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How a Personality Test Improved My Professional Life

“21 Steps to Find Happiness at Work”

This was the headline on the handout we received from Barbara Czestochowa during a Monday morning team meeting. First on the list: “Get six to eight hours of sleep on work nights!” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t laugh inside. I’m a working mom with three kids under the age of 8, and I never get that much sleep. Even so, I decided to keep an open mind.

The handout was Barbara’s way to introduce the Birkman Method, which is described as offering “a clear, concise picture of individuals within an organization” by focusing on “interests, usual style, needs and stress behaviors.”

I didn’t think the test would tell me anything new. I have taken similar tests and never changed my habits or perspective based on the results, but Barbara promised that Birkman would “reach further into personality than any other assessment, allowing for individuals to truly understand not only who they are, but why.” Even as a skeptic, I was curious to see what the results would be.

Two weeks after taking the test (which focused on how I see certain situations, how I think others see them, and my comparative interest in various types of jobs), I had the opportunity to sit down with Barbara to discuss my results. I felt like I was talking to someone who really knew me. The test was spot on. The results highlighted my strengths, areas I need to work on, and ways to be more aware of who I am and what makes me tick. It pointed out things to watch for at work, and ways to work well with those on different sides of the Birkman “scales” than me. I left the meeting with two takeaways to improve my professional life:

  • Take five minutes two times a day. I never stop to give myself time to think, and I always seem to be going at 150 percent. This little tip has been very helpful in providing some space for me to concentrate on things that really matter and decide how to prioritize.
  • Being outdoors is important to me and provides peace. I have always known this, but Barbara encouraged me to take the opportunity to get outside when I can in order to recharge. The picture above is a great example of me with my kids on a beautiful fall afternoon at a local park. Moments like this leave me feeling energized and happier during the workday!

Are you looking for more satisfaction in your current role? Interested in understanding more about your (or your colleagues’) work styles? I highly recommend the Birkman Method!