Back in April I posted a blog titled Why is Finding Your Purpose So Hard? which focused on neglected areas of self-investigation when trying to find your purpose. One of the sections entitled ‘Know Thyself’ expounded the importance of taking time to get to know what your strengths where. A simple step many of us skip by because we have our own preconceptions holding us back, not to mention outside opinions too.
The most queries I received were about the section on self discovery. What I meant by it, and what sort of resources were out there outside of traditional means. I generally provided a version of the information contained in this blog post in response, as well as my own experiences of using them. After several requests I decided to share the same information as a blog post so anyone else interested in it could have access to it.
The following resources, links and reading recommendations came from my research for the original blog post I linked to above. I took all tests and paths below for research – but also out of genuine curiosity. I have provided descriptions on the tools that impressed me most, with the reading list still to be finished as research for future posts.
Before you read further I wanted to make something clear. The tests and resources included here are guides only – not mechanisms to a definitive answer on a single career or purpose. They narrow the field of search, but still provide the individual the opportunity to learn about themselves through trial and error. As with all the hardest trials in life, finding a purpose is a journey unique to each of us. Just keep that in mind if you try any of the below. Keep an open mind and enjoy it – they are time spent getting to know yourself, not pass or fail exams.
I should note that all the resources and tools below were found during my research into my original blog post. I have in no way been sponsored or paid to provide the information. Anything that required purchase was done with my own money at no discount for promotion of any kind.
WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE?
What Color Is Your Parachute? is described as the world’s most popular job-hunting guide and the author revises and updates the book annually. The book is written by career expert Richard N. Bolles who gives some priceless career tips and initiatives to help you find, or change into, a new career.
The book is written for people seeking their first career but includes a section on career change. My advice is to read the book from cover to cover and approach the task as if this is your first career, regardless of your situation. Going back to basics is the key to success with this book and it is worth every cent of its price. There is also an iPad app for all the Apple lovers out there, which provides an informative visual upon completion. I found the app to be a great way to record each section and exercise that needed to be completed. It is not essential – pen and paper work just as well – but it provides a useful pictorial outcome of all your inputs. I would still recommend picking up the book even if you do buy the app.
I cannot recommend this book enough and if combined with the next resource on my list, it proves to be even more effective. Further information can be found here.
HAPPEN TO YOUR CAREER
Happen to Your Career is run by Scott Anthony Barlow and provides online based training in finding a career you love. Scott has a regular podcasts which not only discusses how to find that new career, but also interview key people who have done it successfully. They have a free 8-day course which provides structured guidance and task based learning to help you towards your goal.
I completed the free 8 day course offered to see if the program was worth recommending. I can honestly say I was impressed with the content and directions it took me. Also Scott and his team are available for any queries you have from Day 1, which proved invaluable during my time completing the course. You have nothing to lose by signing up for the free course or even giving the podcast a listen. It has a broad range of guests relating to career change and paths to niche occupations.
There is a next level to the course that requires payment but you are not obligated to sign-up. Scott’s approach is to look within for the answers before attempting to choose a new career, and this makes perfect sense when you go through the course tasks. Further information can be found here.
Strengthfinders 2.0 is a book by Tom Rath written for Gallup. This is a strengths based assessment tool that gives you your top 5 strengths based on your answers to the assessment. You must buy the book to obtain a code for the online assessment. The code can only be used once per book, so if you have more than one person wanting to take the test a second book will need to be purchased. The book itself is a description of 30+ strengths of which only 5 will be relevant after you have completed the assessment. This makes the rest of the book redundant outside of your identified strengths.
Despite what seems like a pricey exercise, I found it to be relatively accurate in the strengths it arrived at, and how I could look to apply them. If you want the full 30+ list you will have to pay a very expensive fee to obtain them from Gallup. However, I was happy with the 5 strengths revealed as guidance for a career choice. Further information can be found here.
The 16 Personalities test is a series of questions based on the Myers-Briggs test that provides you with a profile based on one of the 16 personalities. The test relates to career, personality, relationships, strengths and weaknesses, friendships and parenthood.
For a free resource it is impressive and eerily accurate – I even tried it several times to see if it would sway on the answer I received but it was identical each time. Interesting and fun, with some usable outcomes, it is another piece in the purpose puzzle. You can pay a fee to get a more detailed report on your ‘personality’ but you are not obliged to do so. Further information can be found here.
48 DAYS – DISC TEST
48 Days is a website that provides a series of questions based around the DISC method with a 30 page report on your personality provided at the end. DISC is a behaviour assessment tool which centres on four different behavioural traits i.e. Dominance, Influence, Support and Conscientiousness.
The test has evolved over the course of 70+ years from its original form into a tool companies now use to screen potential employees. The principle is that certain behavioural types fit better into certain jobs, or roles, and that the tool aids the employer in identifying the best candidates.
The test has a fee associated with it, but it can be worth it if you are still struggling to narrow your search. Again, this tool is not a definitive answer but provides additional guidance. Further information can be found here.
If you would like to know more about any of the paths above I would be happy to share my experiences with them. Each one identifies different aspects of personality, and strengths – as guidance only – in finding your purpose. I have also provided some suggested reading below which may be of interest to anyone keen to learn more about themselves and their path.