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Johnson O’Connor: Finding Your Purpose

user profile picture Adam Taggart Nov 07, 2015
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What should I do with my life?

As existential questions go, this one's a biggie. Each of us, to varying extents, continually wrestles with answering it as we make our way in the world.

But tackling such a big question is really hard, and often overwhelming for most of us. How do we know where to start? How do we know what we truly enjoy? What we're truly good at?  What truly fulfills us?

Having solid, science-based data points to help guide us in our our exploration and decision making would sure be useful. Especially with the big decisions, like what to study in school, what type of career path to choose, and how to play to our strengths in what we do.

The good news is: there are testing services out there designed to offer such help. As many of you know, I went through a fairly radical career transition when leaving my executive job at Yahoo! to partner up with Chris and co-found Peak Prosperity. The insights I learned from these testing services were instrumental in giving me the clarity and the confidence to take such a non-traditional jump.

And no test was more valuable to me than the aptitudes test offered by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. Here's what I had to say about it in my book Finding Your Way To Your Authentic Career:

I have to spend a moment here discussing the Johnson O’Connor test. Yes, this test is significantly more expensive than the others. But in my experience, it was the single most useful test I took during my transition.

In the 1920s, Johnson O’Connor was commissioned by General Electric (GE) to develop an aptitude test that could match its employees with work for which they were innately fit.  Back then, an employee often spent their entire career at the company, and GE leadership hoped to get better performance if employee talent was better matched to its nature.

The tests O’Connor created worked extremely well. Later, in the 1930s, he created the precursor to the Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation (JOC), which has been administering and improving the tests ever since.

What I like about this approach is that it is extremely data-driven, and they have been iterating it for almost a century. Hundreds of thousands of subjects have gone through this process over the decades, enabling JOC to refine procedure to the point where the results are extremely predictive relative to competing methods.

The testing process consists of 6 hours of exercises designed to empirically score your natural ability across a number of specific skills. These exercises are wide-ranging; some are conceptual, some manual, some visual, some musical…some you have no clue at the time what they may be testing…

But after your 6 hours, you then have a 1.5 hour session with a specialist who synthesizes the output from your results.  I found this extremely helpful, as have the people who initially put this test on my radar. While the JOC folks don’t promise you’ll have an ‘epiphany moment’, your odds are pretty good here. The goal of this exit consultation is to make sure you have a rock-solid understanding of the attributes that will most determine your career success and happiness. The researchers also do their best to help you identify potential professions or industries that are well-suited to your specific profile. So you leave the experience armed with bedrock insights about yourself, along with one or more paths to go explore.

There are JOC testing facilities in many major US cities. So if you decide you want to take the exam, you should be able to find a center within driving distance.

I've been long interested in conducting a deep-dive into the Johnson O'Connor approach for the Peak Prosperity audience, and am excited to finally be able to offer one now. I think the material here is especially worthwhile for parents of teens, college students, those considering making a career change, and folks approaching retirement.

Click the play button below to listen to my interview with Steve Greene of the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation (43m:18s):

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