I confess. I’m a sucker for a quiz. I love to test myself, and compare my answers with others. We all need a little distraction to keep our minds off the news right now, right? Some of us more than others.
So I want to share some quizzes, exercises, and assessments that may help you discover some important truths about the most interesting person on earth. YOU!
The way you cope during stressful times has a lot to do with your unique personality traits. Do you consider yourself self-aware? Do you know why you may be feeling particularly panicky right now? Or inexplicably calm and at peace? Do you know what makes you feel creative and purposeful? Even joyful?
Every night at 7:00 p.m. my neighborhood goes outside and stands on the street, sidewalk or balconies to make a little ‘music.’ The other night this kid took a spatula to the iron balcony and managed to make a lovely racket! The hospital staff around the corner and up the hill has let us know via social media that they hear us and appreciate us. It feels like a beautiful way to cope, if even for just a few minutes each day. All it took was one neighbor to organize it, and… voila! I am grateful to that neighbor.
What are you doing to cope? How are you adapting, personally and professionally, to our ‘new abnormal?’
Are you living your life in the best way possible for you to make a contribution that feels authentic, productive and true to you?
Now is a terrific time for some good old-fashioned introspection.
Everyone brings their own gifts to the situation at hand. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ personality. Now’s a time to get in touch with, and appreciate, what you bring to the table.
Maybe you can help someone else – a friend, family member, neighbor or even a donor – overcome some of their own weaknesses right now. And maybe they can help you as well. Yin-yang. Give-take. Mutual support. Empathy and understanding.
Are you game?
I’ve got four fun things for you to try!
Even if you don’t love doing exercises and taking quizzes as much as I do, you may find one or more of these interesting. None of them take a lot of your time. And it’s even more fun if you do it together (with friends, family, co-workers); then compare and discuss results!
1. Clarify Your Values Exercise
During tough times, values can become like faith; an almost spiritual practice – if we practice them. We talk a lot in nonprofit circles about organizational values and culture, but what about your core individual values? We all have them, yet we don’t take much time to think about them. Or consider how we might actually live them. I know my top one is honesty. Kindness is also up there, but honesty sometimes gets in the way of that. So I have to be more aware than I sometimes am. Achievement is up there as well, which really helps me to get things done. But sometimes that can be pretty unrelaxing so, again, I need to be aware and strive for more balance. Do you know your core values?
[OPTION 1] Brene Brown has a great list of values you can use to get started.
Everyone’s values are different. You don’t have to share the same values as everyone else. And you don’t have to choose the ones you think you should choose. Circle the values that most speak to you. Are you honoring those? Might you be happier if you were? How might you re-orient your life around expressing those values you hold most dear?
[OPTION 2] Another way to identify your values is to consider several peak experiences from your life. Don’t get fixated on what you believe are supposed to be peak experiences. Look for what brought you a true sense of fulfillment and alignment with self. It could be a conversation with a friend. Or a visit to an art museum or natural area. Or a wedding, divorce or birth of a child. Or cooking a meal for a loved one. Or planting in the garden. Once you have your peak experiences, write down what it was about it that made it personally fulfilling. (e.g., being creative; being connected with the earth; nurturing; living my truth; achieving my goal; being vulnerable; taking a risk; overcoming fear; being curious; choosing my battle, collaborating with a team, being playful, etc.). From here, you can identify 3 – 5 core values being expressed. Not only do you have these values to give; you also enjoy living these values.
You may find it’s challenging to live your values in changed circumstances. That’s okay too. This is not business, or life, as usual. Consider new ways you could live your values, or ways you might even live your values more boldly or with greater meaning and depth. For example, if community and connection are an important value for you, what new ways might you connect today? If making a difference is a core value of yours, and you can no longer make a difference in the way you did while working in your office, what ways can you innovate to make a difference today?
You may find what you most value now is not what you most valued yesterday. That’s okay. You are free to choose your values. And consider how you might live these values under the new environment in which we find ourselves. And don’t beat yourself up if you don’t succeed every day.
Core values can become your prescription for a fulfilling life. It’s a great exercise to ground you as you go through times that feel chaotic and out of control. Measure your work, and success, around how fully you’re living your core values. Lead with those to navigate this ‘new abnormal.’
