This post first appeared on LocalWork, August 30th, 2014
I believe it’s time to rethink your career if…
- You hate your job and/or the industry you’re in
- You’re good at what you do, but you don’t really like what you do
- You don’t feel like what you do matters very much or enough
- You don’t feel like you’re great at what you do
- You don’t get compliments regularly about the work you do
- You don’t jump out of bed and look forward to going into work
- You don’t feel appreciated for the work you do and the value you provide
- You don’t feel like you’re being compensated for the value you provide
I’m not even talking about “following your passion” here; I’m simply talking about being great at what you do, enjoying it as a result, regularly being recognized and appreciated for the work you do, and truly being valued for who you are and the work you provide as a result.
If you’re not, then its definitely time to rethink you’re career.
Now the question is; where do you start?
There’s lots of great advice out there, and there are a number of factors everyone should consider when looking for a great career – it’s definitely not simple. However, here’s what I believe are two of the most important questions to ask yourself:
What am I most naturally talented at, and what would I most love to put my talent to work on?
Here’s what I believe and why it matters.
First, talent matters! The fact is; the greater your talent, the greater your performance. And, all organizations compensate their employees based on their performance. While great/good/poor performance is certainly defined differently from position to position, and from organization to organization, but it doesn’t change the simple fact that; organizations and their supervisors most recognize, appreciate and consequently compensate, the people that bring the greatest performance and value to the organization. Period.
Therefore, the more talent you have, the better you will perform, and the more you will be appreciated, recognized and compensated, by your organization and the people you serve.
Additionally, what we’re “best” at, we usually enjoy doing the most. We get “in the zone” or in “flow” when we’re doing what we do best, and time seems to fly by when we’e doing something great at that we enjoy.
To be clear, I’m not talking about “learning a new skill” – I’m talking about something you already naturally do, that you do as easily as breathing; where you don’t even have to think about it – it just comes naturally. That’s when you’re at your best!
Therefore, I would urge you to figure out what you’re naturally most talented at. The fact is, everyone has a natural talent that is stronger than any other. Consequently, I believe we should most rely on that talent for our role/position in our life’s work.
You may not know what yours is yet, or how you could leverage it in a career, but I guarantee you that you do have one, and others probably see it in you, and it’s absolutely what you should most rely on, for your life’s work/career.
Let me give you some examples.
Have you always been great at puzzles and games? Did you always beat your friends and/or family when you played games or puzzles, regardless of the kind? Have you always been a great problem solver?
If so, every organization in the world needs people that are phenomenal at Problem Solving, and have as their underlying Top Natural Talent. What I mean is, you may not think of certain careers as people that are great Problem Solvers, but that’s exactly what they’re doing to perform and succeed, within/underneath their title/position and/or career.
As an example, doctors need to be great Problem Solvers. In fact, I believe that Problem Solving is the natural talent that’s most critical for a doctor to naturally possess. Don’t you? Don’t we all want our doctor to be able to efficiently and effectively solve our problem? A bedside manner would be great to have too, but if they can’t solve my problem efficiently and effectively, then I’m finding another doctor!
But you shouldn’t go to medical school and then figure out that you’re a horrible Problem Solver. First figure out if you’re a great Problem Solver, and then figure out what you’d most love to put that talent to work on!
If you’re a great Problem Solver, but you’ve always be fascinated by fire and how oxygen and other elements effect it, then maybe you’d be a far better firefighter! After all, firefighters need to be great Problem Solvers too don’t they? If not, fires around your house and community are going to take a lot longer to put out!
Or maybe you’re great at solving problems, but you’ve always been far more curious about the law and injustice. That means you’d probably be a much better lawyer or defense attorney, don’t you think?
Okay, so maybe you’re not a great Problem Solver, consider these:
- Have you always been great at Managing Projects at school with your classmates, or at home with family or friends, or at work with your colleagues and/or for customers? If so, every organization needs a talented Project Manager, at various levels and departments of the organization. So then the questions become; what kinds of projects would you most love to manage and who could most benefit from your talent, love and commitment?
- Have you always been been great at Planning and/or Organizing things at school or around the house? What about your bedroom when you were a little kid, or how bout now? Has everything always had it’s place? What about your desk and your work; have you always organized things in a very detailed and structured way?What about Planning/Organizing events or trips for family, friends, classmates or colleagues? If so, every organization needs people that are great at, and love planning and organizing things! Because we all know that there are lots of people that are horrible at it, and hate it! So then what you have to ask yourself is; what kinds of things do I most love to Plan and/or Organize, and who could most benefit from my talent and what I love to do?
