“Know yourself” is the number-one advice people love to ignore. For one thing, most people assume they know themselves: They’ve been through college, had a job or two (or five or ten…). But the real problem with “knowing yourself” is that people don’t like being assessed. Even looking inward can make many people feel uncomfortable.
No matter how much this makes you squirm, the fact is knowing yourself is the key differentiator in achieving a successful outcome and landing the job you want. Think about it: Knowing yourself means you understand your strengths and have identified those “development areas” also known as your weaknesses.
If you fail to know yourself, you risk becoming a victim of your blind spots. You’ll overestimate your strengths and underestimate your weaknesses. Or you’ll think you’re “this” (e.g., a perfect fit in a startup) when, in fact, you’re actually “that” (more suited in a traditional, hierarchical company)—and it happens more frequently than you think.
Knowing yourself means understanding:
Who you are, your strengths and weaknesses
What motivates you and drives you to do your best
Your sense of purpose (what resonates deeply with your values)
The type of organization where you’d best fit
Long before you look “out there” for a job, your search needs to begin inward—with who you are and what you have to offer. Learning about yourself and looking at the truth will empower you with self-knowledge and self-confidence.