Choosing Development Paths, Personal Values and Aspirations

Choosing Paths - walking on a mountain path

“This Above All:

To Thine Own Self Be True.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Personal Values and Career Paths

One of the most important questions to answer when choosing a professional path is actually a simple one: What do you enjoy doing? The difficulty in authentically answering this question lies in the effort involved in understanding and mastering our own strengths and weaknesses.

Also, most of us are not familiar with the mandatory knowledge and skills required for the profession we aspire to. Fortunately, there are a lot of personality assessment tools, and some of them are free to use like personal values questionnaires or free personality tests like the DISC, MBTI, and BIG5

Our Aspirations and Career Choices

Some studies show that for early career professionals, the confidence drive in a career choice is a crucial step towards professional success to the degree that it affects career paths and earnings.

Sometimes personal preferences, or better yet, our wishes or aspirations, play a key role in the decision-making process. Another study about personality and career roles shows that personal preferences play the role of a mediator between personality traits and career achievements.

So, the chances of being more content with the chosen professions will be higher if personal preferences are in alignment with the personal traits and chosen paths.

The ancient Greek aphorism Know Thyself becomes a fashionable and challenging personal development question. Awareness of the personal values that drive our choices in life, proves to be an important leverage for professional growth.

The Personality Match

Researchers use personality assessments to measure theoretical constructs related to work behaviours, with a focus on personnel decisions, learning plan design, career coaching, annual reviews, etc. The results of these tests are the assessment reports that label people as being introverts or extroverts, achievers, performers, decision-makers, artisans, and give skill scores, general tendencies, etc.

Usually, the methodology involved uses batteries of questions to classify personality traits, and basically, assessment researchers write questions, so that the answers received can easily fit into their response categories.

It’s the magic of classification that makes large concepts look easier to fit into certain categories. But, this magic might be just an illusion that people belong to a certain successful or less successful psychological or occupational category. We can’t be sure that people only fit into the category of achievers, performers, learners, introverts, extroverts, or whatever the profiles suggest.

People react differently to the assessment results, starting with crying because their life dream just got shattered, shouting with anger because the test was completely wrong, laughing because the result was a validation, or being indifferent because to them it was completely irrelevant.

So, assessments are not a verdict that restricts the freedom to choose a profession that only values certain traits or skill sets. Tests are just that, tests with potential benefits and limitations which are related mostly to cultural or regional differences.

Self-discovery Journey

People’s personalities are complex and not easy to fit into a single model or matrix. When it comes to choosing paths, one type of assessment tool might not be enough. Even if there are complex investigation methods and they offer some insights related to our natural tendencies, the provided profile reports are just a guide.

Choosing a profession is an individual responsibility, and we definitely can’t blame the tests for this choice.This self-discovery journey can begin with a simple list of strengths and weaknesses or with answers to questions related to our preferences and challenges.

The know-thyself wisdom is a self-assessment and a safe path to take because no one else knows our likes and dislikes better than ourselves.