In order to thrive in the yoga industry (or any field), it’s essential to know your strengths. It’s from this understanding of your unique interests that your natural talents can shine. You can get energized by your work–not drained from it. Rather than negative client interactions, you discover positive ones. And instead of accomplishing less, you actually achieve more! Simply start by using any one of the simple personality assessments in this post to amplify your success.
I’ve always been a fan of self-study. In fact, long before I hit my yoga mat and learned about the practice of Svadhyaya, I was an avid journaler. I’d write daily about my experiences. I would document my emotional landscape, my dreams for the future, and my insights about the Spiritual world (of which I’ve always been super interested).
One of my favorite places to write was in the bed of my pick-up truck just before sunset. I’d unfold my beach chair. Grab my snacks. Unpack my notebook and write until the words stopped flowing or the sun dipped below the horizon–whichever happened first.
This process of self-reflection taught me a lot about my own habits. I learned to build on the strengths and skills that were clearly evident in my life–like writing and strategic thinking. And those shortcomings that came into view (such as getting bored when projects take too long) also helped me to seek support and wisdom from others.
The bottom line is that once I understood my natural way of thinking and behaving, I had more clarity on how to spend my time and energy. This has made me far more efficient and successful than I could have imagined. And, I know it can do the same for you!!
Photo Credit: Ember and Earth
NATURAL TALENTS AND SUCCESS
The act of writing satisfies my creative mind. Yet I also love math because numbers interact with one another to create concrete answers. For this reason, I’ll share with you this simple equation from Don Clifton’s strengths-based psychology.
TALENT refers to the way you think, feel, and behave in the world. As business guru Peter Drucker says, “Most people think they know what they are good at. They’re usually wrong … and yet, a person can only perform from strength.” Instead of guessing or assuming your raw talents, learn about them. My suggestion is to use one or two of the assessments below to increase your self-knowledge.
Then, instead of wasting time to become what you’re not, you can INVEST your energy into practicing the right skills. Said another way, you can turn your talents into real strengths with ongoing learning and dedication. This will leverage your raw ability and help multiply your success.
The end result? You have the ability to consistently perform at a high level. This is the root of STRENGTH. This is the essence of success–both in running your yoga business and shining bright in all areas of your life.
Photo Credit: Diane Nicole Photography
ENHANCE YOUR PERSONALITY
Personality assessments are perhaps the most common way to identify and enhance your natural talents. The frontrunner of these is the Myers-Briggs Assessment. This is also known as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
Based on the work of Carl Jung, the Myers-Briggs theory believes you are born with four of eight basic personality traits. In the first half of life, you strengthen these preferred traits to establish a strong personality. The idea is that in the latter half of life you also enhance the weaker areas of ourselves to become more balanced and whole.
These eight basic personality traits are presented in pairs. You either:
- Are more external (E = extroverted) in the world, or more internal (I = introverted).
- Prefer to take information in via your five senses (S=sensates) or through your intuition (N=intuitives)
- Use logic and analysis to make decisions (T=thinkers) or filter all information through values and feelings (F=feelers) before coming to a conclusion
- Organize your life in a structured way (J=judgers) or prefer flexibility and spontaneity in experiences (P=Perceivers).
Then, out of these four basic preferences, you discover which one of the 16 personality types suits you best.
Take the Myers-Briggs Personality Test:
If you did a Google search right now for this test, there are lots of free options. However, for the best results, I actually do suggest you go straight to the source for your MBTI assessment.
BUILD ON YOUR CLIFTON STRENGTHS
As you know, we live in a talent-driven society. Unfortunately, this same society is obsessed with overcoming deficits. People want you to fix what’s wrong instead of focus on what’s right. Don Clifton set out to change this.
In 1998, Clifton assembled a team of scientists to develop a common language for talent. He wanted you to have specific terms for what you do well in life. After thousands of talent-based interviews, Clifton’s team found that there are common themes of talent.
There are 34 of them, in fact, and some examples of them are as follows:
- Activators are those who take action decisively and are willing to learn through action.
- Communicators: This theme is found in those who love to take ideas and bring them to life.
- An includer is someone who wants to continually expand the circle wider–bringing people into a group so that positive influence and impact can be experienced by many.
- The Strategic theme is when you are able to sort through the clutter and find the best possible route.
What are your Clifton Strengths?
The Clifton Strengths assessment can be taken online and requires 30 minutes of your time. I love that by the time you’re done, you receive the TOP 5 talent themes unique to you. Some of mine even surprised me! PLUS, you get numerous ideas for action that you can take right now to increase your strengths in these areas. A simple version of the test costs $19.99 and an in-depth assessment costs $49.99.
The Best way to Take the Test
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If you buy the Clifton Strengths book online for $14.59, you can take the full assessment for free! As a bonus, the book explains your natural talents in detail. It also provides sample stories of others who share your same strengths and indicates other themes you might want to collaborate with to further increase your success.
KNOW YOUR NUMBER ON THE ENNEAGRAM
The Enneagram (pronounced ANY-a-gram) is a study of the 9 basic types of people. Originally, this system was believed to be taught by the Sufi brotherhoods in the middle-east. Then, mystical Russian teacher G.I. Gurdjieff introduced it in Europe in the 1920’s and it arrived in the United States in the 1960’s.
‘Ennea’ is the Greek number for nine, and ‘gram’ is a drawing. Thus the enneagram is a drawing with nine points that explains your own patterns of behavior. It’s a system that helps you answer the question, “Who am I?” and it uncovers the root of your desires, motivations, and fears. Once you gain this depth of self-knowledge, you can move towards the experience of a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
There are nine core personality types in the Enneagram:
- The Reformer/Improver/Perfectionist is someone realistic and conscientious–following high standards of behavior and try to always create a better world.