2. Assess Your Personality
The Big Five Project Personality Test is a terrific way to get in touch with your own way of approaching the world – during the best and worst of times. I learned about it from the good folks at The Agitator-Donor Voice – who wrote a terrific article about how these aspects of your personality may pre-dispose you to cope in a pandemic (thank you!). The test measures what psychologists deem to be the five fundamental dimensions of personality. What’s extra fun about this test is they allow you to rate yourself and one other person simultaneously. Then you can have them do the same. I did this with my husband, but you can easily do this with a co-worker as well. We had an interesting discussion afterwards about where we agreed, differed and why. Here are my ratings for the two of us, so you can see the scales they measure (TMI?).
Let’s just say we know each other pretty well. He finds me every bit as disagreeable as I find myself (let’s just stipulate that’s what makes me a good coach and consultant; I’ll give it to you straight so you’ll always know what will work/what won’t). I rated him as more organized than he did (you see, I always tell the truth; one truth is he’s too hard on himself). And we both agree which one of us is keeping the other calm through this period!
3. Assess Your Strengths
The Gallup/Clifton Strengths Finder is my ‘go to’ when working with individual coaching clients. I’ve used it with teams in work settings as well. It’s a robust tool that’s been used in thousands of workplaces – for-profit and non-profit – worldwide. I’ve found it to be reliable, and a great springboard for figuring out what you most enjoy doing. This helps you do more of that, and less of what you’re not good at.
Here’s the deal: The standard way of evaluating employees, sadly, is to hone in on their weaknesses and ask them to improve in those areas. This tool takes a different approach: What if we honed in on strengths, asked people to do more of the things that play to their strengths, and removed from their plates those things that fall within their area of weakness? There’s likely someone else on your team who carries your weakness as a strength, and who might welcome the tasks you never get around to. This makes everybody happier; the organization as a whole becomes stronger, and you all become more aware of each other’s unique gifts.
Plus… if you take the test, you’ll get a valuable snapshot of the strengths you most enjoy playing to. It’s great to seek out opportunities to use these strengths more. In an interview situation, for example, I always recommend talking about these strengths – no matter what question is asked of you! Let’s say “achiever’ is one of your strengths. The interviewer asks: “How is your attention to detail?” Instead of saying “great,” what about saying: “I’m often described as an achiever. I’ll achieve whatever task is set before me. May I tell you about a recent achievement about which I’m quite proud?”
ACTION: Full disclosure, this assessment does take an hour of your time. As of this writing, it costs $19.99 to take the basic test online. It’s worth both the time and investment.
4. Discover Your Creative Type
I’ve been telling everyone the two survival skills for the times we’re in are empathy and innovation. This assessment from Adobe helps you discover your innovation style. Once you get your results (this takes about five minutes) you can download and/or share with others. I found out I’m ‘The Visionary’ and my ideal collaborator is ‘The Thinker.’ Here’s what it said (I promise, whatever your result is it will make you feel good):
Emotional, passion-driven, and full of ideas, the VISIONARY combines a vivid imagination with a desire for practical solutions. Your introspective and intuitive nature is balanced by a keen interest in the world around you and a desire to contribute to society.
I confess this feels pretty spot-on to me, as folks have told me more than once I’ve a unique combination of vision and pragmatism. In fact, it’s what I try to include in all my articles – a dose of why and where we’re going, balanced by some practical steps of what it takes to get there. I hope I succeed. [Though I hope I don’t really have five eyes; unless I could move a couple to the back of my head!)
The times we’re in are extraordinary, and having strong coping skills today are truly important.
Whether you’re a fan of assessments like these or not, taking a little time for self- reflection is always a good thing. It’s pretty much essential during times of crisis. And it helps to have a guide, whether it be a mentor, coach or some sort of tool like the ones I’ve suggested here.
We’re in uncharted territory; it’s important you find your own true north. This will help you chart your own course, rather than defaulting into one of these less effective coping modes: (1) being frozen in fear; (2) reacting impulsively, or (3) waiting to be told what to do. While you’re waiting, folks who rely on you may be suffering.
Live your values, use your strengths, give yourself some grace and discover the ways you’re best wired to innovate and create.
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This 42-page e-guide includes a wealth of materials to help you take some time to develop the necessary mindset, and supporting infrastructure, to show donor-investors what’s in it for them to affiliate with you. What value do you offer? And why is it better than what anyone else is offering? Grab this series of clairifying worksheets, individual and group exercises, templates, checklists and more. You’ll learn to be genuinely thoughtful about your goals and objectives — something needed today more than ever.
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Please let me know in the comments below if you find any of these tools or exercises helpful.