self-improvement

The personal profile

When I used to work as workforce instructor, helping adults find jobs, I used to give them assessments to help them figure out their interests, their strengths, and their skills. Then I’d have them write down these results.

A few months ago, when I was stuck trying to improve myself, I decided to do something similar for myself. Except I didn’t want to simply use it for finding a job. I wanted something that I could update and review to get a more complete picture of who I am, what I like, how I think, and what I can do. So I created what I call a “personal profile.”

My personal profile consists of a few different parts, accumulated from years of self-wondering and self-awareness:

  • Personality. I prefer using the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, and providing a sentence or two to describe the type, but you can use your own personality assessment.
  • Strengths. These aren’t simply skills you’re good at – these are personal traits that you embody pretty well. Examples: “patient,” “caring,” “good listener,” “focused,” “organized,” etc.
  • Knowledge. This includes subjects you can talk about for hours with friends. It could even include fun things like “Lord of the Rings mythology” or “Star Wars trivia.” Don’t limit yourself.
  • Skills. These are the things you can do, reliably and consistently. Go deep, go expansive. Again, don’t worry about how seemingly trivial or silly it is (for example, “riding a bike” or “speaking Elvish”).
  • Interests. Again, go deep (specific), go expansive.
  • Influences. These are the people, the books, the movies, the relationships, the classes, the events, and so on, that have influenced who you are.
  • Influential ideas/concepts/philosophies. This sounds more intellectual than it is. These are the ideas or personal thoughts that you really believe in or adhere to. Could be as simple as “Practice makes perfect” or “Women’s rights.”

The point of creating a personal profile isn’t simply to feel better about yourself (although if it helps you feel better about yourself, that’s great), but to create a clearer picture – a profile – of what makes you unique. Using this knowledge, you can develop yourself, build your interests and skills, focus on other traits to improve upon, reflect on your influences.

Like anything that’s personal, it’s going to require updating and reviewing. That’s the best part.

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