Welcome to the new year! The year so many have been looking forward to, especially after the headlines of the previous year continued to affront us with not-so-happy news. I always love the new year because I love planners and pens. I feel energy to make things happen again. It is a part of my life cycle–August for the new school year, and January for the new calendar year.
“New Year, New You!”
How does that phrase sit with you? In the past, it has been motivating for me, because I have always embraced being on this journey toward personal development and growth. However, this year, I was struck by how it actually felt condescending to me. Like, what was wrong with me that I needed to be “new” instead of who I am? Yes, I am on a journey, but that doesn’t mean I need to be different from who I am. As a mother, I want most of all to live my life as an example for my children, and I would be devastated if they thought they needed to be other than who they are. Instead of “new you,” I am choosing to embrace “be you” instead.
But what does “be you” even mean? It can appear really vague and pie-in-the-sky, mystical and impractical for someone like me to think about. However, it has become part of my journey to better identify what “be you” means for me, so I thought I would share with you what I have found along the way.
1. Identify Your Personality Type
I have had the benefit of taking multiple personality tests, such as Real Colors, DISC, and Meyers-Briggs, during my college and career experiences. It has only recently had a major impact. (Could that be because of all of my
mistakes life experiences?) Now, often times people use their results as an excuse for why they behave the way they do. (Oh, that is so GOLD of me…I’m just such a DIRECT person, so I can’t help how others receive me…) I’d like to caution against this. Knowing your personality should help you on your path to “be you,” not be used an excuse to end your journey. Own your impact.
2. SWOT Analysis of Your Personality
SWOT analysis is used often in business planning and marketing planning. It is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. In most instances, doing an analysis that looks at all four of these areas will help you to plan and make better decisions to move you forward toward your ultimate business goals. It can do exactly the same for you personally. The key is to be 100% honest when looking at yourself. It can also be helpful to ask someone who knows you really well to complete one about you, too; sometimes our perspectives are clouded by self-doubt OR delusions of grandeur.
Strengths: What are things you do really well? What are things you fully enjoy doing?
Weaknesses: What are things you do poorly? What are things that you force yourself to do or when you do them you feel awful or unhappy?
Opportunities: Look at your list of weaknesses. Which ones are things you could learn how to do better? Perhaps there is something you have always wanted to do that you haven’t done yet–that becomes an opportunity.
Threats: This list is more difficult for your personal focus, but it can be anything that sabotages your strengths or opportunities and increases your weakness. Often these can be past experiences, misaligned priorities, time-wasters, negative self-talk, environment or relationships that are not healthy, for example.
3. Accept What You Have Learned
This step may be the most challenging part of your “be you” journey, accepting everything you have learned about yourself in the above steps. I know for me, it has been. I often initially accepted the superficial aspects of my personality test results, but never took them deeper. Then, once I did a SWOT analysis, I closed the book so I could ignore it. I think all of these are simply steps along the journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance, though. No baby develops the exact same way as another; why do we expect more from ourselves when we are continuing in our own personal development?
4. Grow Into You
This is the “be you” part, and–surprise!–it is ongoing. We are a species of continual growth and development. Our brains are amazing organs that really never stop processing, learning, and developing. Helpful things in this step are to surround yourself with others who are committed to this “be you” journey, keeping your SWOT analysis open so you can continue to take actions toward your priorities for growth, and daily accepting that you are on a journey.
None of this means you aren’t amazing how you are. All it means is that we are always on this journey of life. I am choosing to be intentional and keep accepting me. I am always growing and learning, and you can, too. New Year–Be You!