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How Personal Assessments Can Help You

As humans, we do a pretty bad job in assessing ourselves. We often tend to misread our strengths, weaknesses, and how we can have healthy relationships and become better leaders and people. Self-awareness is very hard to master. As a result, it can be very difficult to assess the best path forward for our own personal development. Our question for a long time has been how can an unbiased personal assessment help us become more self-aware, grow and unleash your full potential?

HOWto.LIVEit Founder & CEO Ana Kertesz is joined on this episode by the incredible Life, Executive & Leadership coach Benis Reffkin, who combines real life experience in the corporate & entrepreneurship worlds with a very solid education background. Benis has worked as an executive recruiter, at Goldman Sachs Institute for Personal Leadership and as an advisor and sounding board to her husband Robert Reffkin, the founder of multi-billion dollar real estate business Compass. Benis educational background includes a BA in Psychology from NYU, an MBA from Columbia Business School, Columbia University’s Coaching Certificate Program, and she is a certified administrator of the NBI™ General Adult Assessment for thinking preferences and styles assessment. Get Benis’ expert profile here.

Whether you are feeling stuck, or looking for ways to have a better path towards your goals and who you want to be, this conversation will leave you inspired and ready for action.

Hi, I’m Ana Kertesz and this is HOWto.LIVEit. Today we’re going to talk about why personal assessments can be valuable to you. And here’s a very hard truth: as humans we do a very bad job in assessing ourselves. We cannot assess our strengths or weaknesses and that leads us to not unleash our full potential. I’m here with my friend and incredible Life, Executive and Career Coach Benis Reffkin, who combines a very strong educational background with real life experience in the corporate, and entrapreneurship world and we’re going to talk about why personal assessments can be a very valuable tool. Thank you, Ana. Thank you for being here, this is fun! So Benis let’s talk about self-awareness. Why is it so hard and how can personal assessments serve as a valuable tool to help us learn more about ourselves? Definitely. So, in my work as a coach, what I found is that often people have a disconnect with how they see themselves and how others perceive them and they have goals and they have intentions and they go about the world trying to make these things happen for themselves and often they’re they kind of find themselves hitting up against a wall because they’re not being perceived or their words aren’t landing the way that they’re hoping for. And so the journey for self awareness is really about that. How can you know yourself better so that you can develop the skills, the language to let people know. Well, these are kind of my tendencies and this is how I think and how I approach different topics. And so in that effort then they can hopefully connect the dots and they can meet the people they trying to work with really on the same page. Okay, I love that. One of the things that I have observed and I’m a very strong, let’s say, preacher of giving and receiving feedback. But we often tend to assume that the feedback we get leads us to think about our strengths and weaknesses, but obviously feedback is a biased view of ourselves, right? Someone else giving us feedback is a biased impression. And one of the things I have liked, you know through the cycles I’ve taken of personal assessments, is that they give us an unbiased view. How effective do you think personal assessments are in really offering an unbiased view of who we are, our skills, our strengths and our thinking preferences? The way to think about assessments are really they’re just tools. There’s no perfect answer. Our brains are way too complex to ever really get to the true essence of who we are but they do do a good job of trying to chip away at some of that complexity and give you again, it’s about having the language to be able to understand yourself. And so what I often talk tell clients is to take the assessment when you’re answering questions of the assessment asked you the survey try to really be honest with yourself when you’re answering those questions. A lot of the times assessments that don’t seem to do a good job is because there wasn’t good inputs. It’s all about inputs and then hopefully great outputs. But if you if you’ve done that and still don’t feel like it’s correct or right, at the end of the day you take it with a grain of salt and you use what’s useful to you. There’s always something that you can use and a lot of the times it’s how you interpret the results. You don’t have to take them at face value. But if you try to be critical and reflect on how some of these things play out in your life and your work with working with others, you might start to see some insight and that again, it’s just a it’s a journey and it’s a tool to help you get closer to greater self-awareness. Can you give us maybe one real life example in which you think using some type of assessment and I know you have a few that you use, that you really thought that helped the person become more self-aware in terms of their talents or their strengths or the weaknesses or even how to use that to