. I’m an obliger. “Obligers respond readily to outer expectations, but struggle to meet inner expectations. In other words, they work hard not to let other people down, but they often let themselves down. Obligers may find it difficult to form a habit, because often we undertake habits for our own benefit, and Obligers do things more easily for others than for themselves. For Obligers, the key to forming habits is to create external accountability.”

With what I previously mentioned about taking responsibility and not letting others down, it makes sense that I’m an obliger, rushing to meet the expectations of others, but failing to meet my own. Am I often unsure of where/who I want to be because I’m hard on myself?

Does that mean my inability to keep my New Year resolutions is just a part of who I am? Ha! Don’t worry, my external accountability partner (husband) is an exercise science nut and makes sure I hit the gym! In all seriousness it is hard for me to form new habits. I always assumed it was because I didn’t want it bad enough, but maybe it’s because I’m so focused on taking care of everyone else that when it comes down to it, I don’t have the energy left to worry about myself. Regardless, now that I know I have those tendencies I can reexamine my life and make sure I have the accountability I need to follow through on what’s important to me.

It’s ok to need help, and it’s ok to ask for it. Everyone is gifted with unique strengths and personalities. We were meant to need others.

A deeper understanding of who I am and what makes me tick has influenced how I set my goals and priorities, as well as how I respond to others. Because I am beginning to know who I am, I can start figuring out where I want to go and how to get there.