What are the strengths you love to use?
In my home I have a framed print of a quote written in a beautiful calligraphy. It says, “Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be silent if no birds sang except the best. – Anonymous.” What are you good at? What do you do well? If you want to be successful at your career, you need to choose one in which you get to use your strengths. Most people seeking career guidance will be told this at some point. And it’s true, partially. But there’s more to it than that. I spent years searching for the rest of the secret to unlock the door to a career that fulfilled me.
Now I’m going to share with you the secret I discovered which unlocked the door to my own career transformation. I started my career search the way most people do, I made a list of my strengths, skill, talents. When I made my list of strengths I had things on there like: organized, organizing and managing tasks, maintaining order, managing projects, managing people. Many people said to me, “You should be a project manager.” I tried that, I worked as a software project manager, a project manager of theater projects (producer). I was good at those jobs. But I didn’t love them. They left me feeling empty. I have proven to myself over and over, I don’t like managing projects. I was frustrated, thinking I was somehow cursed to be good at things I didn’t want to do.
Then the answer came. Someone observed, “Lori, those are not what you should pursue, but how you approach things. Those strengths describe your approach, your style. But they don’t define your career.” That was a pivotal moment for me. Immediately, I took my own list of strengths and made two new lists: Strengths I Love to Use, and How I Like to Get Things Done.
This transformed my own search for the right career for me. I needed to use the “Strengths I Like to Use” list to help me identify my career. On that list were things like: coaching, mentoring, working one on one with people, seeing people for who they are. All my project management skills were on my “How I Like to Get Things Done” list. When I began to search for work, the “How I Like to Get Things Done” list define my unique style and approach to getting things done. They have value, but they were not the list to define what I should do. Once I learned this, I felt like I found the key to unearthing my worth, and was able to really begin my own career transformation.
One of my clients, Bob, suffered a similar frustration. His list of strengths led him to a career in sales, and he was quite successful. And he grew to hate it. By the time he came to me, all he knew was that he was good at sales, and didn’t want to do it any longer. When we reviewed his list of strengths, his first response was a very sad, “Isn’t there something else I can do, other than sales?”
When I had Bob create his two new lists for himself, he began to see what he wanted to do was manage, or even teach. He began to spark, and get excited about the possibilities for himself. As we reviewed his work history, we found moments throughout his career where he used the strengths he loved on the job, where he managed and taught others. He saw that a transition to new career was within reach. Today, Bob manages sales teams and teaches and mentors junior sales staff. He is very happy in his new career, and glad that he was able to leverage his work experience to get there.
What are your talents? Your strengths? Make a list right now, of your strengths, skills, talents. Include the things people have told you, as well as things you have observed for yourself. Then take this list of strengths and use it to create 2 new lists: 1) strengths you love to use and 2) how you like to get things done. This is the secret of Stage 1: Unearth in the Unearth Your Worth™ process to Career Transformation.
How does this change the way you look at your career? Share it with me on my blog below.