Try This 2-Step Exercise in Discovery


A few summers ago I travelled with my mom to St. John’s, Newfoundland. It was for the CCAE (the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education) Conference. While I spent many of the days wandering through the charming town and jogging the narrow pathways cutting across the cliff side, my mom attended the sessions and joined me in sampling the finest East Coast breweries in the evenings. A perfect vacay (imo).

On the final day, I was able to join in for the conference’s Keynote session withJessica Holmes, famously known for being a cast member on The Royal Canadian Air Farce on CBC. Not only is Jessica extremely talented and funny, she’s also a gifted speaker and had us all enthralled with her personal tales of success during the time she spoke.

There was one particular exercise she asked us to do that stood out most for me and that I still tell people to try to this day. I want to share it with you.

Start by writing down the names of the three people you care about most.
Next to each of their names, write down the one quality you love most about them.

Once you’ve done that, scroll down.


A little further…


Ok great… stop.

When the room had completed this task, Jessica began to explain the significance.

“Each of the characteristics that you love most in the people you care about is actually one of your top traits,” she said. She explained that what we love most in others is what we try to apply most in ourselves.

I looked at mine. The three traits that best explained me were: humour, sanity and kindness. Ha! Sanity is what I get from my mom.

Try this exercise. It’s fun and gives you some insight into self-perception – something you may not have gathered from other self-discovery exercises. I still use it to this day when people ask me to describe myself. As hard as it is to talk about what you are best at, this approach always seems to work.

Melanie Reiffenstein is a specialist in brand experience. Follow her on Twitter@MelanieReiff or leave a comment!

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: