Aligning a Career with Your Strengths
To find the career you were made for, you must first develop a basic understanding of your core strengths. We’re not talking about knowledge or skills; those are things you’ve learned and practiced along the way. Think of strengths as part of what makes you, well… you. These are the natural attributes that give you a significant advantage over the competition.
If your immediate reaction is, “I’m not particularly good at anything.” – perish the thought! Nothing could be further from the truth. But the law of attraction applies: expect to find your strengths, and they will certainly make themselves known. Everyone is born with different innate gifts, and you are no exception.
Assess Your Strengths
What is it that you can do better than the vast majority of the population? These may be things you can do in your head, like mathematical skills or processing large amounts of data. Maybe you have a talent for organization, be it events, schedules, or spaces. Or perhaps you have an unusual ability to make friends, care for children, influence consumers, or lead others.
Try to keep your mind open to the many things that you excel at. You are better at something – even if it is just one thing – than nearly anyone you know. Start writing them down. Over the next week, jot down your strengths on a list as they come to you. It might take a little time to catalog them all, so strive to be both patient and thorough.
Need some inspiration? Consult the internet! A simple search will yield a wealth of online self-assessments geared toward finding strengths and narrowing down appropriate career choices. You can also check out your local library; they undoubtedly have at least some of the many books available on this topic.
Great! You made a list, and now you have a very clear picture of what you are good at. That should be a nice confidence booster in and of itself. Now let’s look at the next steps for assessing a career choice.
Consider the jobs you’ve had in the last five to ten years and ask yourself what tasks came naturally to you. Which ones did you struggle with? In previous positions, were you able to spend most of your time on projects you were good at, or did you feel like your strengths weren’t utilized to their full advantage?
It’s a well-known secret that when you get to do work every day that speaks to your strengths, a greater sense of fulfillment naturally follows. The opposite is also true. Work feels a lot more like work when you’re tasked with doing things you struggle with.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” — Audre Lorde
Now it’s time to take all those strengths and seek out a career that will put them to good use. It may mean a shift in the type of role you take on, a change in industry or even some training or certifications to get you started on your new path. However you get there, you’ll know you’re on the right track when you begin to experience:
- Increased productivity: The days fly by, but you get more accomplished when you’re doing something you’re naturally good at.
- Better results: By playing to your strengths, you’ll not just get more done – you’ll do it better.
- Higher wages: How could you not get paid more when you’re doing the thing you do best?
- More enjoyment: All the above help to make life more pleasant. Plus, most people find that using their strengths is enjoyable in itself.
- Deeper fulfillment: We all feel a greater sense of satisfaction when we provide value to the world and experience success every day.
With all of these rewards waiting for you in the right job, don’t let another day pass without seeking it out! Once you find the right career that lets your strengths shine, you’ll be on your way to the rich and fulfilling life you dream of.
And if you’re ready to go on a deeper journey of self-discovery to unlock your strengths and propel your career forward, let’s talk!
Lisa L. Baker is a professional life coach, career strategist, and keynote speaker. Lisa is the founder of Ascentim – a Maryland-based coaching practice that utilizes a unique G.R.O.W. process to help clients gain clarity, realize new possibilities, overcome obstacles, and win at life. Lisa shows high-performing professionals how to Level Up and Live the Life of Their Dreams.