If you want to find a career you love, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of your strengths. Your strengths will lead you to what you excel at—and likely let you know what you’re passionate about. But identifying what you’re good at is harder than it seems. So, below are seven essential tips for identifying your strengths.
1. Ask yourself which skills have helped you in the past
Consider your previous employment, volunteer, and educational experiences. Were there any tasks that you excelled at and liked the most? Next, consider the challenges that you needed to face. Which ones did you overcome that made you feel the most successful or won you recognition? If the obstacles or talents have a common thread, consider pursuing them and finding a position that requires those skills. For example, if you get a lot of energy from working with people and are a natural leader, search for roles and careers where you can use your leadership skills.
2. Ask others for feedback
Asking people you love, trust, and respect what they believe you're good at is an excellent approach to learning more about yourself. They might be family members, teachers, career counselors, or others you know and value. They will likely be able to tell you about your abilities and strengths, and could suggest things you never thought about or things you forgot you liked or were good at.
3. Think about what made you stand out as a child
It's likely that you'll uncover a natural skill when you reflect on your early passions. For example, maybe you liked writing stories as a kid, or you loved history or geography out of passion. Whatever the case may be, once you uncover your former passions and interests, it could lead you to uncover what you're (still) good at, and your career options will likely expand.
4. Determine what makes you feel good about yourself
Strengths scream for attention in the most fundamental way. And when you use them, you feel strong. Therefore, remember the moments when you felt energized, curious, and accomplished. These instances can reveal your strengths. At the same time, consider your go-to task when you're feeling overwhelmed. When you're having difficulties, you want to feel in control. To be in control, do what makes you feel powerful. When you do what makes you feel powerful, you discover what you are good at!
5. Ask yourself what comes naturally to you
People are good at what they enjoy. Consider your hobbies and see whether they might lead to actual talents. If you enjoy writing, you might have above-average writing abilities. If you enjoy mathematics, numbers might make more sense than other people. At the same time, keep an open mind. You might think that something that comes naturally to you must come naturally to everyone, but often this is not the case.
6. Know what you don’t know and try out new things
Experiment with different hobbies and abilities to find out what you like and are good at. Make a list of things that interest you and try to explore a few of them. Your most extraordinary skills might be in something you've never had the chance to consider. And give everything you try a bit of time. Don't give up on something you're not in love with on the first try. Practice a little, then improve and make it a habit. And if it still doesn't seem natural once you improve, it's most likely not for you.
7. Seek career counseling
Of course, there's always the option of speaking with someone who knows a thing or two about finding people’s strengths. So, don't be afraid to talk with a career counselor at whatever stage of life you’re at. Career counselors aren’t just for college students or recent graduates. Make the most of this resource and reach out to a counselor if you’re looking for a new job or career. Their knowledge and objectivity will be of great help.
Natalia Dunn is a career and travel writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She writes on everything and anything related to travel, from packing advice to international job adventures. Natalia also works with Teddy Moving and Storage to help connect her readers with reliable movers.
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