- Helpers are warm and nurturing people who are always sensitive to the needs of others.
- Threes are Motivators. Also known as achievers, these individuals are energetic and optimistic and very goal-oriented.
- Romantics or individualists come from the heart as well, and have a strong need to express themselves and be original.
- The Investigators are introverted and curious. They are also analytical, curious, and insightful.
- Loyalists are responsible and trustworthy. Also known as questioners, 6’s challenge the status quo.
- The Enthusiasts are adventurers. They are energetic and optimistic and often very active individuals.
- 8’s are Leaders who assert their point of view freely. They are self-confident, self-reliant, and direct.
- Peacemakers seek union with others and the world around them. This makes them the most agreeable and accommodating personality type on the enneagram.
Get your Number Now:
I find that Ian Cron has the best online Enneagram quiz for an investment of $60. Each of the resources below also has personality inventories, where you can answer questions and decide which number suits you best:
- The Enneagram Made Easy, by Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele
- Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery, by Don Richard Riso
- The Road Back to You, by Ian Morgan Cron
DISCOVER YOUR DHARMA TYPE
Dharma translates roughly as “natural destiny.” It’s also the drive to live according to the natural law of our being, and obtain our rightful purpose in the world. In the book, The 5 Dharma Types, Simon Chokoisky provides a map to help you navigate the many choices in life to experience greater happiness and prosperity. Once you know your dharma type, you’re more likely to reach your goals and avoid storms along the way that could divert your course.
The 5 Dharma Types are as follows:
- THE WARRIOR. The natural talents of this dharma type are physical strength and refined motor skills. Warriors are also generous, self-sacrificing, and team-oriented.
- EDUCATORS are those with a high intellect and insatiable curiosity. They like to teach others from a place of respect and trust.
- THE MERCHANT is symbolic of one who focused on refinement. Merchants inspire others. They are entertaining, empathetic, and enjoy meaningful rituals in life.
- THE LABORER is someone who refines their great motor skills into a trade or hobby. They love deeply and express their appreciation through service, dedication, and hard work.
- OUTSIDERS can mimic the traits of any of the other 4 types. Said another way, outsiders are adaptable. They value freedom, progress, and positive change. And, they’re often independent or stand outside of the cultural norm.
What Dharma Type are you?
I absolutely love the book, The 5 Dharma Types, because of the great self-tests that lie within it. In fact, the author Simon Chokoisky steps beyond just identifying your Dharma type. He outlines the benefits, challenges, emotional habits, learning styles, social dynamics that are also associated with each type.
Photo Credit: Madamlead
DAZZLE OTHERS WITH YOUR DOSHA
Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga and is a system used to balance your body and mind. How does it do this? Well, Ayurveda acknowledges that you have a unique blend of physical, mental, and emotional characteristics at birth. This is known as your Prakrti dosha. It’s who you are at your core. And it’s this baseline constitution that remains constant over the course of your lifetime.
Your dosha is a unique blend of the very same elements that comprise the world around you. These five elements are (1) Space/Ether, (2) Air, (3) Fire, (4) Water, and (5) Earth. Your dosha is how the way those elements are present in your body and mind. They’re all present–just in different ratios.
- VATA DOSHA: The main qualities of a Vata dosha are air and ether. This manifests as dry, light, cool, rough, subtle, and mobile sensations in the body. It can also appear as enthusiasm, imagination, and eagerness to learn in the mind,
- PITTA DOSHA is comprised mostly of fire and water. Because of Pitta’s natural inner heat, many with this constitution prefer cooler, drier climates. And while this same fiery attitude can increase your memory and focus, it can also fuel frustration and anger.
- KAPHA DOSHA is predominantly water and Earth. This causes a well-developed, sturdy bone structure in the body and a steady, calm mental outlook. Natural strength in the body and mind are also present in Kaphas.
Since both you and your environment are constantly changing, your relation to your Prakrti Dosha does too. Thus you can change your habits, diet, skin routine, and even sleep cycles to bring yourself back into balance.
What’s your Dosha?
Take the Online Dosha Quiz provided by the Chopra Center to get a quick read on your dosha. You can also discover your Ayurvedic Profile with Banyan Botanicals (just know that they also sell products to help you stay in balance).
Use these Resources to Learn More
Here are some great resources to learn more about Ayurveda and Doshas:
- Ayurveda Beginner’s Guide by Susan Weis-Bolan. This is a fantastic book if you are entirely new to the system of Ayurveda, and can help provide tips to find physical and mental harmony for your dosha.
- Modern Ayurveda, by Ali Cramer. With delicious recipes and simple home practices to highlight your natural talents, this book is a great addition to any yogi’s collection.
- Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra. What can I say? Chopra is a master of story-telling and breaking down large concepts into bite-sized, tangible pieces. Another must for your bookshelf!
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
You have a wealth of natural talents at your disposal, and you can use any of the above systems to increase your awareness of them. The next step is to build skills that align with your strengths. When you do this, you can perform at a consistently high level–both as a yoga professional and in any other areas of your life. Plus you’ll have more confidence and passion as you do!
Take Action Now:
- Choose one of the above systems and find your natural talents. We have a one-page resource guide to make this process easier for you.
- Highlight how your strengths dovetail with the work you’re doing now. Also, acknowledge if you are wasting time and energy on tasks outside of your natural talents.
- Share your results with someone who loves and supports you. That includes all of us in the Swagtail community! Please send us an email or share your findings in the comments section below!