Figuring Out What You’re Great At

You may have heard the quote by noted Apple Computers founder, Steve Jobs,

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

This is timeless and powerful advice, yet for many this still leaves unanswered questions. How do you know what you love? How do you know what you are good at? How do you know that you will find satisfaction in doing this? Lastly, how do you know that you can make a good living do it?

Doing work you are passionate about is wonderful for those who have figured out these pieces of the puzzle in their own lives. One of the most helpful tools in this process is a book by Jim Collins called From Good to Great. This book explains how companies went from good, acceptable performance to tremendous success by focusing on what they are great at.

Applying this same principle to the individual – yourself – think about these primary questions:

1)    What do you love to do?

Answering this question may involve some serious soul-searching. You will need to take a look at things you enjoyed doing that you stopped doing a long time ago. Write it all down, whether it is as simple as gardening and cooking or mountain bike riding – whatever it is. This exercise is very helpful in figuring out what you are passionate about. It may involve looking back at your childhood to remember things you enjoyed doing.

2) What are you good at?

Creating this list for most people includes skills that they forgot or did not acknowledge as valuable skills. This can be skills that helped you thrive in often difficult situations, ranging from being a good communicator to solving problems and resolving conflicts. There may be skills you have not used in a long time, like debating in high school or leading a wilderness trip. It can also be skills you use daily such as sales and marketing or writing, speaking and other communication skills.

When you think about these skills, be sure to consider what you loved to do as a child and what made you stand out. You may discover an innate talent that you have that you have not tapped into as an adult and that you have a longing to do, experience fully and manifest.

3) What makes you feel successful?

Do you feel successful when you receive praise from loved ones or colleagues at work? What times have you felt invigorated, stronger or more capable? These moments can help you figure out what your strengths are.

4) What compliments do people give you that you ignore or forget?

People often are unaware of their strengths. Pay attention to compliments you receive that you may be brushing off. These things may be very easy for you but that is something you must be able to recognize and accept when you want to progress in life. These skills will help you figure out better what value you bring into any situation. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.”

Using this process, you will be able to figure out better what your skills are and you can apply this into your current job or a new position that you seek out. The greater self-awareness you have, the more likely you can experience greater job satisfaction as you will be conscious of what you bring to the workplace. Use your distinctive abilities and gifts to solve problems, come up with solutions and achieve.