Career decisions mapped to the heart’s desire and your natural strengths

Ben Mallinson
Ascent Publication
Published in
7 min readApr 5, 2018

Image by Mihajlo Elakovic

It can be challenging to know where to start when considering a significant transition in life, and career transitions are no exception.

Part of the difficulty in making important career decisions is underpinned by:

1. not mapping career goals to what makes you happy, and to what you are naturally good at doing

2. not knowing what your personal and professional strengths really are.

I have taken on jobs in the past where I didn’t put much thought into these two things. With other career decisions — I did.

In my experience, investing the time in nailing these points — mapping your goals to what you are good at doing, not just what you would like to be good at, and knowing your strengths — pays dividends in developing your career with a sense of focus and confidence.

Tell me about your strengths

In job interviews the generic ‘Tell me about your strengths’ request is one that many people seem to struggle with. Perhaps second only to ‘Tell me about your weaknesses’ — or worse yet — ‘Can you tell me what your colleagues would consider to be your biggest weakness?’

I can recall one interview where I was asked that particular question, and boy did it knock me for six!

I think that one of the key reasons people find it confronting to tell others about their strengths is due to a misplaced sense of modesty; thinking that knowing your strengths and how they can be put to good use in a certain role somehow equates to being an arrogant upstart.

Ultimately, this view doesn’t really serve anyone. It won’t expand your career prospects, and it certainly won’t help a prospective employer to gain a better understanding of why they should invest in you.

So let’s cast aside modesty and meekness, and get on with the task of better understanding what you have to offer.

During a stint of time working as an executive assistant and project coordinator for a top management consulting firm, I came to realise that although I liked the organisation, I was not a natural fit for the role. My strengths were being under-utilised.