really unleash their full potential? So, I have one client who wanted to work with coaching. She felt that she was somehow missing out on kind of the relationship building that she was doing and we did that in assessment called the NBI Neethling Brain Instrument that tells you what your preferences are in your work style and you’re thinking. Through that assessment, we were able to find out that she has this tendency when it comes to relationships to be more social than empathetic. By that I mean she spends more of her time trying to connect with lots of people on a superficial level rather than really spending time thinking about how to connect with fewer people on a deeper level. She would throw all these parties with a hundred people. She worked the room and she feel like it was a success but at the end of the night if you asked her like did you really get to know anybody tonight? You know, she would have to have a hard time answering that question. And so this tool really helped her to see you like, oh, this is just a natural preference I have because it’s fun to kind of work the room and have a lot of people over but if I really want to develop stronger relationships for my business, I need to kind of start to get deeper than the superficial and smaller dinner might help achieve that. Interesting. Something else you shared about feedback. I think it’s really important because the journey for self-awareness is something that we should all be working at all times and tools and assessments are great. But feedback is actually probably the biggest thing. I spoke about how so many people have this disconnect with how others perceive them and how they perceive themselves, but if they’re not intentional and deliberate about getting feedback from others, they are going to struggle to really see what that disconnect is. And in those conversations where they’re getting feedback from someone and someone is really explaining why their intentions didn’t land the way they hoped. That’s where they learn, okay, you know, this is now I’m starting to see what’s that difference and where maybe I can make a change. Yeah. And what I often tell clients is feedback is a gift. It’s something that is so painful to go through. I remember my first job out of college and I have this great boss who was really good at giving me feedback and it was hard. You know, all I wanted was to be perfect. Yeah. I need to just do a great job and for me to go in there and him to see thank you. You’ve done a great job. If he would have done that, I would not have grown I would not have developed. If he didn’t say well, Benis, you know, you did this really, well. I see that you really really tried hard, but you really didn’t spend enough time thinking about this, and you know, imagine if you you know took the time to you know, look at this and that and it just became this iterative process where I’m chipping away at myself with like, okay, I have something to work on now. I left his office and now for the next month or two, I’m working on something to improve. And so that’s what I try to tell people. It’s like, you know, if you kind of remove that emotional ties, you have to take it personally and feeling like you were insulted or and focus more on the gift you’re getting, that this is the really the best way for personal growth. Then you you know, it’s exciting. It’s an opportunity. Every meeting with your boss, you know isn’t about me wanting proof. Yes. What do I do? What can I do better like, you know, and it doesn’t have to be negative. It’s not what I’m doing wrong. But what can I do better? I think one of the points that has become very clear to me after I transitioned from, you know, different careers and I decided to start my own business is that we have to all of us in any point in our lives have to take ownership of our growth. This is something that we own and using you know, tools whatever it is that you know allows us to take really take ownership and say you know what? This is my journey. I’m going to own it and I’m going to make it the best I can and this is it. I think this is the best. You feel this sense of sort of authority over your own journey and this is It’s not easy right? It’s hard. You’ll have to accept your flaws and you have to really learn who you are and it’s kind of scary sometimes to say. Okay, this is who I am, but I think we once you take ownership, then you just go for it, right? And then you plan around it. It’s like you know what? I am terrible. I’m not into you know analysis and numbers. I you know, I just want to be out there meeting people and I’m selling and you know, yeah, okay. Okay, don’t focus on what you’re not good at. Now, you know you’ve done assessments you’re like, okay, this is not a strength for me. But now as you build your team, you build for that and say I’m going to complement myself with people around me and just give everyone around you that power to feel like they’re bringing something to the table that you don’t and they’re valuable and you focus on what you bring. Great. Thank you, Benis. We had Benis Reffkin with us today at HOWto.LIVEit. Thank you for joining our Family And we spoke about why personal assessments can be a valuable tool and how they can allow you to take a more strategic approach to your own personal and professional development and really own and unleash your full potential and go out and live it. So, thank you.