Even before I understood the hedgehog concept, making the adjustments necessary to stay working in the intersection of my passion, skills, and the place where the greatest difference could be made was driving my career decisions. Several times, my work shifted over time to the point where it no longer was at that intersection. In each of these cases, a reboot of my career and sometimes a change in location followed. At other times my passion and skills outgrew my current work, so rebooting again was the choice. Between reboots, shifting within the job setting has kept me on my hedgehog, and kept me fresh and focused as long as possible.
The hedgehog and you
“”Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.” – Lao Tzu
To help you in maintaining a growth edge and passionate commitment to your career, you will need to know yourself well. Most people do not. For a variety of reasons, most people are different from what they think they are. To get to know yourself with greater accuracy takes some work, honesty with yourself, and a lot of humility. There are several ways to pursue this “enlightenment.”
Begin with some honest self-reflection. What do you love doing, even if you are not yet world-class at it? What keeps popping up in your life because you seem to be good? At what do people say you excel? Not your mom (“You’re good at everything, honey”). Ask a few good, honest friends to tell you the truth about where you are great, and where you create a vacuum in the universe (vacuums suck). Take notes. Honor them for being honest with you, and do not be disappointed if they say what you don’t want to hear.
Here is a list of objective assessment ideas. Remember, honesty is critical in this process and truth is what you are seeking. Some people want results that verify their own opinions of themselves. Not useful. You will not be disappointed in the truth, and you will likely be pleasantly surprised. No cheating!
- For career strengths, take the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment. You can do this on line and get a printout of the results for somewhere around $50. Great assessment and useful report.
- To discover your temperament type, take a DISC Inventory on line and spend the $30 for the full report. Go to 123tests.com for a good deal.
- To better understand your personality type, consider some type of Myers-Briggs assessment. These are in the same price range as the DISC.
- To fill in some gaps and get a second opinion, take one of several pop psychology assessments related to you and your vocation. Many of these are free. Skip the love-life and food or wine type tests.
- If you are in any kind of influencer position, consider taking a 3600 assessment of your leadership. The product, based upon Kouzes and Pozner’s “The Leadership Challenge,” is excellent. Choose raters who are a mix of your friend and your non-friend workmates or peers. If you get a balance of raters, the report from this is very worthwhile.
As you take this journey, keep notes in a kind of journal that you can reflect on over a period of weeks or months. Determine the major themes related to your three hedgehog drivers: your passion, the things you do best, and the greatest need that you can invest your passion and skills in meeting. Along the way, keep asking yourself what your heart desires most based on what you are learning about yourself. Take your findings to a career counselor or career-oriented life coach and crop some cash to get an expert opinion on your results.
I have done all of these twice in my life. Both times set me on a course for success in finding and staying focused on my personal hedgehog. My honest friends said tough things long the way, and I am grateful to them for doing so. My confidence in my career choices has never been higher. I wish you well, and Godspeed.