Knowing Yourself is the Place to Start

   Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

I Love (And Need) GPS!

You know, I’m really thankful for GPS on my cell phone. Without it, I don’t think I’d be great at getting places. Want to know why? Because I’m “directionally challenged.”

Without a GPS, I’d be up late to every meeting I have, every small group I’m a part of, or every shift at my “get by” job. (What’s a “get by” job, you ask? Read about it here.)

It’s difficult for me to navigate, so I need help with that. (A lot.) That means I use my GPS. (A lot.) I know this fact about myself, so I choose to act in a way that will help me succeed.

This same idea is also true for your work -- the first step to finding finding focus in your career is to know yourself. And I mean really know yourself.

I’ll show you how to do it in three easy steps. Let’s get started.

** Tip For Awesome Readers: At the end of this post, I’m including a link to get my free e-book 9 Tips for Better Career Choices.

This goes more into detail about how you can make wise career decisions. Make sure you read all the way through and get your copy. **

Why Do I Need To Know Myself, Anyway?

You need to know yourself because it informs ALL of your career-related decisions. It informs what positions you take, the companies you choose to work for, or it helps you decide if you should your branch out and start your own business.

As you know the ins and outs of who you are, you’ll begin to make wise career decisions. The second that happens for you, everything will change. The wheels will start to turn, and you’ll get moving again. But this time, you’re moving to the places YOU want to go.

When you know yourself, you’ll pick a better company to give your time and energy to.

When you know yourself, you’ll have more joy and contentment because you’ve made career decisions you really stand behind.

As you know yourself, that’s when you’ll make wise career decisions. But how can you start knowing yourself? Here are three steps you can take.

3 Steps To Know Yourself

Step 1. Write Seven Stories

This is a simple and helpful exercise that I discovered in Richard Bolle’s classic career book What Color Is Your Parachute? during my own job searches. This activity helped me so much, I use it in when I coach clients today.

For this activity, I want you to grab some paper, a pen, and write out seven stories. But not just any stories. I want you to write out seven stories of times when you accomplished a goal. An example could be when you planned out your family’s meals for two weeks and stayed under your grocery budget. (Which is impressive today. Have you seen how much watermelon costs?!)

The point is writing out your stories will help you get re-acquainted with who you are. It's a simple activity, and it’s worth your effort.


** Need help writing your seven stories? Read to the end and get my free e-book 9 Tips for Better Career Choices. ** 


Step 2. Take A Personality Assessment

Another you can know yourself and start to make wise career decisions is to know more about why you are the way you are. That’s where a personality assessment comes in. Taking a personality assessment is like starting a garden -- you have to till the soil first, remove rocks, and get rid of weeds. Only then can you start planting seeds and having things grow.

A personality assessment clears away some of the rocks and weeds of our lives (We all have ‘em.) and gives you a clear, level view of what you’re working with.

Now I know when I say, “Take a personality test,” you may have no idea where to start or you feel overwhelmed with how many tests are out there. Let me suggest two for you -- the Enneagram and the StrengthsFinder. I’ve taken both of these personally and can say they’ve changed my life and my career journey. Check those out!

Step 3. Review Regularly

The last step to help you know yourself is to review. Review your assessment of yourself. In fact, review EVERYTHING, and review it regularly. I’m talking at least once a year, write out how you view of yourself and your life -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Why would I suggest you do that?

You need to review regularly because life happens to every one of us. Some of us face trials and struggles. Some struggles we planned for; some we didn’t. When life happens to us, one of the wisest things we can do is review who we think ourselves to be.

When life happens to us, one of the wisest things we can do is review who we think ourselves to be.
— Randy Mahoney

Let me share a short story with you. Before I launched Arrow Path Coaching, I was dead-set on being a pastor in a local church. It’s what I studied in college. I did a two-year internship with a successful, growing church in my state. I applied and interviewed for church positions for months before my internship ended.

Then, life happened. My internship was over. The job I interviewed for didn’t select me. My thoughts of being a pastor were dashed. Life happened, and I had to re-evaluate.

In the weeks ahead, I reviewed my StrengthsFinder reports, my Enneagram results, and I started to get to know myself again. I worked through many of the books on my Resources Page. I started to remember what life caused me to forget. I started to remember how God wired me and gifted me. I started to think, “Is there another way I can serve and help people using my God-given gifts?” Then, after much prayer and review, I moved into what you see now -- my journey of everything that is Arrow Path Coaching.

All The Steps Matter

You see, all of these steps matter. A regular review matters. Personality tests matter. Knowing your skills matters. Caring about your faith matters. If you want to make wise career decisions, you have to really know yourself.

When you do that, that’s when everything moves forward.

Congrats, you made it to the end. Go you!

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