This is the second article in our series on self-awareness. Our first article in this series clarified the concept of self-awareness—essential to ensuring you find your best-fit Style Type. Now let’s look at some ways to develop self-awareness and how to identify your core style self.
Many activities foster self-awareness. We developed the list below to appeal to women with multiple ways of learning, so keep reading until you find something that seems right for you.
Keep a journal
If you’ve never done this, here are some sample questions that allow for self-discovery. What were you grateful for today? Where and how did you make a difference, big or small, from contributing at work to helping a friend to using sustainable transportation? What talents and strengths did you use? When did you stumble and why? Don’t beat yourself up but instead look at how you can grow.
Develop a mindfulness practice
From breathing exercises to gardening while concentrating on the earth and the greenery, going for a walk in a natural setting, to yoga, mindfulness practices are meant to ground you in the moment and in your body, not your mind. What is happening right now? Check this great fact-sheet for ideas
Ask your trusted friends
What have they observed about you? Sample questions might be, What do you like about being friends with me? What do I contribute? What are my strengths? What animal comes closest to being like me?
An example from Imogen on this last question, where she asked Jill what animal comes closest to being like her. Jill gave the following response, which Imogen took as a compliment:
“Well I don’t think you’re an octopus which is what the online articles say INTJs are. I would say something quite solitary, who comes into social gatherings when required… something resourceful and canny – no real chance of you dying of dehydration because you couldn’t work out how to get water somehow … focused on self – own goals, needs – independent mindset, not a collective one… something that doesn’t mind the occasional human contact but doesn’t need it to thrive (and too much of it just annoying)… capable of being domesticated but quite happy in the wild… not aggressive – won’t eat or hunt other animals for sport but can definitely cause harm. Not vegetarian. I think a very clever crow.”
Take a quality personality assessment
Naturally we recommend our own Best Fit Type Process – our custom-made process to discover your style type, one outcome of which is you will receive a visually stunning and content-rich 30-page Style Type Report, tailored specifically for your personality type.
If you choose not to do this Process of ours or wish to go further into discovering more about your psychological type beyond style, please note that none of the free quizzes on the internet are accurate—you have at least a 50% chance of getting the wrong results.
We recommend finding a qualified person to administer the MBTI®, visiting Type Coach for an interactive method, or seeing if your local community education offers a course, often for job transitions. Some universities allow alumni to use these services via their career centers as well. Instead of thinking of this as a one-and-done event, make a commitment to reading more.
Find someone who can provide good feedback at work
This may or may not be your boss. Ask questions such as, What’s the one thing I could do to be more effective in meetings? What do others know about doing this job well that I haven’t discovered yet? When am I at my best as a team member?
Rinse and repeat
Keep in mind that these activities are meant to help you discover your true essence, apart from the roles you play or the way you believe you need to be. Many of these activities pay greatest dividends if sincerely approached over a period of time, but some can be one-off activities that will give you interesting feedback and information on your journey of self-discovery.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Gustav Jung
Finding Your Core vs Developed or Contextual Self
Linda Berens, one the 16 Style Types interviewees who generously provided her insights for the INTP Style Type Report, describes an insightful model of understanding self, used by thousands of professional facilitators, coaches, and trainers around the world. Used with permission.
Contextual Self and Contextual Style Type
On the outside of the circle, Dr Berens describes the Contextual Self as who we are in different environments. Often people say, “I’m one way at work and one way at home” when trying to identify their personality preferences. Yes, mature adults choose how they behave in different contexts, drawing on appropriate learned behaviors as necessary.
Our Contextual Style Type is similar, influenced by many factors impacting us at the current time. These may include fashion trends, our lifestyle and budget requirements, the opinion of friends and significant others, and what is required at work or in our professional setting. Our situation or the occasion influences our style choices.
Our Contextual Style Type is true and relevant for us as it encompasses many practical factors, but it doesn’t go anywhere near describing the essence of our style, what is “home” for us. If your style journey never goes beyond your Contextual Style Type, your style will always be limited in a significant way and you may never feel truly comfortable in your clothes.
Core Self and Core Style Type
Moving to the middle of the circle now, our Core Style Type is what we were born with. Yes, we are suggesting that an approach to style is as innate and inborn as our approach to communication, our approach to information, our approach to decision making, and our approach to life in general. Our Super Styles articles explore this, describing the essence of each Super Style’s approach to style.
Discovering your Core Style Type is what brings you “home”, to recognize and honor your unique approach to style, and what works and is true for you. This is where 16 Style Types can be the most powerful, giving a respectful language and legitimacy to unique style approaches that may not have been acknowledged, let alone respected as genuine, before.
While each Style Type is a bit different, your Core Style Type might involve knowing your clothes are “you,” adapting a required work wardrobe to better suit your personality, feeling at home with your spending choices, seeing your closet or wardrobe as your friend rather than full of issues, knowing that your value for appropriateness or spontaneity or flexibility or whatever it is for you can be met through your style choices, and so on.
Developed Self and Developed Style Type
Now just out from the center circle, our Developed Style Type is what your style has settled into, given the influences of culture and education, and given our style choices. All of us are on a style path, traveling a style journey – acknowledged or not. Some of us are at the beginning of our style journey whilst some of us are further along. In our Style Type Report, we define 4 distinct phases a woman of that Style Type travels through – these are the elements of your Style Blueprint which provide a framework for improving your style.
Some of us remain relatively style unaware and so our Developed Style Type is less formed. Some of us are further down our style path, and our Developed Style Type has more shape and refinement to it.
For many women, this is what they believe their style to be, as the Developed Style Type is about style choices in the context of growth, culture, background, education and many other factors which determine each woman’s approach, attitude, and actions when it comes to style.
And whilst your Developed Style Type is a genuine reflection of your style, it doesn’t fully describe the essence of your style – that is only found in exploring and discovering your Core Style Type.
“Self-awareness is our capacity to stand apart from ourselves and examine our thinking, our motives, our history, our scripts, our actions, our habits, and our tendencies.” Stephen Covey
Discovering your Core Style Type
You can learn something about your unique style journey, even if you’ve been exploring style for some time, years or decades. We have met many women seeking an authentic way to understand and express their style who found what they were looking for with our fresh and innovative Discover your Style Type approach – they tell us it’s like nothing they’ve ever come across before.
Even More Reading about Self Awareness
What Does Self Awareness Have to do with Personal Style?
Innate Preferences are Different from Learned Behavior.
Thank for this series – I love that the process goes deeper and deeper. And although I found out from one of the Type sites and didn’t reflect on it for myself that the INFJ animal is a wolf, it really speaks to me. I share so many of its characteristics – and on the one occasion where I took part in a shamanic process, a wolf was a key part of it. The drummming journey took me into a forest accompanied by a wolf (I can still feel it’s fur under my hand) and then deep beneath the roots of a tree to the embrace of a mother goddess. It intrigues me that so much enlightenment is to be found in dark, mysterious places ………