What are you good at? I mean REALLY good at?
An awareness of your strengths will help you to find or develop the right career path for you.
Strengths are ways of being and behaving that come easily to you, that tend to energise you, and that you enjoy. According to some theorists, strengths are a combination of your talents and skills.
Talents are innate. You will probably have displayed them from an early age, in different contexts.
Skills are learned competencies. They are things that you can do; that you have practiced and become good at, to a greater or lesser degree.
The power point is where the two overlap. As we go through life we develop a range of specialist and transferable skills that help us in our working lives, and allow us to take on increasingly challenging roles. But it is when we develop skills in our areas of natural strength that we can really shine. The right job or career for you is one where you can draw on your strengths most of the time. Not only will this make your working life more enjoyable, but will offer you greater potential for excellence and advancement.
So for example your skill-set might include research skills and writing skills, but what really energises you is when you combine this with a talent for engaging with others. As a result, a real strength might be working collaboratively to come up with creative ideas and concepts and then pull these together into a strategic plan.
You might not always recognise your natural strengths as such, because they come so naturally to you. For example, do you find it easy to understanding how other people are feeling and to imagine yourself in their shoes? Do you thrive on taking charge of a situation and align others with the direction that you want to take. Are you naturally energised by competition and the chance to “win”? Do you find it easy to build and maintain deep relationships?
To identify your strengths, start by asking yourself some of the following questions:
And ask others that you know, personally or professionally, to give their views too.
When you honour your innate talents, and add in the life experience, knowledge and learned skills that make you unique, finding the right career path becomes a lot easier.
If you would like to find out more, the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 describes a robust strengths model based on extensive research from the Gallop organisation. And the book includes an access code for an online diagnostic, to identify your top 5 strengths.
And if you would value some impartial support with finding your career path, find out how I can help.
Image courtesy of Colleen McMahon/Flickr