Could you describe yourself in one word? Seems like an impossible challenge, right? Let me make a promise. If you can can describe your genius in one word, your life will never be the same. I know that is a HUGE promise, but it has been true for me. In just a little bit, I am going to offer you an exercise that will help you get to your one word.
Many of us have no clue as to how we can add real value to the world. Because we lack this insight, we have a tendency to just drift through life and work. Our only method for discovering our life’s work is by jumping from job to job hoping the next one will be THE one that brings total nirvana.
However, there is a major problem.
Most professionals today judge a potential job on salary, benefits, and perks alone. We take little account as to how well the job fits our unique DNA. This is mainly because we have never taken the opportunity to look inwardly. Choosing a major in college comes from what will make us the most money or from what our parents tells us to choose.
The Power in Describing Yourself in One Word
When I first came across this exercise, I resisted it. I didn’t want to limit myself to one word. I didn’t see the purpose in trying to be that narrow. Truth is I am going to show you how to have several words, but one word that means the most to you. I placed a pic in this post that shows you the words that best describe me. I want to do work that engages these words. It is where I come most alive.
In the process of collecting these words, there was one word that seems to stand out among the rest. That became my one word.
How to Describe Your Genius in One Word
Now we are going to walk through a little exercise that you will find to be both challenging and intriguing. Don’t just read this exercise. Do it right now.
Step 1. Involve other people
It is very important that you involve other people in this process. I realize you might be a bit resistant to doing this, but others can see in us what we miss. I want you to select 5 people that you can ask two questions to. Write down the 5 names right now. You can email them or message them through facebook. Choose 5 people whom you think know you best. Ideally, you will want a mixture of friends, family, and co-workers.
Step 2. Ask the following two questions
Send your top 5 the following two questions:
1. If you could describe me in 3 words, what words would you choose?
2. When have you seen me come fully alive? What was I doing?
You may not get all 5 to respond and that is okay. Let them know you are doing a personal branding exercise as you think about what your ideal work might be. Tell them not to over think it, but just put down what comes to mind.
Step 3. Form a word cloud with your answers
Once you get your feedback, I want you to go to Wordle.net. It is a word cloud generator that allows you to see all of your words in one creative picture. Any words that have been repeated will stand out bigger and bolder on your word cloud. If no one word stands out, then think about which word really connects with you. Which word excites you?
Step 4. Select your one word
It is not the end of the world if you cannot pick just one word. However, going through the challenge can bring you great clarity. My one word was “resourceful.” The more I think about that word, the more it energizes me. The reason I blog and have multiple blogs is because I want to be a possibility thinker for others. Blogging and coaching allows me to live out my one word to its fullest capacity.
I also have my word cloud hanging in a picture frame in my home office. When I feel down or even discouraged, I look at my word cloud. I feel the most energized when what I do for work engages those words.
Questions: What word or words do you come up with when doing this exercise? Are there any words that came to mind as you read the above exercise? Please share them below. I’d love to hear them.