Yoga teaches the mind to enjoy the process (the practice), not so much the end result (“sticking” the pose). For many of us, that quieting of the mind is more challenging than contorting the body! The practice teaches our mind to focus on our strengths, to do the poses at 100% of our ability, not 50% of what someone else is capable of. Your 100% won’t look or feel like mine or hers, or his! Your strengths are your own. Creating sustainable work that you love is only possible when you understand, claim and use your natural strengths.
So how do my clients begin their process? By considering these four types of strengths:
- Interests are those ideas or topics that stimulate you. As you identify those topics, consider things that you know about as well as those about which you’d like to learn. Long-term career satisfaction is dependent upon how well, and to what extent, an area of interest can hold your attention. Interests include things like technology, social justice, and art.
- Talents are skills that give you energy when you engage in them. Talents are skills but not all skills are talents. I define talents as those skills that you long for when you are not engaging in them. One way to discern the difference is to consider this: if you had a choice, you would not delegate a talent to someone else. Talents include things like using your hands to fix things, writing, speaking and leading.
- Style defines how you are at work when you feel your most authentic self, how you would behave if you could really express yourself. The answer might offer clues to your soul work – work that you were born to do. Your personal style includes those attributes that you bring to an organization or industry, beyond your talents or skills. Style includes things like a sense of humor, empathy and vision.
- Environment defines what you need at your workplace. Understanding what you need in that space will help you find the right cultural fit. Even if all the other factors are in place, the wrong environment can make great soul work miserable. Think about the optimal environmental qualities that would make up your perfect work culture, whether you plan to create it yourself, or find it at an organization. Environmental attributes include a style of design, access to nature and levels of competitiveness.
All four aspects are vital in creating dream work that will balance interest, enjoyment, and challenge. To create a more authentic life you must first know and develop your passions. For many people, this is easier said than done. Many have forgotten what their passions are. Some have outgrown old passions and need to find new ones. Others know what they are passionate about but instead of incorporating these things into their life and work, feel disconnected from them and don’t see a way back. Sometimes an unexpected event forces you to reevaluate what direction you want to take in your career.
Try this as a place to begin this process, ask yourself these important questions:
- What are my natural talents?
- What am I curious about?
- What moves me to tears?
From this informed starting point, you’ll begin to define your core career strengths. Then, you can use the knowledge to find or create more rewarding work for yourself.
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