Tough times can shake people’s faith in their ability to make a career change to something better. In the midst of a sluggish economy many people are staying in unsatisfying jobs where they are unhappy and under-employed. To pull free of the wrong job fit or find a rewarding career after a job loss, it’s time to rethink your approach. Here is one important step to take to begin the process of finding a better career.
Discover YOU—your strengths and passions.
Often individuals who thrive consistently have high self-awareness about their strengths and passions. Many successful people including Oprah and Richard Branson, Virgin Air have said a condition for great achievement is passion. When your strengths and passions are applied in your work, your potential and enthusiasm are limitless. People who use their strengths and talents are more than three times as likely to report an overall excellent quality of life.
Once you clarify your authentic strengths and interests, you’ll be a powerful force when interviewing and striving toward your career goals. Do not look for a new job before you identify your strengths because you are likely to become underemployed and mismatched in the wrong position.
So how do you determine strengths to select a path that is right for you? Begin by brainstorming what triggers your enthusiasm and what motivates you. Sit down in a quiet place to list 20 things you like to do. Then look for patterns. Do you prefer working with data, people, things or ideas. You may discover, for example it’s more important than you realized to be physically active and your work should not be behind a desk all day. Or you want to be around busy and loud environments, which might rule out a secluded one-person office. You’ll know a particular career is right when you are curious and enthusiastic about getting started.
Get clear about yourself by answering the following questions:
- What is one skill or strength you do well that you would like to use in your work?
- Which of your previous work results are you proud of—and what were you doing?
- What tasks and topics get your heart racing?
- If you could do one thing in your professional life that would have the most positive impact, what would it be?
After completing the questions, it helps to talk through your answers with someone. Talking about yourself with a peer helps to uncover patterns and shines a brighter light on your skills and interests. It is critical not to isolate during a career move—it’s the kiss of death. Sometimes what you need most is a person who believes in you. It’s interesting that other people often can see for us what we may not see for ourselves. Other people can push us through walls that block us, sometimes just by having a new set of eyes on the problem. Often creative ideas are born during discussions with a different perspective. Many times, all it takes is an encouraging word or new idea from a friend to move forward. But a career change is not easy and next time we will cover the next step to help you handle change.
by Sunny Lurie, Fast Focus Careers