Freelancers, Are You More Fox Or Hedgehog? Take This Quiz And Find Out by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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I’ve written on a range of topics this month, introducing you to Experfy in AI and data science, and the challenges facing HR as talent goes digital, among other stories.  It’s the end of a dreary February here in Manhattan.  In honor of the coming spring, this last article of the month is a chance for some personal reflection.  And some fun.

Do you recall Isiah Berlin’s famous distinction between the fox and the hedgehog?  His well-known essay reflected on a proverb attributed to classical Greek poet Archilochus, “the fox knows many things, but the hedgehog know one big thing.”   For Berlin, it described competing views of history, but we will take it in another direction: for our purposes, hedgehogs are people who identify strongly with a particular discipline or profession, and grow by investing in ever greater expertise.  They go deep as experts, congregate with like-minded colleagues, and tend to hold beliefs firmly.  Foxes by contrast are more eclectic and less focused on a singular view of themselves and the world.  They go broad rather than deep, have diverse interests and colleagues, tend to jump around a bit, and are convinced that there is no one best way.

As a freelancer, you know some colleagues are hedgehog-inclined, while others are more fox-like.  There is no right or better way, and no correlation with success.  But, good to know and reflect on your tendency.  So, what is the combination of hedgehog and fox attributes that describe you?  The quiz takes only a few minutes and I promise it will be eye opening.  Answer honestly and remember this is about tendencies toward one approach or the other.  Few people are “purely” hedgehog or fox in how they think and act.

For each item, is A or B more representative of your behavior?  Complete the quiz, then tally up your score.

1. When I reflect on my career, I tend to think of myself as:

a. An expert in X (fill in the blank)

b. Interested and competent in X areas (fill in the blanks)

2. I typically introduce myself to colleagues and potential clients as:

a. I’m an X (fill in the blank) e.g., data scientist

b. I’m skilled in the following X areas (fill in the blank) e.g., development, design, SEO, etc

3. My learning interests tend to be:

a. Focused on a few areas of enduring interest; I go deep

b. Scattered or widely diversified; I’m interested in a broad range of topics

4. My philosophy of career development is:

a. It’s best to “stick to your knitting” e.g., the tried and true

b. It’s best to reinvent yourself regularly

5. When I think about whether or not to take a freelance assignment or gig, I prefer:

a. Working in areas I know well, and where I feel confident

b. Working in new areas that represent more of a challenge, even when I feel nervous

6. People usually describe me as:

a. Strongly opinionated when I know a subject

b. Open to change my mind, even when I know a subject

7. If I look at my taste in clothing, my default is:

a. Stick with my style

b. Try something new, even if it’s a little outrageous

8. If I’m honest with myself, I sometimes:

a. Stick with something for too long, because I don’t enjoy change

b. Change too quickly or easily without thinking it through sufficiently

9. I learn best by:

a. Working on my own, and figuring things out for myself

b. Working with other people whom I respect, and learning from others

10. When I think about my career, I believe:

a. My area of expertise will remain relevant and important for quite a while

b. I can’t be sure how long my expertise will be relevant, so I work in several areas

11. I would say about myself that:

a. I prefer security, generally sticking with what I feel comfortable

b. I seek change and adventure, what’s new and different

12. I believe that my area(s) of expertise:

a. Has lots of room to grow; things don’t change that quickly

b. Is likely to be disrupted sooner than later; things change fast

13. People sometimes criticize me for:

a. Sticking with a position, even when the data don’t support it

b. Changing my point of view too quickly without compelling evidence

14. When I consider new methods or technologies, I’m often:

a. A little too skeptical and cautious

b. A little too eager

15. People would say I’m:

a. Not great with feedback; I resist criticism that conflicts with my view of yourself

b. Too eager to accept feedback that might not be accurate

16. I tend to approach problem solving by:

a. Using tried and true methods that are familiar and comfortable

b. I apply different methods depending on the situation

17. If there’s one thing I’d like to change about myself, it’s that:

a. I’d like to be a little more flexible

b. I’d like to stick with things a little longer before changing

18. Colleagues tend to describe me as:

a. Careful in new situations or with new people

b. A person that comfortably jumps right into new situations or with new people

19. When I think about my work:

a. It’s central to who I am and really defines me

b. It’s important to me, but its only one part of me

20. I often come across to others as:

a. Someone who likes to complete one thing before I go on to the next

b. A committed multi-tasker who likes to keep several balls in the air

(A) responses are more hedgehog like and (B) responses are more fox like.  Count up the number of (a) and (b) answers and see what pattern emerges.  One way to work with the results of the quiz is to ask yourself:

·      What is one response that pleases me, and helps me be a successful freelancer?

·      What is one response that concerns me, and may interfere with my success as a freelancer?

·      What is one response that surprises me, and I need to understand it?

I hope you enjoy the quiz and find the results of value.  Write to me and let me know about your experience.

February 28, 2019 at 12:00PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs