Full disclosure: I was not so profesh when I was younger. I was chronically late and I switched jobs like you would switch clothes. All these to say, I was unemployable. I probably still am but I learned the value of respecting myself and my needs first before I can do so with other people.
They say if you don’t know what you want, you’ll never get it. Darn true. I didn’t really know what I wanted in my 20s. I was, in a sense, experimenting with my life.
And that turned out to be a good thing for me. You’re not really supposed to know it all ever—not when you’re 20, 30, or even 80. Knowing it all would seem like the end of the world—there’s nothing more to learn from.
If there’s one thing I learned professionally in my 20s, it’s that one should know oneself first in order to work optimally.
Here some tips to train yourself to work according to who YOU are:
Take tests to find out your personality type
I’m an INFP. As such, my personality type is not very common. We comprise of only second to the lowest in the population, if I remember correctly.
As you might imagine, it’s not easy to understand people whose personalities are rare or uncommon. But there are also certain aspects to being an INFP that are advantageous.
For instance, we’re a bit on the altruistic side. We believe in beauty and wonder and seeing the good in people. We always want people to live up to their potential and support them any way we can.
Knowing this, I can choose a career that can possibly work for me. I don’t like working with hard facts and rigid schedules all the time. I like to be in a field that’s flexible and dynamic. Hence, my long-time love for blogging and content creation.
We’re also not very big on the money. Money is important but what INFPs really want is making an impact, seeing something change for the better.
I think that being a blogger/ content creator is the perfect mix of creativity and helping others. And that’s why I love doing this so much.
What about you, what’s your personality type and what kind of work do you do best? You can take your personality test here to find out.
Leverage the Strategies of how you motivate yourself
I’ve often mentioned Gretchen Rubin’s work on the Four Tendencies. It classifies people’s habit-making capabilities according to their motivations, whether internal, external, both, or neither.
I’m neither. I’m not motivated by both internal (myself) and external (others) factors. It’s called a Rebel Tendency.
But it’s not all bad. Rebels usually can do anything they WANT as long as it aligns with who they perceive themselves to be. This is a good thing.
I know, for one, that I’ve always admired and wanted to be an Upholder. But Gretchen says (yes, she replied to my DM on Instagram about this) that it’s easier to change your circumstance than who you are.
I think it’s high time that we leverage our very own strengths and not just copy off strategies that were made for other people. You can take the Four Tendencies quiz (link above) to find out your own Tendency. Then you’ll be able to work with yourself to create better habits and more.
Monitor your progress and process
I use a project management tool called Asana to monitor my process. I have a project for my moods, my coding work, and my exercise sessions.
Contrary to how most people would use Asana to schedule their activities in the future, I used my calendars to jot in the times when I successfully did any activity that was relevant to my projects.
This really works for rebels like me who don’t want to be tied down to routines and schedules. Of course, I also plan ahead of time and have a separate workspace for my desired activities. But I don’t tie myself down to my calendar. I choose the activities I want to do or some that I have to do for that day and go from there.
Training yourself to work optimally may sound easier on paper. It’s always easier said then done. When you’re in the arena, you have to make a lot of compromises and customization. Ultimately, your experience will shape the kind of work you’re meant for.
Patience is also key because there will be factors that are out of your control. It’s important to remember to be compassionate and kind to yourself when things don’t work out the way you expect them to. Just keep going and keep working. You’ll get there at the time that’s right for you.