In order to develop a career that really suits you, it’s important to have a basic knowledge of your key strengths. Unlike skills or knowledge you can acquire through education and training, your strengths are more intrinsic to your unique DNA. For the most part you were born with them and they come natural to us. You can certainly continue to develop new skills, but in the area of your strengths you have an unfair advantage. If you are smart, you will leverage your strengths.
Your strengths are things that come naturally and easily to you. Your brain has neural networks wired with these strengths which can allow your genius and greatness to emerge. You couldn’t really teach someone to be as good as you are unless they’re predisposed to have a strength in that area.
Assess your Strengths
There are serveral tests you can take to help assess your personal strengths. The one I recommend most is the Strengths Finder Test, which can be accessed online with a key from the book called Strengths Finder 2.0. This questionnaire will help you identify your top strengths with an emphasis on career-related abilities.
I took this test and here are my top 5 strengths. The results for my top 5 strengths were, in order:
Spirituality: sense of purpose and faith You have strong and coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe. You know where you fit in the larger scheme. Your beliefs shape your actions and are a source of comfort to you.
Perspective (wisdom) :Although you may not think of yourself as wise, your friends hold this view of you. They value your perspective on matters and turn to you for advice. You have a way of looking at the world that makes sense to others and to yourself.
Industry, diligence, and perseverance: You work hard to finish what you start. No matter the project, you “get it out the door” in timely fashion. You do not get distracted when you work, and you take satisfaction in completing tasks.
Curiosity and interest in the world: You are curious about everything. You are always asking questions, and you find all subjects and topics fascinating. You like exploration and discovery.
Honesty, authenticity, and genuineness: You are an honest person, not only by speaking the truth but by living your life in a genuine and authentic way. You are down to earth and without pretense; you are a “real” person.
If anyone of you know me personally, these top five strengths are accurately reflect who I am. It is always good to review your strengths and reflect on them.
Understand your Strengths
Once you assess your strengths, it’s important to understand what they mean on a practical a way. What kinds of tasks are well-suited to you? You will find that often your strengths can create great frustration. Currently, I am working with a young man with a leadership gift. When he works in an environment where there is a leadership vacuum, he will either take charge or really get frustrated. Some our strengths can act like weaknesses to us.
It is important that you can see your strengths at work and that you can articulate them. With this understanding you will be able to make better choices about your career and understand why you may feel frustrated in different situations.
Apply your Strengths
You’ll be happiest working in a career that allows you to take advantage of your strengths on a daily basis. This will enable you to make a significant contribution to your field. You will be able to develop excellence in the area of your strength.
Based on my strengths, an ideal career for me would be one that leverages my spirituality and wisdom in helping people find meaning in their personal and professional lives. My love for knowledge, and my strong drive to complete projects adds a project and learning orientation. I would be great in a profession where I can communicate my knowledge, help people find meaning their lives, and accomplish significant projects. Jobs that might be best suited for me might include a teacher, manager, coach, writer, author or spiritual leader.
I suggest you take at least one assessment test to gain clarity about your natural strengths. With greater clarity you will be able fine tune your career focus. Working from your strengths will help you:
- be far more productive
- get better results,
- contribute more value
- attract higher compensation
- enjoy your work and it will be more meaningful
- experience greater fulfillment and sanctification
So take action and take a Strength Finder test and share it with someone today!
Are you passionate about your profession and the work that you do? Or have you been marginalized by your environment?
So what is passion anyway? According to my personal experience and research, passion is the desire and drive to use your energy and focus to achieve something.
Everyone has a passion or passions in life. It is a part of your unique DNA and identity. It emerges from many factors including your internal motivations, experiences, preferences, disposition, values, skills and talents. Some people discover it when they are young and others find it later in life. Usually there are telling signs along the journey of life that point to your passion.
Though some people never develop the self awareness or experiences to find their passion, one thing is certain: once found, passion is powerful. When it is alive and working, it is like a force of nature that enables you to overcome great obstacles and set backs. It acts as the backbone in your will to achieve.
Did you ever wonder why you are attracted to some people. It could because there is a pull from within to connect with your passion so you achieve greatness. You may have connections in your social networks that you might consider weak links. If you explore those connections and build them, you find a support network that can help you develop and harness the power and creativity that can flow from your passion. Your social networks can become the ecosystem that create great growth.
Where you work could be influencing your passion factor. In 2009, Hagel, Brown and Davison (The Power of Pull) did a survey called the Shift Index. They found that workers in small companies were 60% more likely to be passionate about their work. What was more interesting is that people who were self employed were twice as likely to passionate about their profession. Larger companies seemed to marginalize their workers and employees seemed to be frustrated with their bosses. This makes sense because often in larger companies people have jobs with narrowing scope which can be a limitation. So when you are making a career choice, it is not just about the pay and benefits. Consider your environment, the people, the companies pursuits, size, and values and see if you connect with them.
We use this question to find the threads that can point to your passion(s) and motivation for greatness in life. Take a few minutes and answer these questions and share them with a friend. Ask them to summerize the common themes and see what you learn about yourself.
Answer the following question about three time periods in your life. It could when you were a child, in high school or college, and where you are right now.
What did you enjoy doing or accomplishing? Explain why you enjoyed it.
Answer this question for those time periods, review it with a friend and get feedback to extract common themes. I call these common ideas interwoven into your behavior “threads”.