Updated: Sep 4
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! But as in most things, you do attract what you expect. If you expect to find your strengths, they’ll make themselves known. Everyone has natural abilities, including you!
Assess Your Strengths
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 like 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, deal 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 accounting of your abilities, so start as soon as possible, and have patience.
If you’re feeling stumped, check the internet. There are websites with assessments geared toward finding your career-related strengths. Or scope out your local library; they undoubtedly have at least a few of the many books available on this topic.
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 what 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 know what your strengths are, though, 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. A great increase in productivity. When you're doing something that you're naturally good at, you'll accomplish a lot.
2. Much better results. The results you see at work can be spectacular when you're doing something that plays into your strengths.
3. A better income. How could you not get paid more when you’re doing something at which you excel?
4. Much more enjoyment. All the above help to make life more pleasant. Plus, you may find that using your strengths is enjoyable in itself.
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.