When I work with individuals on their career search, I often say that ideally we all would find jobs where our talents and passions intersect. In yesterday’s post, Fr. Himes’ wisdom asked us to consider what give us joy in our lives. Many individuals probably found this question difficult to answer, and as I wrote, one is never really finished answer this question. Today we tackle an easier question (hopefully):
What are you good at?
This questions asks one to consider one’s own talents. Think of what comes naturally to you but maybe not to others. What can you do with ease when others may struggle? At what are you successful? Here is the catch, the best way to answer this question is to enlist the help of others. Throughout the discernment process, it will be paramount for one to be open to hear what others have to say, honest with oneself in one’s self-evaluation, and humble enough to accept the feedback that others will give and that one may discover.
Listening to the feedback from friends, family, and others who know us well – we can learn our strengths and weaknesses. This will be an exercise in humbleness as you will surely be surprised at what others will say are your strengths and weaknesses. No one likes to be told tough news, but this only works when you accept your friends’ comments as reality. If multiple people say you are lacking in organizational skills, guess what, you are – no matter what you may think of your organizational abilities.
Many times we may over or underestimate our abilities. The humble side of us may think a talent is not a big deal…that everyone can do X if they just tried…when in reality that skill may be a gift you have. The more proud side of ourselves may allow us to believe we excel at a task when in reality, we may be average at best. I fancy myself as a good communicator, when in fact, compared to my wife communication skills – I am ham radio operator and she is on a 4G network.
Another way to consider this question is to think of attributes/skills that cause you frustration when they are lacking in others. A personal example, after I drive to a destination one time I rarely need directions to find the destination a second time. In addition, I can find my bearings in a new location fairly easily. My wife will say that I know my way around Seattle (her hometown) better than she does, even though she grew up in the city. I have a hard time comprehending how my wife always needs me to write down for her how to get to a friend’s house; a house she has been to several times. Whereas my mind may process directions with ease, this is not a common attribute every person embodies. This is a talent I have been given.
The last item I encourage you to consider when evaluating your talents is the concept of whether this skill/talent will allow you to grow. Finding your vocation implies a lifestyle or career that will challenge and allow the individual to grow his or her talents. The Catholic Church’s teachings on Stewardship tells us we are to take the talents that God has given us and return them to Him with interest. Applied to the world of work, this means we need to grow our skills, in order to fully utilize the gifts we have been given, so that we can be the best person we can be.
So, ask the people who know you best and who will be honest with you – What am I good at? (And hopefully they will not criticize my grammatically poor phrasing!)
Tomorrow: Is There a Need For This in the World?