Most of us are great at finding problems to worry about. It is so easy to obsess about what is going wrong, especially when looking for the next career move. What problems do I need to solve? How do I make things better? Let’s shift our internal dialogue from problem solving to developing strengths. Knowing your strengths can help you create an action plan toward your next career move.
When you’re driving or daydreaming and doubt creeps in, focus on the questions below instead. You will notice your strengths emerge in the answers. Keep a notebook and pen on hand as you ponder these questions and compile a list of your strengths to share at your next job interview or performance review.
1. What comes naturally to me or is easy to learn?
Think back to when you started a new job. There was so much to learn. What did you pick up right away? Were there things you couldn’t wait to teach others? Your strengths come naturally.
2. What do I contribute to my team or organization?
On your team, are there things that are always your responsibility? No one could imagine someone else writing the company newsletter or arranging the holiday party. For one of my clients, it was responding to the most difficult customers. He relished this task that most people avoided like the plague. Clearly this was a great strength of his. In other words, if you left your team, what would be missing?
3. What makes me feel energized?
It may not seem like it now, but you liked something about your job at some point. Think back to a day when you were on your way to work and excited about a certain project, meeting or challenge. Reflect on that time and the components involved.
4. What would I gladly take off of someone’s plate?
When you have plenty to do, or are on your way out the door, what are you still willing to take on? What would you stay late to do? It could be anything from making someone feel supported to creating a marketing presentation. What is important enough to skip your spin class tonight?
5. What activities make me lose track of time?
Think back to the last time you sat down to work on a project mid-morning and all of the sudden you realized you had missed lunch. When are you in the zone like a musician jamming away on stage?
Focusing on your strengths will keep those seeds of doubt from taking root. Use these questions to reframe a problem solving mindset to one of appreciating and growing your strengths. It will help you identify the right opportunities as you progress in your career or embark on a new one.