Underpinning my work, my philosophy for being happy at work, is the idea of focusing on what you’re good at. Yes, you need to be aware of what you’re not good at and plan for that but pour your energy into taking your strengths from good to great – and then from great to amazing.
As an example, I’m fantastic at ideas, bouncing concepts about with other people, working out the best way to get things done. I’m not great at detail. I can make myself focus when I have to, but I’ll always get someone with ‘detail’ or ‘logic’ strengths to read a contract because I know they’ll see things I don’t.
But how do you know what your strengths are?
One way to find out is to ask people. Write down 10 words that describe your strengths, things you do well and ask them to do the same, then identify the common words. Think about where these words have come from and how you can use them going forwards.
What made you successful at what you do?
Another way is to look at when you’ve been successful and what took you there. And you can ask yourself what you enjoy, what gives you a buzz. Usually the things we enjoy, that we thrive on, are in some form or another our strengths.
You can also get outside help. The Strengthsfinder assessment tool is a $20 investment. I use it with clients, not just for CVs but for general career development. It’s not definitive but I’ve found just seeing the top five strengths set out to be uncannily accurate. You may need some help translating the results into your daily work life but it’s a good start.
Talk to a professional
Finally, there’s talking to a career coach like me. Someone who can listen to you talk about your work, your passions and your hopes and pull out your strengths for you. And then show you how you can use them to your advantage to be happier at work.
Own your strengths. Cherish and use them and you’ll shine.