A life examined: conducting a self assessment

Great designers (and great people) are in touch with who they are and how they fit into the grand scheme of this connected universe of humanoids. It is beneficial and healthy for you to constantly assess who you are and what you are about. As the saying goes, "A life unexamined is a life not worth living." Well, that may be a bit drastic, but you get the idea. An examined life will help you feel more centered with who you are, gain self respect and self confidence, and help you survive, compete, and tolerate a sometimes ruthless environment.

Setting goals can help you grow in the direction that is most efficient for your growth and happiness. Your self assessment goals should be:
• Realistic
• Attainable (but just barely)
• Very specific
• Doable on a time schedule.

Address the items below honestly and thoroughly (you should add additional assessment criteria and evaluation). This is not really about right or wrong, its about your honest, thorough, and deeply probing assessment of some of your beliefs and values. Do whatever you do when you check your inner thoughts: take a walk, fantasize, reread your journal, meditate, etc. Consider skills at which you excel, how you enjoy spending your spare time, where you would like to be five years from now, etc. Jot notes and clarify your thoughts. Dig deep. Try to figure out what really makes you you: why you think, act, and believe the way you do.

Jump-starters and thought-provokers
• My most cherished childhood memories.
• How I enjoy spending my free time.
• What objects I would save if my house was on fire.
• My role models.
• When I knew for sure that I was talented.
• Heroes who have had a major influence on me.
• People I must impress in order to feel good about myself.
• The attributes that make me unique and special.
• The major goals I want to accomplish in my life.
• Behind my back, people say that I am . . .
• Some things that prevent me from focusing on a task or project.
• What I want to say on my deathbed.
• My three best assets.
• Why I do or do not feel very confident about myself or my ideas.
• I am happiest when I am . . .
• My ultimate fantasy dream job.
• Things I would change about myself.
• Some of my pet peeves.
• I want to break out of these ruts or habits.
• Guests at my fantasy dinner party.
• The things that prevent me from thinking more open-mindedly.
• Ways I can become more intelligent.
• What I am most afraid of.