For me, the journey to self-growth consisted of three distinct pieces: self-knowledge, self-care, and self-actualization.
When my boss asked me to take a Kolbe assessment, a quiz that measures how you work, I didn’t think anything of it. After all, I already knew I was a “quick starter.” Then, a few weeks later at a work conference, I was given the StrengthsFinder assessment, another short quiz that indicates your talents. That’s when I really started to get curious.
Were my top two strength categories really Strategic Thinking and Influencing? Did I really I have the capacity to woo people? To turn thoughts into action? If so, should I be following my college dream of being an advocate and a writer instead of working 60 hours a week in a corporate job I liked but didn’t love?
So I started taking self-knowledge tests, quizzes, and other psychological assessments. It led to big changes in my life and set the tone for my personal development journey. Some of them cost money, but there are also some very insightful free assessments. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Unstuck is a free app that helps you identify how you’re “stuck” in life and what to do about it with real-time advice and support.
- The Big Five is a personality test that assesses your extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience.
- The Keirsey Temperament Sorter will give you insight into your individual temperament and is closely tied to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
After taking all of these assessments, I had an epiphany. I wasn’t living my purpose. Not only that, I didn’t even make time for the things that brought me joy, like reading, writing, hiking, music, volunteer work, and travel.
So I made some changes. I started getting up early to write. I shut off my phone an hour before bed and read for fun (not work!) I started volunteering with a friend once a month. And as I began to prioritize my own health and well-being, I found that I became a happier person.
Unfortunately, many people share my story. Self-care is often seen as superfluous, a luxury, even self-indulgent. But it’s actually a valuable and necessary part of a productive, positive lifestyle. Still, it can be tough to get back into a good self-care routine. These resources helped me get started:
- What is Self-Care?
- How to Create a Daily Self-Care Routine that You’ll Actually Stick To
- 25 Science-Backed Ways to Change Your Life by Taking Better Care of Yourself
- The Self-Love Workbook Planner (and all the free goodies from Blessing Manifesting!)
The concept of self-actualization had always been a little abstract to me. I wasn’t sure how to get there. But once I began to fulfill the other needs in the hierarchy, self-actualization seemed closer than it ever had before. I’m far from done with this journey, but I am well on my way to realizing my potential. These go-to resources will continue to keep me focused along the path.