Wouldn’t it be cool to have a time machine? Going back in time to experience the world or be a part of famous historical events would be fascinating, but I’m not even talking about that. What if we could just back to when we were younger? What things would we love to tell ourselves? What mistakes would we tell ourselves to avoid? What opportunities would we tell ourselves to take advantage of?
Wouldn’t we all want a do-over or at least have some sound advice to give ourselves? Unfortunately, we can’t go back to the 20 years younger version of us. That doesn’t mean we can’t still think about it. If you could go back, what advice would you give yourself? It is a worthy question that requires reflection and self-awareness.
Then I think there is another question that we can ask that is a bit more difficult. What about the 20 year older version of yourself? If your 20 year older version had a time machine and could back and give you advice about your life right now, what do you think it would be?
This is a more challenging question, but worth consideration. It has the potential to give us more clarity today.
What advice do you think the future you would give you today?
I am a huge fan of personal assessments that help us better understand ourselves and others. There are personality assessments. There are natural strengths assessments. There are even spiritual assessments to show us how we naturally worship best.
I’ve been labeled so many letters and words that I have to keep up with all natural strengths and personality traits on a spreadsheet! It is fun to learn and I do believe in personal assessments because I believe the more we understand ourselves the better. I’m sure I’ll take more assessments in the future, but there is a downside.
This is never the intent of any assessment, but if we are not careful we can use them as excuses. People do this all the time. It is easy for us to say things like, “that’s just not my strength area” or “that’s just my personality.”
Assessments have nothing to do with success in life. In fact, no one who succeeds at anything will list their personality or natural strength as the reason for their successs, so we should be very cautious of using them as an excuse as well.
I’ve seen some of the greatest sales people who could have said they didn’t have the natural personality type for it. I’ve seen some of the greatest leaders who could have used their natural personality or strengths as a reason not to lead. The bottom line is personal assessments have almost nothing to do with success, but they can help us better understand people which is extremely valuable.
The first step is understanding ourselves which helps us find our unique style. The next step is learning to understand others around us. This can help us have empathy towards others. When we have a better understanding of others natural traits, we can better understand how they may deal with situations differently than we do. It helps us walk in their shoes and maybe give them more grace. This is what assessments should do. They should help us better understand the people around us.
If we aren’t careful, they can have the opposite effect. We can be so self focused that we say “this is who I am” and expect the world to understand us when they don’t. We can use them as excuse not to succeed because that’s exactly what we need is another excuse to justify our failures.
So assessments are great, but use them wisely. Never use them as an excuse. Have more empathy for others because you better understand them.
Assessments may never help us “succeed” but they can make our journey better along the way.