- Have you always been complemented on your Writing? If so, there are countless jobs and careers around the world that could benefit from your talent! Then what you have to ask yourself is; what would you most love to write about for the rest of you life, and who would most benefit from your talent and perspective? What are you most curious about? What do you most love learning about, and what insights, perspectives and discoveries, would you most love to share with the world?
- Have you always been incredibly Creative and/or Imaginative? Are you always coming up with new ways to see or do things? There are countless careers and organizations that need this underlying talent; from designers of fashion, cars and houses, to chefs and new restaurant concepts, from product development to marketing and advertising in every industry. Then, what you have to ask yourself is; what “kinds of ideas” do you find yourself most coming up with? Are they people related or product related, and if so what kinds? Where does your mind most naturally like to go? What kinds of better mousetraps are you always trying to build in your mind? And, who could most benefit from your creativity and imagination? Where could you make the greatest impact with your Creativity/Imagination?
- Have people always said you’d be a great Teacher, Coach, Counselor or Salesperson? That might mean that you’re very Persuasive, and you should consider a career that takes full advantage of that talent. You might not think that a teacher needs to be Persuasive more than anything else, but I believe they should be! Persuasion is about getting people to think, act, feel and/or believe differently. Isn’t that what we want teachers to do for their student? Heck, teachers need to be incredibly Persuasive these days, just to be able to get students to listen, let alone learn!Sadly, Persuasion is not the underlying Top Natural Talent that most teachers have. How many truly talented teachers did you have growing up? How Persuasive and convincing were most of your teachers – how many of them truly changed the way you thought, acted, behaved or believed? How many of them truly made an impact on you as a result?However, just because you’re a great teacher, that doesn’t mean that you’d be best teaching in K-12 or college college, and every industry and organization in the world needs great teachers and trainers. So, what kinds of things would you most love to teach people about, for the rest of your life? What kinds of things do you most love learning and talking about? Who do you most love talking about it to, and who could most benefit from your love and talent?
- Are you great at Speaking/Presenting to groups of people? Again, there are countless careers, positions and organization that desperately rely in that underlying natural talent. But, is that what you’re best at? If so, what kinds of things would you most love to Speak/Present on? Who could most benefit from your talent, your curiosity and your resulting insights, perspectives and new discoveries?
- Have you always been great at Coordinating things; whether it’s around the house, with your friends, family or at work? What kinds of things do you most love to Coordinate; projects and/or events? And if so, what kind? Who could most benefit from your talent and your love for it?
- Have you always been a great Leader, even among your friends and family? Have people always looked at you as a Leader in the groups or on the teams you’ve belong to/still belong to? Clearly, every organization in the world needs a great Leader, so where would you best Lead? Who, what and where would you most love to Lead? Who needs you most – who could most benefit from your talent, passionate curiosity and wisdom? Where could you make the greatest impact?
- Are you great at Serving Others? Most people immediately think about technical support or some kind of telephone support when we think about Customer Service, but the natural talent of Serving Others/Customer Service is about exceeding and/or meeting a customer’s needs. And, there are literally countless careers and positions that truly need that underlying talent, that you may or may not think about.As an example, we all know what a phenomenally talented waiter, waitress and/or bartender looks like – they naturally know how to take care of people; it’s just like breathing for them – they don’t have to think about it, they just do it! And we all know what it looks like when they don’t naturally have it, don’t we?But, what about a Gate Agent at the airport; shouldn’t they also be phenomenally talented at Serving Others?What about a Nurse? More than anything else, I want a nurse that exceeds my expectations!What about a Human Resource professional or manager; shouldn’t they also be best at Serving/Taking Care of Others? Shouldn’t they be best at taking care of both the organization’s needs and the employee’s?
I could go on and on and on. But, I often feel like I need to, because we don’t think about the underlying natural talent that is most needed to perform in these positions, but we should, and so should you!
That’s why I believe that the key to figuring out your life’s work is; figure out what your best at first – what your Top Natural Talent is, then figure out what you’d love to put your talent to work on, and who could most benefit from it. And for that, you need to figure out where your Most Profound Curiosity lies and What You Should Study for Your Life’s Work as a result. And, Why Curiosity Matters.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. And thanks in advance for your comments and sharing the post if you find interesting.