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  • Cindy Lee

How are you recognized?

Updated: Aug 28, 2021

[THIS POST IS PART OF A SERIES ON NAVIGATING YOUR CAREER TRANSITION WITH INTEGRITY, WHICH IS OPPOSITE FROM YOUR TYPICAL "BACKWARDS" APPROACHES TO JOB SEARCHING.] A common career pitfall I’ve witnessed often is people trying to squeeze into roles and work environments that are not aligned with who they are. We’ve talked about being able to stand on your CORE VALUES, and now we’re going to explore your PERSONALITY as another key component of who you are at the core.

per·son·al·i·ty: the sum total of all the behavioral and mental characteristics by means of which an individual is recognized as being unique. (Collins English Dictionary published by HarperCollins)

Let’s continue this journey of clarifying what makes you uniquely you. In the context of job searching, your personality is another critical component to honor when choosing an opportunity with integrity. Similar to core values, these qualities are deep-rooted within you. But if the core values reflect WHY you do something, personality is one component of HOW you would do it. Others around you would see your behaviors and recognize you by your specific mix of characteristics. In other words, if you tend to approach something in a consistent manner, you’ll be recognized/characterized by that.

Your career is a reflection and an expression of who you are, and if you take a job that forces you to do things in a way that is contrary to how you may naturally do them, you might consider that you’re not in the best fit. If you stay in it for a while, you’ll grow unsettled because you are no longer in integrity with who you are.

Of course, there are those things in us that we do want to develop and change about ourselves, but here I’m referring to your characteristics and behaviors that are quite deeply ingrained in who you are and, in some cases, you may even be quite proud of them.

So, what are these characteristics and behaviors?

This is where we begin to look at the various assessments you’ve taken in the past: ones like Myers-Briggs, True Colors, Enneagram, etc.* Many have similarities, but each has its own nuances. You don’t have to go out and take all of them; the point is to grow in awareness of the physical, emotional, mental, and social blend of characteristics that are uniquely you.

EXERCISE: how are you recognized?

If you haven’t already, grab a notebook and make a list down the left to capture the CORE VALUES you identified last week.

Now, create a column immediately next to that and list out the various characteristics of your PERSONALITY. If you’ve already assessed your personality in standardized tests, list them out. Eg, Myers-Briggs: ENTP, Color: Orange, Enneagram: 7.

Here are also a couple other quick diagnoses you can make about yourself that would impact your professional choices (NOTE: these are not necessarily opposites; you may find yourself a blend of the two qualities) –

  • Are you people-oriented or task-oriented?

  • Do you prefer structured or unstructured environments?

  • Do you enjoy change or prefer consistency?

  • Do you tend towards details or the big picture?

  • Do you like to take the lead in a group or follow?

  • Are you typically calm in an emergency or nervous?

Next, ask a mix of people who are close to you and who have worked with you if this PERSONALITY list is accurate, because this aspect of who you are is the consistent way in which you show up in the world. It should be evident to those around you, even if it’s not so obvious to you.

Did you learn anything surprising about your personality, either from self-assessment or from others’ input?

Since so many factors make you uniquely valuable and useful in this world, you’ll want to choose to build your career with opportunities that leverage and appreciate YOU while also offering you experiences to challenge and sharpen the areas in which you desire to grow. That’s why it’s critical to be aware of your personality characteristics, and why it’s key to incorporate it into your job search.

If you don’t show up at work with “the sum total of all the behavioral and mental characteristics by means of which [you are] recognized as being unique,” the world genuinely misses out on what only you can bring.

But, when you do fully show up, you can fully thrive.

* For your quick reference:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: captures different ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment to process information, relate to structure, etc.

  • True Colors: measures personality temperament

  • Enneagram: explores how our inborn orientation determines how we learn to adapt to environments

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