I remember the first “personal growth” exercise I created.
(I say “created” – I’m sure other people have done it too, but I didn’t know it at the time.)
I was filling out a volunteer application form, and it asked what three words my friends would use to describe me.
I had no idea – I was totally stumped.
I thought and thought, but came up with nothing.
So, I decided to ask them.
I picked 5 friends, and emailed them to ask what three words they’d use to describe me.
When they replied, it was pretty affirming.
(It’s something we do so rarely – and yet it’s really cool to see why people are friends with us!)
It gave me a real boost - a result I didn’t anticipate.
But two other things happened that were also pretty cool:
1. My friends described me in ways I never would have thought.
Some of the adjectives I got back were “curious, adventurous, and grounded” – three things I’d never associate with myself.
And yet, I love finding out new info, and I have a SERIOUS thirst for knowledge.
(I could find a sidewalk fascinating: Who designed it? Where did the materials come from? What’s underneath? Who laid the concrete... and what are they up to now? Etc, etc.)
I love going to new places and exploring the world.
And it’s hard to define yourself as grounded, per se, but I guess I have my feet on the ground most of the time.
The second result, which I found super interesting, was that:
2. My friends often described me with words I would assign to them!
My friend (from the UK) that described me as adventurous? Has lived in Japan, Mexico, Russia, and France, and is currently living in NYC ;)
The friend that called me “grounded and down-to-earth” has published two books (one before she was 25)... and yet you’d never know.
You practically have to prise the information out of her :) (She’s modest as well as grounded!)
At the time I was surprised by this second point - but I’m not any more. It’s now a well-known fact that we see in other people what we like (or dislike) about ourselves.
I’m friends with my New York-dwelling pal because she’s adventurous and curious; qualities I (subconsciously) like about myself.
I love my down-to-earth friend, because that quality is important to me.
So, an exercise you can try:
1. Send an email to your close friends (better than asking everyone you know, as you might get confused results) asking them what three words they’d use to describe you.
2. Sit back and wait for emails to come in. Give your friends time to reply ;)
3. Enjoy your new knowledge - and be sure to thank your friends!
(And if you feel inclined, you can get back to them with three words you’d use to describe them!)
Give it a go... it will take less than 5 minutes, I promise.
And if you're still not convinced, here are 3 reasons why:
1. It will make you feel good. 2. It will show you things about yourself you didn’t know. And 3. It reaffirms why you’re friends with the people you are!
And when you have your words, I’d love to hear them! Were you surprised by the results?
From your adventurous, curious, grounded coach ;)