Discover Your Strengths to Find the Right Career for You
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
To have a career that really fits you, you must first understand your strengths. We're not talking about knowledge or skills; those are things you've learned and developed. Think of strengths as natural attributes that give you a significant advantage over the average person.
Your immediate response might be, "I'm not particularly good at anything." Nothing could be further from the truth! It may take some time, self-reflection and exploration but you can definitely find them. Everyone has natural abilities, including you!
Take a few minutes now and think about the things you can do better than at least 90% of the population. These may be mental things such as mathematical skills or processing large amounts of information quickly. Maybe you have a talent for organization. Or perhaps you have an unusual ability to make friends, communicate with children, influence people, or lead others.
Keep an open mind. You are better at something, even if just one thing, than nearly anyone you know. Starting today, allow yourself about a week to list the attributes that pop into your mind. It might take a little time to get a complete tally of your abilities, so start as soon as possible, and have patience.
If you’re feeling stumped, go online. Here are some websites with free career assessments that you may find helpful:
Now you’ve taken a week or so to assess your strengths. You have a clear picture of what they are, but how can you use them in your career?
Looking at jobs you’ve had in the last five to ten years, ask yourself what tasks you’re naturally good at. Also, consider which tasks cause you to struggle. Do you have a sense that you were able to mostly take on projects that you were good at? Or did you feel relegated to tasks that didn’t use your strengths? Naturally, you'll feel a much greater sense of fulfillment if your career allows you to utilize your strengths on a daily basis. And you’ll probably struggle and feel unhappy in a job that requires a lot of time to be spent on your weaknesses.
Now that you have identified your strengths you can start your search for a career that will allow you to use them.
You’ll know that you’re in a job that uses your strengths when you begin to see the following:
1. An increase in productivity. When you're doing something that you're naturally good at and enjoy you'll accomplish a lot.
2. Much better results. The results you see at work can be spectacular when you're doing something that aligns with your strengths.
3. A better income. How could you not get paid more when you’re doing something at which you excel?
4. More enjoyment. All the above help to make life more pleasant. Plus, you may find that using your strengths each day makes your day go by quickly and happily.
5. A greater sense of fulfillment. We all feel better when we're providing more value to the world and experiencing success every day.
With all of these rewards waiting for you in the right job, you won’t want to let another day pass without looking for it! Find a career that allows you to use your strengths daily, and you’ll be on your way to the rich and fulfilling life you’ve been dreaming about.