What are your special talents? What are your strengths? What makes you you?
Depending on your personality these may or may not be difficult questions to answer.
When looking at talent, some people seem to have no problem identifying their special abilities or gifts. They talk about their abilities and they use them openly. Maybe they seem to have been blessed with natural talent. These people often come across as confident and self-assured.
We all know people like that.
But, if that doesn’t sound like you, we may have to do a little work to figure out what your strengths are. If you are someone who is struggling with identifying your talents, you are not alone. This just so happens to be the camp that I used to reside in. Fortunately there are a lot of ways to figure out what your strengths are and most of them are pretty easy.
Here are 4 simple things that helped me.
1. Get a DISC personality report.
The DISC personality profile is a great way to identify your strengths and positive qualities. A good DISC report will give you a lot of information about yourself that you can then use to make better decisions about your future. Remember, looking inward is the first and most important step of creating a plan for the future.
2. Identify previous success.
By the time you are a senior you have had a lot of different and unique experiences. Identify which of these experiences you found the greatest success in.
Examples could include:
- Classes that you got the best grades in.
- Special projects or assignments that you did really well in.
- Volunteer projects or activities in which you had success and enjoyed.
- Anything else in which you found yourself saying “hey I’m pretty good at this.”
3. Listen to others.
Ask a friend, mentor, or family member what they think your strengths are. Sometimes things that are obvious to others are difficult to see in yourself.
4. Make believe.
This one goes along with listen to others but is a bit more involved. For this one, ask a close friend to tell you your top three talents. Next have them make up a story about what your future job might look like. The conversation might look a little something like this…
Jered: Hey Bob could you do me a favor? I need help figuring out what I’m good at. Could you tell me what you think my top three talents are?
Bob: That’s easy Jered. You’re really organized and detail oriented, you like to help people, and you are super easy to get along with.
Jered: Thanks Bob! Can I ask you one more favor?
Bob: Of course.
Jered: What do you think my perfect job would be?
Bob: Well I always imagined you getting into consulting or counseling, or something like that. You know, I could even see you starting up your own counseling or coaching business. That would be perfect for you!
Continue this conversation and go back and forth with the person sharing ideas and imagining together. What about this plans appeals to you and what doesn’t? What are common themes in them? This conversation should be fun and it will really help you see the strengths that others see in you.
One important thing to remember is that your talents and your passions can be different. Yes they may line up, but they do not have to be the same thing. You may be a very talented singer but not really have a passion for music. The opposite could also be true. Take American Idol try outs for example, there are a lot of really passionate singers that try out for that show that unfortunately don’t have the talent.
It is so important to know your talents and strengths. I can’t stress this enough, however; just because you are talented at something doesn’t mean it has to be a part of your career and educational plan. Just because you are awesome in math doesn’t mean that you are meant to be a CPA.
When planning your vocation and the educational road you need to be on to get there, try and find a way to blend your talents with your passions.
A fulfilling and profitable vocation is made up of three things: passion, talent, and an economic model.
Your talents are one part of a three legged stool. If you don’t spend the time needed to figure them out the other two won’t hold you up.