I believe the most important piece to figuring out your ideal career is to know yourself.
It truly made all the difference for me.
But what exactly do you need to know about yourself?
Most people -and this is a common mistake- base their career choices solely on their skills.
It seems the logical thing to do, right?
But it’s not your skills that matter when meaning and fulfillment are your goals. Instead, you need to know how you are naturally wired: or in other words, you need to be crystal clear about what your strengths are.
Skills vs Strengths
The dictionary defines a skill as a knowledge and ability that enables you to do something like a sport, game or job very well.
We’ve all acquired skills that don’t match our natural talents. Those skills allow you to perform certain tasks, and probably you do them well, but you don’t find them fulfilling.
You can be skilled at something that doesn’t make you happy.
Your life circumstances led you to learn and develop a certain kind of skills. You had to do it because for whatever reason you couldn’t delegate them. And now it’s part of your toolbox. You can do it again if you need it, but doing it doesn’t feel good.
How to differentiate skills from strengths.
I remember 20 years ago when my parents were running a cafeteria. Instead of having an accountant, I was the one crunching the numbers and doing all the paperwork for tax return.
At that time, still at the University, earning the money that would have gone to the accountant otherwise was a great deal for me. But it always felt like a chore; every single time I did it. And I always ended up really exhausted.
I had the skills, but lacked the joy for it.
Why your strengths matter.
The dictionary defines a strength as a quality or ability which is thought to be an advantage.
You know it’s just a skill and not a strength when you are happy to stop doing that.
But I like best what Marcus Buckingham says: “your strengths are those activities that leave you strong”.
Now I spend a great deal of my time writing.
I enjoy it. And I miss it when I don’t.
The big difference is I’ve always had a natural talent for communication – which I don’t for detailed work with numbers.
I enjoy sharing ideas, putting my thoughts on paper and in a good day I can finish an article pretty quickly, even though english is not my primary language.
I know this is a natural talent because I can track it back in time. (I was able to speak since very little) plus I enjoy doing it.
The more I write and speak, the better I get at it; and by doing so I’m turning this talent into a strength.
When I finally discovered what my natural talents and strengths were, my career frustration made so much sense!
As a Building Engineer I was using the skills I had worked so hard to acquire: supervising the construction process, creating budgets, verifying the quality of the materials…
But at the same time, I was neglecting my natural talents -my communication abilities, my capacity to motivate people and see the potential in them- even though they are the very key to my career fulfillment.
I’m giving the final touches to the “Your Personal Map to Meaning” Quiz designed to help you gain the a better understanding of who you truly are.
Do you want to be notified once it’s ready? Then fill up this form below and I’ll make sure you get access to it a soon as it’s released.
So what about you,
What skills are you using that feel like a total chore?
Let’s keep the conversation below. Doesn’t it feel great to finally admit it?
P.S. Would like to know what meaningful work looks like for you? Get in this early notification list to get my soon-to-be-released Your Personal Map to Meaning Quiz for FREE?
Be the first to get this quiz by filling this form below: