04. What a Character!—Identifying Your Defining Characteristics
You can’t know where you want to work, live and play until you understand your personality. This module pushes you to identify the characteristics that make you you. Then it asks you to consider if the way others would describe your personality matches your understanding of your authentic self—and if it doesn’t, to think about why that might be the case.
Sure, your personality is what wins you friends and romantic partners, but it can also be what gets you admission to a school you want to attend, or a job in a workplace you’d love to go to every day. Yes, employers search out employees based on their skills. But when they actually hire people to work in their office five days a week, 52 weeks a year, they’re also looking for employees whose personality will be a good fit within their corporate culture. By the same token, when you look for a job (or a school, or a roommate, or any number of life-defining situations) you’ll want to make sure it’s a good fit for you, too. But you can’t know what you want to do–and where, and with whom–until you truly know who you are and what characteristics define you. You need to be able to identify your defining characteristics.
What do people think of when they think of you? Are you funny, serious, unique, approachable? These are all traits that make up your personality, and what other people see when they get to know you. We like to think of your personality as the face that you show to the world.
Read through the list on the next page, taking time to highlight words or phrases that you’ve heard others use to describe you. We like to start with the way others perceive you rather than the way you describe yourself because it gives you a bit of a sense of the first impression you present to the world. But what matters most, in using your characteristics to make decisions, is the way you see yourself.