How well do you know yourself?

Let me tell you a story. A few years ago a good friend (and fellow biz owner) and I decided to collaborate on a project. We both worked hard on this, but at the end of the project we both felt the other person hadn't done exactly what we had expected of them. You can imagine, being friends, this was a slightly #awks situation, but instead of shoving it under an imaginary carpet, we chose to confront it over breakfast in a city cafe.

As awkward as it was, as we both divulged our opinion on what had happened, we realised just how different we are in terms of the way we approach, analyse and review situations. While we have great respect for one another, we approach things differently due to our personalities. My friend was a ENTP and I at the time was an INFJ. What are these acronyms? They're identifiers of different personality traits that can explain why one person may think an action is completely reasonable, and another thinks it's anything but.

As much as we may think everyone should think like we do (because it's the "right way" isn't it?!?) the reality is it takes different strokes to move the world. Our personalities, our values, our education and the way we are raised all have a huge impact on what we expect within a relationship (including a business one).  So, how do you figure this stuff out BEFORE you collaborate with someone?It starts by taking some time to understand yourself. Do you know what you value? Could you list the top three values you live life by in 10 seconds? If not, try downloading this free values list, circling the top 10, then narrowing this down to your top three.

Next, spend 15 minutes taking a personality test. The personality types above are taken from the 16 Personalities test which has draws its inspiration from both Carl Gustuv Jung's theory of psychological types, as well as Katharine Cooks-Briggs' co-authored Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. But regardless of which tool you use— 16 Personalities, Myers-Briggs or the most popular at the moment, the Enneagram — taking some time to consider what you value and what type of personality you possess is crucial for understanding how you best work alongside your staff, consultants and collaborators, as well as who may be a great fit for future partnerships.

To quote one of my fave songs from the 1990s, 'if everybody looked the same we'd get tired of looking at each other'. Likewise, if everyone operated according to the values you believe to be true or had the exact same personality type, things would quickly get stale and boring. My friend and I may have different personality types, but by acknowledging that we have been able to create a solid partnership for working that complements each other's traits and leaves us both feeling fulfilled.

Fiona Killackey