As Shakespeare said, “To Thine Own Self Be True.” But what if you’re not clear about who you really are? What if you don’t know what you want to do with your life? How do you really get to know yourself? In this series of posts I’ll show you some great tools for discovering who you are. Knowing who you are is a necessary starting point for finding a purpose that aligns with your true self.
We’ll start with the DISC assessment, which was first introduced in 1972, and is based on the theories of psychologist William Marston. Marston’s work centers on four different personality traits, most commonly described as: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance.
A very basic version of the DISC test is available for free at 123Tests. However, I found the more detailed (paid) versions to be much more helpful. These include this DISC assessment, as well as this Workplace DISC assessment. (I’m not affiliated with either of these sites – they’re just good resources I’ve found.)
After answering the assessment questions, your two highest scores are combined to tell you your dominant “type.” For example, someone might have a top score in the Compliance trait and a next highest score in Steadiness. That person’s type would be CS (for Compliance-Steadiness). My type is ID (or DI, depending on the version of the test), which means I score highest in Influence and Dominance.
DISC Personality Traits
Traits for each of the patterns include:
- Dominant (D): Results-oriented, Direct, Competitive
- Influence (I): Enthusiastic, Friendly, Optimistic
- Steadiness (S): Sincere, Patient, Modest
- Compliance (C): Accurate, Contemplative, Cautious
DISC Personality Patterns
The full assessment results will also provide you with your personality pattern and an overview of the traits for that pattern. There are 15 patterns which are:
- Objective Thinker
- Result oriented
Mine turns out to be the Inspirational pattern. Some of the traits for this pattern include the ability to be persuasive, motivating, and inspiring. This type is also good at initiating projects, building teams, and identifying the motives and desires of others. A negative aspect of this pattern is directness. Insight into both positive and potentially negative traits is an important aspect of discovering your purpose.
Learning about my personality pattern helped confirm a career plan that was already in motion – working with individuals and organizations to create a clear vision, innovate, and design lives and businesses that they love. It also helped me improve my communication with my husband and my co-workers because I better understood their needs and preferences.
How DISC Will Help You Discover Your Life Purpose
No assessment is going to provide you with immediate clarity and sense of purpose. However, assessments like DISC will provide you with lots of little insights – insights that evolve into clarity and understanding in an ongoing process. DISC is just one tool in this process.
The better you understand yourself, your personal values, strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, the more likely you will be to uncover your life purpose. The DISC assessment does a good job of identifying primary strengths, communication styles, and needs. If you get stuck or have trouble understanding your DISC results or how to apply them to your life, working with a coach may also help.
How Does DISC Compare to Other Assessments?
DISC has become a proven tool for use in business, team building, and in career coaching. It is a relatively short assessment and the results are easy to understand and share.
Once you understand the basic types and their characteristics, you’ll be able to identify the traits in others. Knowing how someone processes information, for example, can help you communicate with them more clearly. That’s a good thing to consider as you build teams. All of the patterns have value, and your team is likely to be more effective with a good mix of types.
Now It’s Your Turn
What do you think? Have you taken the DISC assessment? Share your scores below, and let us know how understanding your personality pattern might help in your life and business.