How Do You Decide What Career is Best For You?
This is one of those questions which deserves a well-crafted answer for the simple reason that the consequences of making the wrong career decision can rob you of time, money and peace of mind.
That’s an expensive price to pay and one that none of us should have to bare.
So, what is the best way to find a career that will suit you?
The short answer is to focus on and play to your core strengths.
Here’s the longer treatment.
Have you noticed how some people seem to be effortlessly successful at what they do?
They are considered the best in their fields, and display such passion, energy, and skill that it’s a pleasure to watch them perform.
Being the best and enjoying the view from the pinnacle of achievement is not limited to a chosen few.
What these individuals have in common is that they have each managed to identify, focus, and cultivate their Core Strengths so that they could enjoy a career filled with joy, fulfillment and great pride.
Through focusing on and playing to your Core Strengths, there’s an opportunity for every one of us to reach this level of career delight.
What are Core Strengths?
Your Core Strengths comprise of a set of habits and talents that you have been developing all your life. Over time, you have had the opportunity to apply these talents to many different situations.
When you feel most successful, you are combining these special talents with your intelligence and applying them to what you really care about.
Everyone has Core Strengths, unfortunately most people spend a lopsided amount of their time focusing on abilities that are not even remotely related to their Core Strengths.
Their best results come from the smallest percentage of time that they’re focusing on their Core Strengths.
When working within your Core Strengths, you exhibit superior skill, energy, never-ending improvement, joyfulness and passion.
People often find themselves working in areas where they are merely good (skill, but no passion), or even competent (meeting minimum standards) or incompetent (no matter how hard they try they will never improve).
By focusing on Core Strengths, you’re drawing on a renewable resource, which will always improve.
Why Focus on Core Strengths?
Everyone in the workforce has to manage themselves. You have to place yourself where you can make the greatest contribution; you have to learn to develop yourself, as both the right and responsibility are your own.
You have to learn to stay young and mentally alive during your entire working life. You have to learn how and when to change what you do, how you do it, and when you do it.
Simply put, you have to know your core strengths so that you can know where you belong!
Imagine the results you would have if, instead of working in your Core Strengths only a small percentage of the time, you worked in it almost all of the time.
Spending more time doing the things that you love to do and are great at brings you increased energy, increased confidence, and the ability to create more value for others, which will lead to more productive relationships.
Building a strong network of relationships is important if you want to improve the quality of your life, grow your business, and increase your capabilities.
These relationships include your clients, prospects, suppliers, family and even your team. They trust, support, and have confidence in you — but why?
There’s a certain something that you bring to the relationship that creates value for them. Though you may not even have been aware of it, you are using your Core Strengths.
Each of us is completely unique and if ever we are to give a gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our Core Strengths.
Fewer things are sadder than watching a person with potential waste away in work that makes little use of their Core Strengths.
Work can be one of your greatest sources of success and fulfillment. Yet, too often, the opposite is true.
To achieve success with fulfillment, it is critical to find work that taps your Core Strengths and which pays you for what you naturally love to do.
Feedback is Essential
You have to know your core strengths so that you can know where you belong and the feedback analysis is the answer.
· Whenever you make a key decision, and whenever you perform a key action, write down exactly what you expect to happen.
· After a predetermined time has passed, you then feed back from results to expectations.
Several action conclusions follow from the feedback analysis:
The first, and most important, conclusion: Concentrate on your strengths. Place yourself where your strengths can produce performance and results.
Second: Work on improving your strengths. The feedback analysis rapidly shows where you need to improve skills or acquire new knowledge.
It will show where skills and knowledge are no longer adequate and have to be updated. It will also show the gaps in your knowledge.
Of particular importance is the third conclusion: the feedback analysis soon identifies the areas where intellectual arrogance causes disabling ignorance.
Far too many people — and especially people with high knowledge in one area — are contemptuous of knowledge in other areas, or believe that being “bright” is a substitute for knowing.
The final action conclusion is to waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. Concentration should always be on areas of high competence and high skill.
It takes far more energy, and far more work to improve from incompetence to low mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.
And yet most people — and equally most teachers and most organizations — try to concentrate on making an incompetent person into a low mediocrity.
The energy and resources — and time — should instead go into making a competent person into a star performer!
Identifying Core Strengths.
Identifying your Core Strengths is often difficult. Since this talent comes so easily to you, you’re unlikely to see it as a strength.
Start by thinking about the things that you have a passion for and can do easily. Often, these are also the activities that bring you the best results.
If you receive praise or thanks for something and your gut reaction is “really, it was nothing,” it’s probably a sign that you were using your Core Strengths.
Your Core Strengths comprise of four foundational pillars. They represent the guiding principles on which our ability to maximize our performance is based.
Use the following acronym to uncover your Core Strengths:
Confidence — Core Strengths provide an indomitable feeling of confidence in your ability to produce and deliver quality, and consistent results. You possess the internal faith and belief that you can and will be successful.
In what areas are you most confident in your abilities to succeed?
Optimism — Core Strengths are saturated with an attitude of optimism. Optimism is a general disposition to expect the best possible outcome in a given situation. It is the belief that your future will contain outcomes, which you desire.
Optimists are people who believe that through positive action in their communities, business and personal life that they can create a better tomorrow.
In what areas of your life are you most optimistic about creating greater value?
Relaxation — Core Strengths operate best in a relaxed state.
The word relaxed has a lot to do with being unaffected, easy, spontaneous and operating in flow.
Once you are able to tap your Core Strengths, you will enjoy a mental state of quietness, calmness, serenity, and peace. Time will pass quickly, and you work will feel more like play.
In what areas do you enjoy the greatest state of relaxation and a wonderful sense of flow?
Enthusiasm — Core Strengths are driven by boundless enthusiasm. It’s an inspiring zeal that delivers inspiring results as nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm.
Your passion, desire and hunger about being involved in something of importance will unleash your Core Strengths.
In what areas are you the most enthusiastic and passionate?
Another way to identify your Core Strengths is to send this lesson to five people who know you well.
Describe your view of Core Strengths, and then ask them to write down what they think your Core Strengths are.
While they won’t all say exactly the same thing, there is often a common thread through the responses that will point you in the right direction.
Building a Supportive Team.
Some of the best examples of people focusing on their Core Strengths are in the field of sports and entertainment.
In these industries, structures are set up to ensure that top performers can focus on what they do best — performing.
For example, a professional golfer has a whole team of people around him or her who provide the support they need to focus on staying at the top of their game.
They don’t carry the clubs, nor do they manage their travel schedule. A professional golfer plays golf — period!
You can focus on your Core Strengths too by finding a team to support you. Learn to delegate the things at which you are incompetent, competent, and good, to people who possess their own Core Strengths in these areas.
Surrounded by people working in their own Core Strengths, you can focus on what you do best and enjoy the most.
Combining Passion and Success.
Once you’ve started to identify your Core Strengths, begin to think about improvements you can make that will free you up to focus on it more.
Even if you start by eliminating those activities at which you are incompetent or only competent, your productivity will increase immediately.
It is your passion for your Core Strengths that will allow you to continually improve your capabilities, leading to ever-increasing opportunities — and uncommon levels of success.
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Gary Ryan Blair is creator of the 100 Day Challenge…a transformational approach to goal achievement that shows you how to achieve 10X size goals by applying the methods and best practices of growth hacking. Get all the details.