“I may not be perfect, but parts of me are excellent,” Ashleigh Brilliant
Creating sustainable work, that you love is only possible when you can understand, claim and use your natural strengths. In my work with clients seeking to create meaningful careers we explore four types of strengths:
1. Interests are those ideas or topics that stimulate you. As you identify those topics, consider things that you know about as well as those you would like to learn more about. 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.
2. 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.
3. Style defines how you are at work when you are being your most authentic. How you would behave at work if you could really express yourself freely might offer clues to your soul work. 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.
4. Environment defines what you need at your workplace. Understanding what you need at work 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 and others know what they are passionate about but instead of incorporating these things into their life and work, are disconnected from them and do not 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 here you should be able to access and begin to define your core career strengths and then, use them to create rewarding work.
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